“Here is a simple but powerful rule: always give people more than what they expect to get.” ~ Nelson Boswell
“The customer experience is the next competitive battleground.” ~ Jerry Gregoire
“Make your product easier to buy than your competition, or you will find your customers buying from them, not you.” ~ Mark Cuban
We love a good quote. But three stellar quotes about the customer experience? Absolutely irresistible. Because as it relates the world of retail, we know that businesses are knee-deep in adopting new standards and technologies to improve and enhance the customer’s shopping experience. After all, it’s the customer that now defines retailing, transcending channels to shop exactly the way they want to shop, whether online or in-store. And their expectations are significant. With a shopping basket in one hand and a smartphone in the other, shoppers also turning to mobile to do research, compare prices and even make their final purchase.
So what’s a retailer (or supplier) to do? Well, if you haven’t yet transitioned to a full customer shopping experience, it’s time to start. Here are a few tips to help ease the process.
Get Your Stores Ready
Physical stores will play the lead role in building up the omni-channel capability. From a technical perspective, there are three core enablers: (Walkbase)
- the ability to gather rich analytical and contextual information from physical stores and integrate these to other retail data such as loyalty/CRM, POS, web, and so on,
- the ability to locate people individually in-store, and
- the ability to process a vast amount of contextual and historical data real time, to be able to trigger Omni-Channel engagements real time, as customers advance in their journey.
Source & Aggregate Rich Content
Think like a consumer and source the content from throughout your organization. Find the highest quality images and assets, hit up R&D for the nutritional, allergen, made-from, vegan-friendly, natural fibers, etc., and source any third party consumer or agency certifications you can. Rich, authentic information sells consumers. Once you find the brand-trusted product information, consolidate to a single source of truth in your organization. Then get ready to feed the content monster!
Get Your Product Content Online
Not only does your product content need to be available online, but it also requires a lot more detail (think ‘attribution’) for online digital presentation. This is an absolute essential step to enable retailers’ customer facing applications, such as mobile apps, ‘pick-up today,’ wish lists and in-store navigation.
Ensure that ‘items’, regardless of category, be viewable online. Suppliers also need to ensure that their entire in-store product catalog contains the additional consumer-facing attribution and digital assets specific to its category. With thousands of items in a retailer’s store not represented online, it presents a significant potential lost opportunity and potential lessening of the retailer’s brand.