In the retail industry, one that’s known for its ability to continually reinvent itself and find new ways to connect with consumers, the huge shift in consumer behavior from physical brick to smartphone click is predicted to accelerate in 2019.
What is the path to better days? Retailers are realizing that gimmicks and doorbusters will only go so far in creating positive business outcomes. What will make a difference is an effort to understand the shopper’s journey and engage employees in their roles better.
Here are our 5 predictions for retailers looking to improve customer loyalty and increase purchase frequency in 2019:
1. A starring system for retail representatives: Retailers will look to receive customer experience feedback similar to ridesharing apps that allows a rider to rate their driver and vice versa. More retailers will implement customer experience tools that allow both customers and associates to share feedback directly after an interaction, allowing for more real-time and specific feedback.
2. The era of instant gratification will only get more demanding: With the projected progression of offerings like Amazon Prime and same-day delivery, companies will continue to battle ongoing consumer demands for quicker response times and more immediate solutions to their complaints and questions. Physical retailers will continue to offer more fulfillment options catering to the local community.
3. Finding experience symbiosis (CX = EX): In 2019, companies will begin to value and reward their employees as much as their customers. This year, companies will start to understand that they are unable to provide customers with an exceptional experience without first ensuring their employees are engaged in their roles. Companies will recognize the importance of empowering their employees by listening and acting on employee feedback and soliciting ideas from frontline employees to deliver better customer experiences. This shift will have lasting impact on their overall brand perception from both employees and customers.
4. Predictive CX and the Intelligent Customer Experience: By applying artificial intelligence (AI) techniques, in particular machine learning, to a variety of customer experience data—from direct customer feedback, digital engagement data, psychographic characteristics, individual preferences, to shopping behavior—early adopters will begin to anticipate and, in real-time, act on customer needs in both the physical and digital world, combining experience data with operational data. This will begin to set a new precedent for customer recovery.
5. Experience-focused training for frontline employees: As the front line of a business, in-store employees represent the overall brand of a store and are the strongest drivers of consumers’ store experience. In the coming year, delivering memorable in-store experiences will become even more critical than before. Successful retailers already understand this and will double-down on their commitment to their customers, enabling associates to provide assistance, services and events. A stronger connection between training programs and consumer feedback will be created to ensure the investment is beneficial for the associate while also delivering value to the consumer.
Want to know where 2019 will take the entire experience management space? Watch 5 CX Predictions for 2019 webinar on demand to dig into our predictions for how companies can best innovate on experience and stay ahead of the curve this year.