Omnichannel, Personalization, and the Customer Experience [Q&A]
We sat down with our partners at 4-Tell to talk about omnichannel, personalization, and what it takes to create a killer customer experience. Here's what they had to say:
Why should retailers prioritize personalization across the customer journey?
It’s the easiest way to execute a customer-centric approach while driving short-term and long-term revenue. Personalized experiences enable shoppers to efficiently find products that are attune to their real-time needs and preferences. When customers painlessly find the items they need, they’re more likely to purchase products and more of it. This creates immediate impact on metrics like AOV, conversion and the like.
More importantly, however, personalized experiences makes the customer feel appreciated, understood and valued knowing they aren’t being treated like just a number. If they consistently experience these personalized interactions across channels, it will continually forge customer loyalty deeper with each interaction. Ultimately, driving loyalty with customers is what will provide sustainable, long-term profitability for businesses.
How important is balancing people and technology when creating an exceptional CX?
It’s always something merchants need to consider. For low-end commodity or general merchandising businesses, people may not play a huge role in traditional consumer-facing activities - mainly because shoppers often don’t need the aid of human assistant for low-risk purchases. In this scenario, fully automated or self-service experiences may provide all the efficiency customers need to create an exceptional customer experience.
Amazon is a good example of a company that has executed an automated, self-service business model extremely well. When you think personalized recommendations, they’re often the first the comes to mind. And they’ve mimicked these efficient experiences as they’ve extended into brick-and-mortar..
For other businesses, however, the very purpose of implementing technology may be to enable your team to better connect - and forge relationships - with customers. This is usually typical for high-end luxury brands where shoppers want the added benefit of human suggestion. In this scenario, technology should provide team members with customers real-time data, preferences and history for the purpose of more impactful, educated and tailored conversations that forge deep customer relationships.
It’s this kind of ‘white glove treatment’ shoppers want and expect when making a high-consideration purchase. Bonobos is a shining example of a business that marries technology + people to create an exceptional customer experience.
What trends in eCommerce technology do you anticipate will have the biggest impact on the customer experience in 2019?
Enabling sales teams (retail or business) with predictive analytics. While CRM platforms have traditionally helped businesses improve resource planning and business forecasting, sales reps have still had to carry the load of data entry. Analytics platforms, like 4-Tell’s, have the potential to lift sales productivity by surfacing valuable customer insights and tracking critical signals from customers who are ready to buy. This would fulfill the real promise of technology - enabling teams to provide a truly connected, personalized experience, whether online, over the phone or in-store.
Many retailers struggle to create a truly omnichannel customer experience. What are some of the reasons that retailers are missing the mark on omnichannel, and how can they achieve this in the new year?
There are many obstacles that can hinder a strong omnichannel strategy - budget restraints, organizational disconnect, lack of personnel, siloed data, etc. - but the root of the issue stems from ownership of the customer experience.
Most business leaders will confidently proclaim that “everyone” owns the customer experience. The ‘everyone’ that executives are often referring to, however, is the ensemble of distinct departments that touch the customer journey. Typically, each of these departments – from sales to service, to marketing, to product – have their own structure, KPIs, budgets, and goals to convert customers and push them to the next stage of their journey. With each team striving to fulfill different metrics for success, departments become siloed and processes and people end-up disconnected.
In order to create a truly omnichannel customer experience in 2019, retail leaders must unify internal processes and people through data, technology, and goals. Incentivized by customer-centric goals and empowered with the right technology and data, every employee can create fluid experiences that drive customer loyalty and business’s bottom-line.
How can businesses be more data-driven, particularly when engaging customers in-store and online?
The first step in becoming data-driven is unifying data. When data is scattered between the POS, CRM and ecommerce platform, information becomes inaccessible across departments. You simply can’t successfully deploy an omnichannel strategy when teams don’t have a holistic view of the customer.
Considering this, it’s imperative for businesses to implement technology that can bring data together from these siloed systems and surface a 360 view of the customer.
This unification of data is what 4-Tell has mastered with it’s Smart Commerce℠ Platform.
The Smart Commerce℠ Platform surfaces data-driven insights for employees at every level of the business, enabling each individual to make informed merchandising, marketing and sales decisions. With access to holistic, customer insights, employees perform better in their jobs while creating a seamless and engaging brand experience across multiple channels. Ultimately, businesses encounter an increase in revenue, customer lifetime value and a decrease in employee turnover when employees have access to our technology.
Reaching consumers in the digital age can sometimes feel like a shouting match. How does 4-Tell's Smart Commerce Platform help retailers engage consumers in a noisy, overcrowded market?
Oftentimes businesses implement new technology for the purpose of differentiating themselves, but it only ends up bringing more noise into the market. Shoppers don’t want to talk to another chatbot - it’s just not a compelling experience.
Instead, retailers should implement technology for the purpose of connecting deeper with their customers. Human connection is the most vital and influential component of driving customer loyalty. Retailers should capitalize on these opportunities instead of filling these interactions with automation.
That’s what makes 4-Tell different. Our technology gives every employee in your organization the tools and insights to engage shoppers when it matters most.
4-Tell’s Smart Commerce℠ Platform surfaces data insights to help employees communicate and fulfill the needs of customers. By combining personalized product recommendations on-site and an empowered back-end sales and customer support team, we believe businesses will be able to create a customer experience that differentiates themselves from competitors and drives customer loyalty.
For more information about 4-Tell's offering, check out their site!
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