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Retailers today seem to have the cards stacked against them. From declining earnings, decreased foot traffic, and store closures, the challenges are endless. In addition, they’re experiencing a new generation of shoppers whose changing habits are reshaping expectations from stores, brands, products, and more.
Did you know that millennials now represent the largest consumer demographic in the world? According to a Harris Group study, 72 percent of millennials would rather spend money on experiences vs. material goods. This changing mindset requires companies to listen to their customers and see the value in creating a truly unique experience at all levels of interaction.
Below are three ways to help retailers stop just surviving and start thriving.
Don’t conduct research, open a dialogue
We live in a highly-connected world. According to eMarketer, the average U.S. adult spends nearly three hours per day on their mobile device. As a result, traditional forms of communication between the consumer and retailers are ceasing to exist. One way that retailers can manage solicited feedback is through instruments like a survey. Take Uber for example, they automatically ask users to rate their driver following a ride. Another option is to embed a request for feedback in an email that is sent immediately after your customer makes a purchase. Remember that you want to engage with the customer. When questions are few yet relevant to the experience, a response becomes a natural next step.
Create connected journeys
Making it easy and enjoyable for customers to shop across all channels should be your ultimate goal. Facts show that consumers who purchase from a brand via multiple channels spend significantly more. According to a recent Medallia study, omnichannel shoppers logged 23 percent more repeat trips to the store and a Google study found that nearly 82 percent of consumers consult their phone prior to making a significant in-store purchase. This means that in-store sales associates need to have more knowledge on products than what your customer can find on their mobile device so that they are better prepared to interact with customers on a deeper level.
Innovate continuously at scale
Innovations come in all sizes and from many parts of the organization. With thousands, or tens of thousands, of employees interacting with customers and observing their behaviors, this is an incredibly powerful source of new ideas. That is why some of the best retailers seek input from virtually all their customer-facing employees. For example, one retailer tested placing more women’s inventory toward the front of the store and moving the men’s clothing to the back. Over the weekend a feedback pattern emerged that customers no longer thought it felt like their store. Using that real-time feedback, modifications were made instantly and their Net Promoter Score (NPS) for the store rose by 4 points and sales of women’s apparel grew by 12 percent over the following three months.
Implementing just one of the above strategies is a good start on the road to success. When they are all implemented together, the outcome improves by leaps and bounds. Your consumer lens broadens and starts to include the entire journey, identifying pain points and opportunities. As innovation becomes a natural extension of the brand, these opportunities are acted on. What follows is a company that thrives with improved CX.