Today, the competitive environment facing retailers is overwhelming, to say the least. Not only are customer expectations evolving at an alarming rate, but new pressures and budget constraints brought on byCOVID-19 also make keeping up difficult.
Yet, research shows that retailers who prioritize customer experience, even during an economic downturn, prove to be more resilient than their competitors, experiencing shallower declines in overall profit and bouncing back quicker.
Most retail leaders today understand the critical importance of customer experience (CX). Yet, too many seek to improve CX in silos or on a channel-by-channel basis. Today, a good customer experience is practically synonymous with a consistent customer experience. Retailers must take the entire customer journey into account and prioritize a unified commerce experience.
1. Unify systems to reduce friction
Today, every customer has their unique set of preferences, and customer journeys can come in an endless number of combinations. Some shoppers prefer to shop exclusively on their mobile devices, while others enjoy browsing the aisles in-store. Still others over-purchase inventory online to return what they do not use in-store. What seems universal is that most customers are unconcerned with the back-end technology required to ensure their transaction is completed correctly and delivered on time.
On the other hand, the retailer is faced with the challenge of delivering a frictionless and consistent brand experience. One way that retailers can achieve this is by adopting a unified commerce model. Integrating all back-end systems will allow the enterprise to set itself up for success as customer preferences shift and new channels emerge.
2. Keep the entire customer journey in mind.
Research shows that customer satisfaction is based on the holistic experience, not just one or two channels. To achieve this type of unification, retailers must relentlessly prioritize a customer-first approach, fighting against internal silos and disjointed systems or processes.
Practically speaking, a unified commerce model centered around a clean master data record can enable a seamless customer experience across every touchpoint. A commerce engine centered on customer data provides the enterprise with comprehensive views of customer patterns and helps prevent inconsistencies when customers jump from channel to channel.
3. Personalize, but prioritize consistency.
Personalization has also become the norm for customers and is a growing area of complexity for retailers. Shoppers now expect to see personalized cart recommendations and cart abandonment emails. As retailers continue to invest in personalization efforts, they must also prioritize consistency and the unification of the overall customer journey.
In the end, the retailers that prioritize consistency will continue to build loyalty with customers; they will set themselves up nicely to pivot with the next wave of customer expectations.
To read the full article on visit Forbes.com.
At Artisan, we specialize in helping retailers deliver exceptional experiences through thoughtfully designed technology. If you want to learn more or discuss your organization’s needs, reach out to us here.