For 90% of customers, one bad experience is all it takes for them to decide to abandon a brand. There is no question – we are living in the Age of the Consumer. As Forrester has observed, “the only sustainable competitive advantage is knowledge of and engagement of customers.” Fortunately, the tools exist for both of these imperatives.
Ten years ago, the discussion about customer touch points would have centered on how to translate brick-and-mortar retail experiences into the online space. Today, retail brands that were born online are opening up shop in the physical world – ushering in an era in which consumers (justifiably) expect the best of both channels. They want to be delighted with great products, personalized attention, ease, and total consistency across whatever brand channel they choose.
And as I pointed out in an earlier blog post, there is also a huge opportunity from a sales perspective since customers that use multiple channels spend more money.
‘Seamless’ is not a Buzzword
In the customer-driven, multi-channel retail economy, ‘seamless ‘ is the simplest way to pinpoint the source of an excellent customer experience. It means that whether a customer starts his journey in the store, online, or on a mobile app, he can accomplish whatever he needs to do, moving smoothly from one channel to another without any gaps in the process or brand personality.
One of the biggest indicators of how important it is for brands to give their shoppers the choice between online and onsite channels is the rise of ‘Click & Collect.’ With it, some of the most prominent brands in the world have solidified the connection between online and real-world channels, and realized an average uplift in sales often exceeding 25%.
I see three reasons why it is a key component to a creating a high performing brand experience:
- It simplifies the buying process.
The Internet makes shopping easy. With a few clicks, the customer makes a selection and a payment. In store makes shopping tactile – they can see and feel products and enjoy the experience of handling a package immediately at the point of purchase. Click & Collect is the best of both worlds. The customer buys online and gathers their purchase on site. They get a personalized SMS alert when their order is ready, meaning they can skip potentially long checkout lines. That time translates to less frustration for customers and employees, and often increases the probability of additional sales.
- It is efficient.
Automating some of the retail process improves the efficiency of your operations and your customer’s in-store experience. For example, the customer could self-check in with an automated kiosk. The data is relayed to staff so they can work at peak efficiency. And the customer remains informed about expected wait time and even relevant in-store promotions, so they can make full use of their in-store experience.
- It makes your customer feel special.
With Click & Collect, the cookie-based targeting that works so well online works well in store as well. By combining online purchasing history and store benefits like loyalty programs, you have the data necessary to personalize product offerings, exclusive deals, or even VIP access to new and relevant product releases.
Click & Collect is how retailers build seamless connections between online and onsite environments. It is how consistent, personalized shopping experiences are created. And it is a powerful way to improve operational efficiencies, in-store sales, and employee utilization.
In this Age of the Consumer, it may represent the best tool in your brand arsenal to make sure every brand experience is a good one.
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