As the country emerges from the worst of the pandemic, it is apparent that we are entering into a new world of retail across all channels. This landscape remains one that keeps changing, and understanding the customer experience at all stages is crucial to success, utilising data and insights effectively can ensure you stay ahead of the game.
For physical retail particularly, in differentiating itself from the rising e-commerce category, the concept of experience is now more at the forefront than ever before as consumers expect bricks and mortar stores to be an experiential destination as well as a point of purchase. First-hand insights from the best available source, the customer themselves, will help ensure those experiences with your business are both relevant and effective.
CX is key to brand loyalty
Loyalty to a brand is no longer dictated purely by price or product, it is now more to do with the overall experience a shopper receives, whether that be in-store or online. How businesses handle their customers is second only to product quality in terms of priority for consumers. Whereas an average conversion rate can sit as low as 1-3% for first time buyers, for a repeat customer it can reach as high as 60-70%, meaning that making that first experience positive is crucial. As a result of this, according to SuperOffice 46% of global business professionals surveyed said that elevating CX was the number one priority for their business over the next 5 years, as all channels realise its growing importance.
Clearly this is a trend that has already gathered pace, and in order to make sure they are at the forefront, brands are increasingly looking into data and insight to help shape their strategies. Being able to make decisions in real time based on changing events has never been more important, and those that find the right balance will build better consumer acquisition and loyalty through positive shopping experiences. 86% of consumers are actually willing to pay more if they receive quality service, and the more expensive the item, the more they are willing to pay.
Insight informing the customer experience
Although knowing just who your customers are isn’t quite enough any more, you need to try to understand exactly what they are looking for in a store visit, what shapes their purchasing journey, and importantly why they might like you in particular. Surveys work well, while face to face interaction with real life representatives can also provide key information right from the customer themselves. This engagement can be benchmarked to provide brands with valuable knowledge with which to react or strategise for. Such first party data (i.e. directly from the consumer) can be both transactional and/or behavioural, and is the most prized form available providing powerful insights that can be used to improve the customer journey.
One in three people will walk away from a brand after just one bad CX. Good insights can fix, or better yet pre-empt, these issues and cut a potential poor experience before it develops. A quick stock fix, product description change, or promotion update can be the difference between sales made and sales lost. In the positive scenario, it is a win-win for all parties, leaving both consumer and brand satisfied. Financially, the rewards for succeeding here are more than worth it, data from Qualtrics shows us that increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25%-95%.
Physical retail is back – time to take advantage
Even with the rise of e-commerce over the course of the past year, physical retail is now back and as important as ever. It remains popular because shoppers can physically touch products they are interested in, items can be taken home immediately, and they can get tailored advice from experts. Their journey in store is defined by having an informative CX and a seamless transaction. Effective field marketing can hit both of these parameters head on, while at the same time gathering the direct insights needed to keep driving the consumer journey forward.
As retail continues to open up once more and the industry breathes again, both brands and marketers need data to enrich the CX, which as we know will then garner loyalty and recommendations. The most productive campaigns will be from those who can gather the most relevant first hand information, and are able to then use those insights to keep their customers happy with their experiences. It is this satisfaction that will in turn help your brand succeed.
Tom Harwood – Data & Insight Manager Gekko Group
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