Even more than I used to have, what a respect I have for the retail business at this moment. The situation asks a lot of their flexibility. Luckily, most of the retail companies already had an e-commerce platform and they were able to make a swift shift. But there will be a time that consumers are coming back to the physical stores to enjoy the unique experience, and hopefully this is sooner than later. But now people are used to the digital journeys, how can you merge the best of the two worlds in your approach of the customers? With the main goal: strengthen the customer relationship and gain loyal customers?
To ensure the sustainability of retail, the perfect fusion of the digital and offline channels is essential. To make sure you can profit optimally from your physical store, as soon as it may open again, you need to deep dive into merging the customer experience of all channels.
One single platform
Innovative solutions ensure that the digital and offline customers journey is being merged more and more. Within this development, ‘digital’ is getting a wider meaning. Namely: serving customers through digital channels via interactive apps, instore tools, video platform and more. In this way, the customer can be supported in the way and moment that it fits him or her best.
“In case you use a different system of database per location or department, it does not benefit the customer experience.”
To set this up properly, it is important to think from one platform. This, in contrary to what we experience at many retailers, whom use different systems and databases per (digital) location or department. When departments marketing and service for example make use of different data and systems, it does not support an optimal customer experience. A consumer for example shows certain behavior in its search queries, but the delivered service does not fit into that. By centralizing from a data perspective, a uniform and personal approach arises via all possible touch points within the complete customer journey.
Higher quality interactions and loyal customers
Technological developments already ensured a greater share of digital sales before and the pandemic has only strengthened this. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, we already saw that within the digital and offline customer journeys the amount of touch points was increasing. The consumer collects more information like squirrels collect their nuts for the winter, and based on this they make decision on purchases. The order takes place when the customer wants to do it and even the delivery is often planned based on personal wishes.
An increase in digital sales, also within a physical store, is a positive development for retailers. It ensures an increase in quantity ánd quality of the amount of interactions, partly by proactive customer service ánd personalization that makes the fusion of the digital and offline strategies possible. In this way, retailers are able to target, upsell and cross-sell on a more individual base, and steer their revenues more focused.
“When you make smart use of the possibilities of digitization, you can significantly reduce entrepreneurial risks.”
Decrease of entrepreneurial risks
When you use the possibilities of digitization smartly, you might need less stock in your stores. This decreases the entrepreneurial risks, what is absolutely welcome in these times. With the help of machine learning, you can predict your customer behavior in a more efficient way. Besides that, products can be ordered at that moment digitally on the spot via the instore app and be delivered that same day. This makes a company more scalable, in which you can still deliver personal service. Stores become more showrooms than storages of stock. A decreased risk for you as retailer, no hazzle for the shopper.
What can you do?
An excellent example of where the best of the digital and offline worlds merge, is within clienteling. With clienteling technology, you can connect offline and online customer data, like purchase history, behavioral and preference details. With this, you make use of the following opportunities:
- In store directly insights into the stock and possibility to order digitally, on the spot.
- Personalized insights into both order history as the right sizes, wishes and preferences of the customer.
- Upsell opportunities through selecting fitting and matching items and advising about it.
Through the clienteling technology, all customer data are made available through, normally, offline channels and ensure a proactive customer service and complete unburdening of the customer, which will result in loyal customers.
In the long run, we see that more and more companies are working from one single, digital platform including all channels and customer touch points. As less different systems are used for different purposes, you can create a more seamless experience in serving these customers. This means that the digital and offline customer journeys will eventually merge seamlessly.
The unique, physical experience of shopping will never disappear. Consumers do have the need for the feeling that shopping gives them. Customers want to be able to touch, feel and try certain products. That offline experience is difficult to realize within an e-commerce environment. Bring you are able to bring the digital ease to the offline world.
The instore experience will therefore digitalize more and more over time. Think about the ease of checking out and paying (see the Amazon Go stores as example), and the complete unburdening of the customer. Instore apps will be playing a much bigger role from now on, in which all up-to-data data is provided. Within the digitization of the customer journey, the best of both worlds is leading to a completely new world, with the focus on loyal customers.
Interested in the way we can unburden you in digitizing the complete customer journey? Contact us for an open inspiration and discovery meeting.