Our world is driven by the omnichannel business model, online shopping has become a hybrid of shipments directly to consumers, consumers collecting orders in store and ordering from the store to home. At the center of this all, but often overlooked; is the customer experience.
In the past customer experience has revolved around staff engagement and communication, offering consideration, compassion and education in the shopping process. But, even before COVID-19 customers were shifting their perspective on traditional retail, often starting their experience online.
Ecommerce enables more flexibility for customers, especially those aiming to learn more about the brand and offerings, the eCommerce experience has begun to share the load with staff in brick-and-mortar locations. Retailers are now leveraging software, integrations and backend solutions to create a complete customer experience that is consistent and optimized across all channels.
Retailers are at an inflection point, to compete in the marketplace brands have to differentiate themselves and establish an identity that customers resonate with. Whether this is via digital experience or an experiential brick-and-mortar process that is focused on creating a seamless sales process, the key impetus for innovation is centered around creating an opportunity for flexibility and lean operations.
This enables a complete, scalable and secure view of operations. Gaps in the supply chain lead to friction and customers falling out of the sales funnel. Delivery delays, order mistakes and stockouts cost more than a lost sale, they lead to lost customers. Brands have to create a “holistic view” of every customer, they have to feel empowered to control the retail process and connect with the customer.
Brick-and-mortar storefronts are quickly becoming another asset in the retail fulfillment supply chain, supporting online orders and allowing more convenience at the point of sale for customers. Connected experiences are empowered through an engaging experience that exceeds customer expectations at every point. More than 30% of businesses have experienced situations where they sell items that appear in stock, but cannot be located within the inventory. This leads to an awkward process of reconciliation which creates significant friction and invariably leads to customer loss throughout the process.
Tracking & Awareness
For customers, there is nothing worse than placing an order and waiting days to receive any sort of notification, update or tracking number. 93% of shoppers emphasised the importance of receiving an email confirmation after placing an order, with 88% of customers noting they track online order status. Clear communication at the point of sale & beyond is the foundation of trust and a real relationship with the brand. If customers are forced to wait several days, or weeks to hear about their order they are more likely to cancel. Ecommerce is more flexible for customers, the purchase can usually be reversed as long as the order has not been fulfilled. Customers need to feel confident and comfortable with their purchase. The fulfillment process is an ideal opportunity to provide meaningful interaction directly with the customer at a time when they will be more likely and willing to engage with the brand (In hopes of learning more about their order.)
On the business side, users need to be able to track and study inventory behavior as it is happening, monitoring customer behavior, common shipping locations and refine the process to add simplicity and engagement in the customer facing process.
It can be challenging to create a positive customer experience on digital channels. A Walker info study identified that “by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.” 2020 is here and this study has proven correct. With the vast availability of shopping experiences across channels, carving a unique pedestal in all of the noise of eCommerce and omnichannel retail is all about customer experience. The core of the customer experience? Creating a relevant, meaningful and customer centered journey.
Customers need to be welcomed, educated, and then promoted to. Many retailers skip straight to the end of the process, promoting their brand and products, before welcoming customers into their community. In the brick-and-mortar world this model can be effective, customers have shorter decision windows and thus can be more willing to listen and engage. In the digital world this approach is fragile. Customers have limitless purchase opportunities and are not confined by location. creating brand loyalists in the digital space requires a cross-channel marketing strategy. Providing information across every channel and supporting customers in their decision making process. A strong eCommerce backend supported by effective UX design is the foundation, a simple purchase process, and a connected communication purchase allows for complete customer engagement from start to finish.
The unification process demands a complete and unique approach to the retail marketplace. With the Teamwork Commerce & BigCommerce partnership, brands can build a go to market approach that works around the strengths of their brands and enables a limitless feature set to ensure continued growth, engagement and success. Learn more: email@example.com