It’s surprising that retailers and consumers view personalization quite differently. The vast majority of shoppers—88%—claim that the more personalized an experience is (mobile, online and in-store), the more likely they are to shop at that retailer again. So those 24% of retailers who don’t believe personalization is worth the effort might want to reconsider, or be left in the dust as competitors undermine their brand loyalty.
Now that the value of personalization has been firmly established, how does the omnichannel retailer make it happen? There is no greater opportunity to personalize a shopping experience than in the store, where more than 90% of all retail transactions are still conducted. Face-to-face interactions with associates have the power to fully engage shoppers, create a meaningful relationship, and deepen loyalty. No doubt your hiring criteria have placed charming, enthusiastic personnel in your stores who are able to generate small talk and convert sales based upon experience —a good start, but just the first step.
Knowledge is Power
Taking engagement to the next level requires that associates know the customer at a glance by harnessing the power of big data, omnichannel, and engagement tools. In other words, they need as much information as possible about the customer’s entire journey. This means access to data collected during all customer interactions in each channel, including items in their abandoned online cart, items purchased, items returned, items viewed, and other shopping behaviors.
All of these cross-channel interactions provide insight into each customer’s unique, continuous journey. As a result, associates are not only able to engage the customer in the store more deeply and sell, cross-sell and up-sell more efficiently, but also become far more knowledgeable with far less training. [The power of in store responses to online research]
Digital Transformation Unlocks Knowledge and Productivity
The million-dollar question is how to collect and share all this cross-channel data across the enterprise so store associates can access a customer’s personal history? Or even more importantly, with customers entering the store having already researched their purchases online, how can we use in-store experiences to improve the research experience.
The answer is digital store transformation anchored by a digital store platform that drives the flow of data among all sales channels. Digital store transformation is all about a digitally driven point-of-sale enhanced with expansive cross-channel experiences supported with the commerce platform, powerful order management, seamless integration to customer service, and all supported by powerful analytics, workforce optimization, and stunning digital content delivery.
To be truly omnichannel the digital store platform must deliver vital store information across all channels, the enterprise, and the retailer’s expanded network of suppliers, partners, and manufacturers to immediately shape sales, business operations and the customer experience. The platform ensures that associates are guided by real-time data to deliver higher levels of customer service through the entire customer journey—aisle through checkout. Data-driven technologies make associates more efficient, allowing them to spend more quality time assisting guests with better service than was previously possible.
Specific store improvements driven by digital transformation include:
- Associate mobility with instant access to enterprise wide information.
- Line busting alerts driven to associates to ensure the right numbers of service lanes are open for fast customer checkout.
- Optimizing the fitting room experience with mobile-equipped associates who can provide continuous and responsive fitting room service from entry through checkout.
- Location-based customer service alerts that allow customers to request help and retailers to send knowledgeable staff based on time spent in an aisle, at a specific product location or other defined criteria.
- Driving real-time product/inventory information to digital displays in-store to improve customer satisfaction and increase visibility.
- Providing live data to all other points of service to guide and influence the shopping experience.
Optimized Associates Drive Results
So there you have it: Digital transformation optimizes a retailer’s most valuable asset – its associates. And when associates have the information they need to provide stellar customer service, they produce results that drive omnichannel success:
- Better service retains customers and improves business operations.
- Sales increase and returns decrease.
Personalized shopping experience engages cross-channel shoppers at every touchpoint.