by Mark Doornbosch

Learn the Art and Science of a Better Retail Customer Experience

Customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that don’t focus on customers.” – Blake Morgan, Customer Experience Futurist, Author and Keynote Speaker 

Today’s customers shape their expectations on the unlimited information and opinions at their fingertips. Because of this, the linear buying process is simply too slow and generic. Retailers must adapt to the “always-on” environment, where customers can constantly reevaluate a company’s actions. The customer experience is essentially perpetual.  

With the continuing digital evolution, retail is rapidly transforming with the influx of disruptive circumstances and technologies. Now, companies must apply online tools, social media and digital relationships to drive sales across multiple channels. As digital communication continues to drive positive customer interactions, the in-store experience will need to be heightened and aligned to match. 

The Human Side of Sales Effectiveness: Where Art and Science Intersect

At the same time, leveraging technology is not the whole solutionAn article at Forbes.com reports, “The future of retail CX is human.”  Your customers want to know that you are listening to them. They want to feel that you care about them as people and value their business. Technology is just a means to unlocking opportunities for a long-lasting relationship, and a superb person-to-person interaction with your associates online and in the store. 

In other words, retailers should strike a balance between art and science. 

Notably, profitability measures have widened from purely operational efficiency to include the financial implications of the customer experience. Managers are expected to seek out opportunities to streamline processes, target and engage customers and boost the performance of their teams. Meanwhile, retail operations and marketing should be aligning the customer experience across all touchpoints to coalesce physical brick-and-mortar, online, and e-commerce into a seamless experience. Unfortunately, many retailers fall short in creating a positive customer experience this way.  

Take Action 

Quantify your customer experience through the voice of the customer, setting benchmarks and measuring against them. Develop a holistic training approach that goes beyond skill set to view the “whole person” within the context of your company culture. 

Learn how your customers are using technology inside and outside the store and adapt to meet their communicating and shopping preferences on their terms—when, where and how they choose. Realize that the customer experience continues beyond the store and all customer touchpoints must seamlessly align, and plan accordingly.  

Put in place a customer experience platform that enables interacting with consumers and gathering pertinent data that can be incorporated into retail operations and marketing endeavors.  

Ensure that all facets of operations and marketing have a method of exchanging pertinent information so they can quicky respond to changing customer behavior. 

And finally, streamline processes and remove hurdles around customer engagement. 
 

Want to learn more? Stay tuned for our forthcoming new eBook, Agility in Retail is Everything: 12 Action Steps to Accelerate Retail Growth.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As a Retail Practice Leader at MarketSource, Mark works with national brands focused on retail distribution to execute their field marketing plans. The MarketSource message is simple; we help you sell more, faster. As the self-proclaimed Retail Sales Sensei and Master of Marketing Zen, Mark can be reached via LinkedIn or through the MarketSource sales concierge.

At MarketSource, an Allegis Group company, we believe better sales begin with better relationships. Our proven alternative to traditional outsourced sales is led by a proprietary process that helps businesses thrive by fostering deeper connections between people and brands.