It’s no longer brick and mortar stores vs e-commerce, omnichannel is the new reality for success among retailers. If your strategy is to first ‘wow’ customers by going digital out, make sure you have the analogue support in place for your customers to experience the same when they walk into your store.
With the dawn of the digital age, Customer Experience is a buzzword with prominence and has been used so much to a point of being abused. It is the defining factor for the success of any business and more importantly for a Retail firm. Better customer experience means better customer retention which translates into better business. 89% of consumers say that they have switched business to a competitor due to poor customer experiences.
Here are a few strategies that can help reduce the digital and analogue divide, crucial for enhancing the Customer Experience:
Start small and scale along with your Analogue Business
I have consulted for large retail companies in the country where frankly speaking they have unrealistic expectations on digital. They suddenly realize that their competitors have surged ahead with their digital capabilities and all that they are looking for is the best of the breed Digital solution. They want to take off to become a Flipkart of Electronic retail (e-tail) or Jabong of Fashion e-tail. Little do they understand their bread and butter is from the stores they have across India and it’s important for them to consolidate the same in the e-commerce space before reaching out to a newer crowd.
The trick here is to start small, maybe have your merchandise on the web, enable buying and selling from a centralized location. Once this is steady, then look at implementing order management system to bring in the Omni-channel Experience and finally implementing in-house digital assets to enable the digital experience within your store.
Focus on the digital-in and Digital-Out together
78% of the businesses focus on either Digital inside or digital outside strategy but not both. Digital out is any digital assets a retail organization builds to empower its customer and give them a digital experience. These are the Web sites, the mobile applications and the social presence you create.
If all this is not supported by the digital-In initiatives of having a robust analytical layer and automated processed for customer support your digital experience will fall flat.
Questions like ‘Are you going to have a separate customer support team or are you going to have your front office staff do the customer support?’ needs to be answered, in both the cases, have you created digital assets within to enable them in the process?
Always keep an eye on the cost, digital assets don’t come cheap
Building digital assets is an expensive affair. The number of systems involved and the complexity of the systems is usually more, resulting in burning out a lot of cash.Given the situation, digital is not an option anymore; having said that being brash on spending just to create digital channels is not an affordable solution especially to the SMB Retail houses. Retail houses have crashed and burned because their technology spending has not been sustainable and the desired ROI was not recovered resulting in additional spending leading to complete breakdown of the business.
It’s no longer brick and mortar stores vs e-commerce, omnichannel is the new reality for success among retailers. Physical store operators like Macy’s are experiencing considerable digital success, while online merchants including Amazon are expanding with showrooms and meeting shoppers face to face. If your strategy is to first ‘wow’ customers by going digital out, make sure you have the analogue support in place for your customers to experience the same when they walk into your store. The convergence of the physical and digital world that you provide to your customers must come with the right balance in order to achieve better customer experiences.