Customers are changing the rules of business. They are well-informed and well-connected, and they have high expectations. Business success in the digital world depends on individuals who make decisions and recommendations based on their personal experience.
These customers expect a seamless and consistent experience, regardless of which device they are using. Whether making a purchase, booking a restaurant, or searching for information, they demand that their digital interaction is intelligent, with appropriate suggestions provided at key points in the decision-making process. Last but not least, they want an easy, fast and reliable experience.
To remain competitive, businesses need a strong and well-oiled digital infrastructure.
Enabling the Omnichannel
This issue isn’t theoretical or futuristic — it’s something that is happening now across all industries. The better the experience is, the more we will spend — and we’ll return time and time again and recommend the product or service to others.
It’s become the norm to see people shopping or doing banking on the train to work or ordering groceries from the workplace during their lunch break for delivery when they get home in the evening. They also may be researching the best products to buy for Christmas presents and arranging to have them delivered, beautifully gift-wrapped with a personal message.
Successful omnichannel customer service requires embracing new technologies to engage with always-on connected customers, providing a seamless consumer experience through any channel (Web, mobile network, or physical store) and any connected devices — before, during, and after the sale.
Don’t Forget Physical
It mustn’t be forgotten that in-store, traditional retail remains the key area in the brand-customer relationship. Nearly 40 percent of consumers make purchases inside a physical store at least once a week, compared to just 27 percent who do the same online, according to PwC’s annual consumer survey.
However, with the right infrastructure, technology can be used to enhance the in-store experience. Providing quality WiFi and offering innovative delivery concepts such as click-and-collect are two examples.
Seventy-five percent of all shoppers now use mobile devices to browse in-store, with 25 percent actually making a purchase at the till, recent research suggests. The slicker the service provided, the more likely that the second figure will rise.
Other examples of using digital techniques to enhance the in-store experience include real-time promotions sent to shoppers’ mobile devices, digital signage in stores, multi-point-of-sale platforms, and the integration of online payments across multiple devices. Digital interactions should take place all along the customer journey, right through to repurchasing.
Seeing the Bigger Picture Right Now
Digital technology allows a single view of the customer — tracking interactions across all business channels and delivering new insights into trends and spending patterns. Analysis of this data can enable businesses to gain a better understanding of individual shoppers, present new opportunities for growth, enable just-in-time production models, and come up with alternative revenue approaches.
With the volume of data stored by most organizations doubling every 18 months, it is crucial that businesses have an agile infrastructure capable of turning this complex data and quantity of information into insights. Analyzing and predicting consumer behavior will ultimately drive customer acquisition and cross-selling opportunities and create a feedback loop for potential new categories of products and services.
Beyond improving customer insight, data analytics can deliver fresh insight into improving operational performance across supply chains and production lines — increasing speed-to-market, making employees more productive, and promoting leaner and greener processes.