The consumer mindset is changing. This is an inescapable reality that retailers must come to terms with. In our modern marketplace, consumers have access to more options, product reviews, and information than ever before. This has led consumers to shift away from traditional retail markets and into eCommerce. While retail isn’t dead, retailers need to raise the bar on their customer experience in order to stay relevant in the current hyper-competitive marketplace.
According to research conducted by Digital Commerce 360, online spending made up nearly 1/5th of all retail sales in 2020. Online consumer spending increased 32% from the previous year to a record high of 791 Billion Dollars.**
Over the same period of time retail stores have been closing by the thousands and tens of thousands…some were lucky enough to reopen, but many more were not so fortunate. Prior to the events of 2020, the trend of store closures led to what many have called “the retail apocalypse.” According to Forbes, more than 30,000 stores closed their doors between 2017 and mid-2020 alone. The health crisis of 2020 notwithstanding, eCommerce has been attributed as the leading cause of store closures. If the verbiage used to describe these events has led you to believe that retail is dead or dying, you’re not alone.
Despite these claims, you may rest assured that retail is neither dead nor dying. Rather, retailers are being given a golden opportunity to reinvent themselves.
How Retailers Can Raise The Bar For Customer Experience
Crafting An Omni-Channel Retail Customer Experience
When it comes to modern customer expectations, convenience is key. Even if your user experience and site design are immaculate, and potential customers can access your sites on every interface under the sun, if those points of contact are disjointed and unconnected you can lose the customer. Taking a multi-channel approach is no longer enough. Each of the channels that a customer uses to connect with your company needs to be in sync.
Let me be clear. Customers are connecting with retail brands across every channel. Customers are spending more time scouring through your social media channels and reading the reviews left by other customers. They also expect the ability to both shop and connect with your support teams through both your desktop and mobile browsers and your social media channels. More importantly, they expect the experience across all these channels to be consistent. Any company can use multiple channels, but providing a consistent experience across all your channels will help you stand out from the competition.
To meet the changing customer demands, retailers must provide a consistent, unified experience across all channels.
3 Things To Consider When Creating Your Omnichannel Experience
While this list is by no means exhaustive, these three aspects will play a major role in enhancing your overall retail customer experience.
Satisfied customers become repeat customers, and in our current market, nothing satisfies customers like a convenient shopping experience. I’ll say it again: convenience sells. There’s nothing more convenient than being able to buy an item directly on a channel where you’re interacting with a brand. Creating a path for consumers to buy items as they see them on your social media channels. On Instagram for example, people can make purchases natively within the Instagram shopping interface, or your shopping channel can be set up so that your mobile landing page opens within the app.
Creating avenues for a fluid shopping experience between channels opens your company up to whole new sales opportunities, and customers will thank you for making their purchases more convenient than ever.
As with sales, adapting your customer service offerings to keep up with the rise of omnichannel solutions can dramatically improve the overall customer experience. Being able to connect with a representative on any platform can help reduce customers’ frustration should they encounter a problem. Engaging with customers at every touchpoint allows you to quickly remediate customers’ problems and keep them coming back for more.
If customers receive a positive retail customer experience, they’re more likely to remain loyal to your brand. When you reduce the number of barriers between your customers and your customer service representatives, it’s easy to provide improved customer service.
A major differentiator between omnichannel and multichannel customer experiences is the way your company utilizes customer data. In a multi-channel experience, each channel operates and collects data independently from the rest. However, in an omnichannel environment where each channel operates in connection with one another, you track data across all channels.
Having a centralized flow of data opens the door to many new possibilities. You can create unique customer profiles by tracking customer interactions and purchases across each of the channels they use to interact with your brand. When a customer connects with a representative, that interaction is recorded. This allows representatives to see a customer’s entire history of interactions, so they can understand a customer’s situation without having to ask them to repeat themselves. You can even track which of your channels facilitates the largest number of interactions and which products are most likely to be purchased through those channels.
Later on in the article, we’ll cover how ProximoCX optimizes your data to facilitate further growth for your business.
Read More About How ProximoCX Optimizes Your Data
Keep Your Data Consistent
As your company makes adjustments to its retail customer experience, and customers are able to make purchases through a wider variety of channels, you need to ensure that the inventory your company is showcasing matches the inventory that’s actually available. There’s only one thing more frustrating than clicking the order button and receiving a cancellation email, and that’s showing up to a store to purchase an item listed as “in stock” only to find that it’s in fact “out of stock.” When this happens, customers will take their business elsewhere and you will lose a sale.
