No Small Change: Rethinking the Retail Customer Experience


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Today’s retail customer is always shopping around, but while price and quality consistently bring customers to the table, it’s increasingly the customer experience that completes the sale and makes all the difference between buy, buy, buy and bye, bye, bye.

While it’s becoming harder for retailers to differentiate based on price and product availability, it’s becoming easier to differentiate based on customer experience. Personalization, seamless service across channels, customer-centric engagement; some retailers have it; some don’t. But those who don’t must if they are going to compete in the ever-evolving retail space. Consider the following statistics from a recent Infosys Rethinking Retail study:

On Personalization

  • 86% of surveyed consumers who have experienced personalization say it influences what they what they purchase.
  • 64% of surveyed retailers believe their consumers’ shopping experience should be more personalized, but less than half (48%) say that their information about a customers’ purchasing history is consistent across physical and online channels.
  • Of those retailers that currently offer personalization features, 100% have experienced at least one benefit from this technology: an increase in sales (74%); an increase in profit (61%; an increase in online traffic (58%) and/or an increase in customer loyalty (55%).

On a Seamless Customer Experience

  • 69% of consumers says consistency of customer service across physical and online stores is important to them.
  • 90% of retailers believe consistency across their brand’s engagement points has an effect on customer loyalty (but 38% say that a lack of technology is preventing them from achieving this).
  • 90% of retailers believe that a single customer view is important, yet 22% say there are not currently pursuing this as a focus. 84% are collecting consumer interaction data however.

On Engagement

  • 92% of consumers consistently look to discover new products; 59% do this now via personal research.
  • 96% of consumers expect retailers to proactively inform them of new products.
  • 92% of retailers surveyed say customers currently interact with their brand online (the two main channels in order: 80% through their website and 66% through Facebook).
  • 59% of consumers say they interact with brands and retailers online. The top two interaction channels consumers say they use, in order, are Facebook and the brand’s website.
  • 89% of shoppers who engage with retailers via social media say those interactions have an impact on their purchasing choices.

A recent Retailing 2020 report from PricewaterhouseCoopers raises the stakes for retailers, encouraging investments in omnichannel CRM and big data technologies now. “By 2020, we believe the need for a unified consumer omnichannel experience will be complicated by the need for nearly perfect execution,” predicts PWC. “However, expert use of business intelligence tools, coupled with a profound understanding of shoppers’ needs and experiences in real time, may make omnichannel a realistic goal.

“Retail brands in 2020, we believe, will have three key attributes: consistency, intensity and accuracy.

“The core competency in 2020 will be integrating and acting upon what the shopper’s passions and interests are with what he or she bought in the store and beyond.”

For many retailers, this will be no small change. But for continued success, it will be a necessary one.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tricia Morris
Tricia Morris is a product marketing director at 8x8 with more than 20 years of experience at technology companies including Microsoft and MicroStrategy. Her focus is on customer experience, customer service, employee experience and digital transformation. Tricia has been recognized as an ICMI Top 50 Thought Leader, among the 20 Best Customer Experience Blogs You Must Follow, and among the 20 Customer Service Influencers You Must Follow.


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