It is not unusual for consumers to search for an item, look at a few websites and then get distracted by something else.
A day or so later, they might resume the search either stopping by a store to see if they have the item and/or going back online whilst looking at peer reviews. All before making the purchase.
Long gone are the days of customer journeys being linear. They are replaced with journeys where much of the buying decision has been made before any kind of direct engagement with a retailer.
Unify the experience
Customers should not need to bend their shopping behaviour to match the contours of a retailer’s capabilities. Customers believe they have a relationship with you, they want to be appreciated and listened to, as well as recognised and valued. The challenge retailers have is bringing together all these touchpoints to ensure the consistency of their brand to each individual customer.
A customer engagement solution gives retailers the tools they need to see the complete picture of the customer. It combines unstructured insight, like social conversations, within the same view as the real-time customer order, preferences and transaction history.
By bringing all this information together, it enables the retailer to unify and personalise the experience for your customer because you can identify them, you can see all their history and thus you are able to give them their own individual experience.
Making it easy
However, just having a unified picture of the customer isn’t enough. It won’t deliver more sales and loyalty if that information isn’t shared across all channels and across all your customer service professionals.
It’s important that retailers are enabling in-store interaction to personalise customer-specific shopping and guided selling. Bringing this view will help merge the digital and physical environments together for more sales. The time has also come for retailers to invest in next generation point of sale (POS). One that not only manages complex promotions but can also be deployed across fixed and mobile devices, combines a 360-degree view of the customer and enterprise inventory availability to really give customers a whole experience.
If a customer calls into your contact centre, your agent needs the information and the capabilities to answer their questions quickly and easily. Having that single view of the customer and inventory means not only can they better serve them but also reduces call times.
The digital journey or the physical one should no longer be kept in isolation. They should seamlessly connect and unify the researching, purchase and delivery experiences together.
Deliver any experiences they can imagine
As shopping behaviour continues to change, retailers must adapt as well, and ensure that, from the casual browser to the modern consumer who effortlessly navigates online, mobile and physical shopping, the experience meets their expectations. Otherwise, they will quickly shop elsewhere.
Author: Raghav Sibal, Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand for Manhattan Associates
Manhattan Associates is a technology leader in supply chain and omnichannel commerce. We unite information across the enterprise, converging front-end sales with back-end supply chain execution. Our software, platform technology, and unmatched experience help drive both top-line growth and bottom-line profitability for our customers. For more information, visit: manh.com/en-au