Improving Shopper Experience: Is Closing Retail Store Fronts the Solution?

Improving Shopper Experience: Is Closing Retail Store Fronts the Solution?

It is the age of giant e-commerce companies, and brick and mortar retail stores are having a hard time competing with online stores like Amazon. Low prices, a huge plethora of choices and the convenience offered by online shopping seems to be very hard to fight against. The result- some of our favorite stores are cutting down on their physical retail presence and focusing instead on strengthening their online sales. Barnes and Noble, The Gap, JC Penney, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Office Depot, Sears and even luxury stores like Michael Kors are feeling the pressure to shut loss-making retail store.

Do you track customer experience across these 12 stages for your commercial processes today?

What happened to the days, when retail was Location! Location! Location!

Several surveys show that customers still prefer to visit retail stores to interact with products and feel the need for physical contact, especially in the case of high involvement products. What are shopper expectations and why are we running away from understanding that and focussing on fear from competition? Does it make sense to blindly shut stores? Paving a new role for physical stores in the sales process, one that allows them to serve as distribution centers, allowing for networking and social interactions, among others is the logical next step.

According to a recent study:

  • 18% shoppers like to see products in store
  • 51% expect seamless experience across all channels, and
  • 60% are likely to engage with brands that use their personal information to create better customer experience

This means that retailers need to do a far better job of understanding their customers’ journeys across digital and physical channels, and use shopper data collected through feedback mechanisms, social listening, facial and voice analysis etc. to personalize interactions at every step along the way, whatever the channel might be.

Every customer has a unique journey, and as the level of personalization increases, the number of customers moving from awareness to users to loyalists and finally advocates goes up.

At a recent webinar conducted by OSG, we posed the following questions to our attendees:

  • Do you track customer experience across these 12 stages for your commercial processes today? 75% of attendees said NO
  • Do you know how much your company spends at each stage/each month of the customer experience journey while managing your customers? 65% of attendees said NO

This data shows that organizations often focus a big chunk of their budgets and time on only a select set of journey stages and channels, without truly creating personalization for their customers. In order to micro-target, they use market research, and data collected is sliced and diced to understand people’s perceptions of quality, price, and convenience, the overall demographics, and the value and impact of the brand. This helps them identify customers that are most valuable to them, leading to smarter application of marketing dollars. While this is the right way to go, it is not enough!

Why not? Clearly, we have missed the boat when we shut stores because of profitability but have not optimized to manage shopper expectations in a holistic manner across channels. Imagine a shopper journey, which starts to browse online, but ends in-store to make the final purchase, because physical contact is important for the shopper to make the final choice.

At OSG, we believe that superior experiences cannot be delivered unless an organization has a 360-degree understanding of its customers and their expectations and we are able to integrate customer expectations across all channels whether digital or physical. Hence, we add an important layer to this approach – Our 3E’s of Engagement.

We use behavioral and cognitive analytics to understand what truly matters to customers. Cognitive analytics look at past purchase behavior and decision making. Behavioral analytics go beyond the “who” and “what”, and bring in an understanding of the “how” and “why” of customer decision making, to accurately predict what customers would want in the future. By clearly understanding shopper expectations, we design and deliver superior customer experiences through micro-targeting that build up a history of trust, leading to higher customer engagement.

We hope this information has been interesting and valuable to you. Please, feel free to share it with colleagues and other people in your network. We welcome discussing this topic further with you and understanding your specific challenges.

 

OSG Steps to Success

OSG is a “catalyst” that helps our clients be the best at decoding their customers’ decisions. Our clients have seen a minimum 20% improvement in customer engagement by implementing smart insights delivered using our behavioral analytics products.

Changing Customer Behavior in Retail

Changing Customer Behavior in Retail

In today’s world, the biggest challenge for retailers is understanding who your customers are and then dealing with changing customer behavior.

 

In the last two decades, the customer shopping experience has changed. Previously, shoppers visited their favorite stores to purchase products they wanted from a limited selection. Today, with social media, mobile devices, ecommerce sites and more, the world has become smaller and more accessible to shoppers. Customers have a wider variety of product options at their fingertips and can choose the best options effortlessly and in real-time. Retailers are thus faced with the difficult task of responding to this behavioral change.

Retail can now be defined as anyone, purchasing anything, at any time, in any way. Whether you sell dresses, bank accounts, televisions, oil changes or whether you’re a brick and mortar, an ecommerce site, a hybrid – you’re in the retail business. With so many mixed messages on what makes customers click and businesses profitable, retailers are on shaky ground. The truth is, this situation might not stabilize in the foreseeable future.

So how can retailers fix the problem?

The greatest challenge for retailers today is to truly understand their customers and their everchanging behavior. Not just in theory, but to ingrain it in every business decision they make, now and forever. Leaders in the retail world should look at this challenge positively – as an opportunity and not a threat. Below are some steps they can keep in mind:

Invest in rich customer data

Leading retail brands know the importance of accessing, analyzing and interpreting customer data to zero in on where to focus their efforts. The goal should be to think like the customer. Data will be the means to help them utilize historical customer data to predict future behavior by investing in a powerful behavioral analytics platform.

Leverage the right skill set

Sometimes, even when a brand has access to abundant customer data, not interpreting it properly can lead to miscommunication in corporate content and marketing strategies. To avoid this kind of backfire, it is important to partner with skilled data scientists, developers, innovators and behavioral platforms to deeply analyze customer data and help provide actionable insights.

Know your customers more intimately

According to multiple research reports, there is a great disconnect between customers’ needs/expectations and organizational leadership. Companies and retail leaders sometimes get out of touch with real-world customer behaviors and problems and therefore can’t come up with appropriate solutions. This gap needs to be bridged.

How can OSG help you understand customer behavior?

OSG is the catalyst for customer-centric growth. With behavioral analytics as one of our core technologies, our team is dedicated to delivering superior customer experiences by capturing and interpreting customer behavior. With an in-house team of highly skilled, experienced and innovative technology leaders, we help businesses understand their customers better. OSG’s Illuminate with its inbuilt behavioral analytics platform allows you to:

  • Understand how and why your customers behave the way they do and what to do about it
  •  Map customer journeys in a channel-less environment
  • Deliver relevant and everchanging actionable insights

OSG has all the ingredients to enable your organization to thrive in a continuously disruptive environment. Contact us to talk about ideas to help advance your organizational success.

We hope this information has been interesting and valuable to you. Please, feel free to share it with colleagues and other people in your network. We welcome discussing this topic further with you and understanding your specific challenges.

OSG Steps to Success

OSG is a “catalyst” that helps our clients be the best at decoding their customers’ decisions. Our clients have seen a minimum 20% improvement in customer engagement by implementing smart insights delivered using our behavioral analytics products.