The ease of online and omnichannel shopping due to the pandemic, has elevated consumer expectations across retail. More that half of respondents (Talkdesk Research) noted that customer service expectations are higher today than they were this time last year.
The same research discovered that it only takes one poor service experience for 68% of customers to reduce their loyalty to the brand. Customers now prioritize the experience of every transaction over the associated loyalty towards a brand. Retailers have to make every shopping experience a pleasure, no matter how brief. The Talkdesk research also highlights that it only takes 3 negative experiences for these customers to leave a brand behind. Consumers are experiencing a blur between online and in person experiences, easily able to interact with their favorite brands via chatbots, on social media, or accessing extensive information on product pages.
When customers enter the store, they expect to be treated in the same way they are online, to be instantly welcomed into the store, directed to products of their interest and supported throughout the sales process. Customers are already expected to use Brick and Mortar stores less over the next 2 years, with only 33% of consumers surveyed expecting to frequent brick and mortar by 2023. Each in-store experience as a result matters that much more, while we know in store is decreasing, the impact on consumer perception of the store as the face of the brand is still high.
Retailers have to take a targeted approach to improve their retail interactions across channels:
- Communication and automation
A Forrester report recently released notes that companies lacking communication across their operations and failing to effectively use automation have multiple versions of interaction events and consumer profiles. This confluence of conflicting customer records is a significant issue for associates in store. Staff will not be effectively able tailor experiences for customers in store, if a customer visits a store and cannot purchase a blue shirt this data should be recorded and can be used to provide targeted marketing, to get that customer the blue shirt when it is available. If the stockout is not recorded effectively, the customer could be left waiting for a notification and purchase that item from your competitor instead. The short version is this: communication matters. If your store is to keep bringing customers back, your associates have to be able to understand every customer's individual needs.
- ChatBots the eCommerce Associate
Chat bots are the store associate of eCommerce, chatbots are used for about 31% of retail interactions online, but they are expected to increase to 44% within the next two years. Industry research predicts that shoppers will spend $142 Billion via chatbots in 2024 a gain of $138.8 Billion in just 5 years. This rapid shift was partially driven by COVID, but partially enabled by wider eCommerce and social commerce experiences that are now available. Many brands have not yet risen to this challenge, hence why there is still so much potential upside for this technology. In store and digital experiences are much more connected than has been previously recognized. Consumers can be viewed holistically with true omnichannel technology empowering a more cogent shopping experience.
- Fast, Flexible Fulfillment.
Fast and flexible online fulfillment is essential to meet and exceed customer expectations driving loyalty and encouraging repeat custom. Large players in the retail space are designing delivery fulfillment systems based around customer loyalty to drive a valuable lifetime for each and every customer. Mobile and web sales are quickly becoming primary engagement platforms for retailers of all sizes, creating a frictionless experience is essential. But, this experience must be backed up by efficient order management. Companies have already started to scale up ship from store networks to meet the increased demand. Retailers will need to upgrade their fulfillment approach and inventory visibility to stay relevant and to keep stores as an effective tool in their retail operation.
Social media also gives shoppers the chance to see direct feedback from customers., when promoting new products or sharing posts through influencers, consumers that already have experience with the brand, products and service will be able to communicate their woes, or share positive feedback. 48% of U.S internet users within Gen Z are already making purchases on social media, with a further 27% expressing interest in participating in social media shopping.
Teamwork Commerce is specifically designed to enable seamless retail across channels, allowing you to build a customer experience that is tailored for every single shopper and provides award winning customer service. Learn more: www.teamworkcommerce.com