A dedicated order management system can update the inventory depicted on your sales channels in real-time. This allows you to increase customer satisfaction and avoid missing out on potential sales. Not only that, but it gives you the opportunity to increase foot traffic to your brick and mortar stores by appealing to customers’ desire for instant gratification. If customers know an item is in stock at a nearby store, they can get that item faster by ordering for pick up or local delivery service.
Keep Your Representatives Close By
Creating an omnichannel solution is all about keeping the customer experience consistent. That experience doesn’t end with a consistent interface and data. Your representatives are just as integral to the overall customer experience. Both your sales and customer service representatives can play a major role in bridging the gap between your online and offline channels.
New Opportunities For Sales Representatives
Over the last few years, the role of sales representatives has evolved. The sudden demand for increased safety protocols, reduced foot traffic, and positive online experiences has led to the rise of both virtual and physical shopping appointments. Lululemon is a great example of how this can positively impact your retail sales. Customers are able to book and attend an appointment online with a virtual sales representative, in-person, and even through iMessage conversations. Crate & Barrel has a similar offering where customers can inquire about interior design products.
Having sales reps available to guide customers through virtual shopping experiences can help bridge the gap between the digital and physical shopping experience. This does of course mean that you’ll need a sales team with the capacity to assist customers during their virtual appointments. By adapting your sales approach to include new points of contact, your company can make customers feel like they’re shopping in-store while they sit in the comfort of their own homes.
Expand Your Customer Service
In the same way that sales reps have new avenues to connect with customers, customer service teams have a pivotal role to play in your evolving retail customer experience. Unlike sales representatives, however, customer service reps have a much more daunting task ahead of them. There are now multiple points of contact that customer service reps need to respond to in an efficient and timely manner. All your social media channels, your review pages, and your virtual help desks are all places where your service reps need to be able to meet the needs and concerns of your customers.
While consistently monitoring all your channels is certainly a big task, you have options. There are multiple methods for enhancing the efficiency of your customer service teams while expanding the number of channels where they can be reached. For instance, implementing automation tools can help reduce the number of requests your representatives need to respond to. AI chatbots can help discover what a customer needs, and either fulfill a customer service request for them or connect them to the representative best suited to meet their needs. These types of automated solutions can be used on your Instagram or Facebook pages, email, and website.
Of course, an automated solution is not meant to supplant your customer service representatives. Rather, they’re a supplemental tool that will drastically improve the efficiency of your teams. Your company still needs to ensure that it has the right number of representatives to assist customers in a timely manner.
Raise The Bar With ProximoCX
While we don’t currently offer order management software, we do provide companies like yours with the solutions they need to enhance their retail customer experience offerings. We specialize in providing you with the customer service and sales representatives you need, the right tools for the job, and data analysis that’s second to none.
Elevate Your Customer Service and Sales
At ProximoCX, we offer scalable customer service, help desk, and sales support solutions to help widen your support teams and increase both sales and customer satisfaction.
Our dedicated sales representatives are trained to look for appropriate opportunities to increase your customers’ overall lifetime value by providing them with product recommendations based on their wants and needs. We’re all about finding new avenues for revenue growth, which is why our teams seek opportunities to add value to the lives of both your existing and prospective customers. Our contact center is equipped to reach your customers wherever they are. Whether that means connecting with customers via phone calls, chat services, or even email, we’ll meet your customers where they are.
People are a top priority at ProximoCX, and that means we make it our mission to provide your customers with the best customer service available every time they interact with our teams. We provide around-the-clock customer service and help desk support so your customers can always get the assistance they need. Our support teams are monitored by the latest AI technologies so our teams can discover additional opportunities to provide customers with exceptional customer service.
Enhanced Data Analysis
As a data-first contact center, we believe data is key to accelerating your retail business growth and improving your overall retail customer experience. By implementing omnichannel B2C & B2B data strategies, ProximoCX is able to provide you with actionable, revenue-focused customer insights drawn from all channels. We utilize AI and machine learning techniques to organize and interpret your data in order to increase efficiency at the same time.
Contact our team today to discover how ProximoCX can evolve your retail customer experience with our omnichannel solutions.
** It should be noted that different publications define eCommerce and retail sales differently, and these differences can change the portion of total retail sales made up by eCommerce.