The advantages of digital transformation for the retail industry are well known. Only with always-on networks and applications that are being increasingly enriched with AI can retailers deliver personalized engagements consumers now expect.
Today’s consumers are choosing their channels, whether they are looking for new products, are ready to buy, have questions, need to return products, or wish to have their purchases delivered to their homes or made ready for in-store pickup – consumers hold the power in the highly competitive online and instore (and hybrid) world of retail.
Expectations are sky high, and today’s consumers expect a seamless experience, with no long waits in a virtual queue or in an actual queue at physical locations.
To Attract Customer Loyalty, Retailers Need an Experience Which Stands Out
Gone are the days of patience – when consumers can find and buy a product in minutes on mega-platforms like Amazon.com and have it delivered to a locker or to their door in a day or two; they have little appetite for retailers who don’t understand and don’t deliver the “instant gratification” they have come to expect as table stakes.
Retailers who don’t invest in modernizing their applications, networks, and hybrid services and who continue to not only rely on yesterday’s siloed marketing and customer care infrastructure will fail, as their competitors are investing in easy, intuitive experiences for their consumers and funding digital transformation projects through cost savings now available given automation and AI that results in greater productivity and short and long term operating expense reductions.
Customers are expecting personalization of communications, product recommendations, offers, and loyalty programs, and insightful retailers understand the benefits of using technologies to attract and satisfy those customers, mapping out journeys fed by data analytics that drive more personalized experiences that often require no human intervention.
With innovations including intelligent contact routing, customized offerings, special sales, and special treatment, discerning customers with deep pockets can feel like they have their own “personal shopper” when in fact, the data and algorithms are doing next-level duties that human beings could not perform with the level of granularity we are seeing today.
What do all digital retail innovations have in common, whether they are creating exciting in-store experiences or eCommerce interactions?
The key is in finding an experienced “mixologist” with a knack for blending in-store and online services that solve for the urgent need for constant, high-speed, reliable, and high-fidelity real-time communications solutions.
If the network doesn’t work, the investment in software and CX initiatives matters not – predictable, always-on, fast, resilient, and intelligent networking and cloud infrastructure are not a “nice to have” but a “must have” foundation.
We have helped large retail enterprises through network and application modernization to significantly improve application performance while reducing the rate of lost and abandoned calls to zero, as one example.
For one of our large auto parts clients, this has resulted in a $6M ROI in less than two years and an overall $30M cost avoidance in 5 years. In addition, customer and associate experience have shown dramatic improvements.
Whether retailers need reliable In-Store Wi-Fi for shoppers and associates and advanced systems, including just-in-time restocking or location-based in-store deals that ping the customer’s mobile phone with text messages or in-app offers – no one can argue that if the WiFi goes down, all that innovation is for naught.
Multiply this by tens of thousands of locations spread out across the country, and you’ll understand the value of Centralized Network Management and Monitoring Across Properties. As digital transformation programs grow, the need to access and leverage actionable analytics becomes imperative, and when retailers don’t wish to lose any customers who “window shop” then research competitive prices and literally in the store purchase the same product on Amazon.com, they understand the fabric of communications applications that allow them to respond to now common threats like this.
In an age where customers can choose and change the channel, retailers who meet customers’ needs are winning customers for life.
Customer service is so important to consumers that they are willing to pay premium prices for products and services if a great customer experience goes with it. Omnichannel communication has been proven to provide a better customer experience and has a direct impact on customer retention, as proven by a study published by the Aberdeen Group which found that companies with strong omnichannel customer engagement strategies achieve 89% retention versus 33% for those with weak strategies.
Beating the competition in retail takes vision – and the right digital infrastructure to manifest that vision. We at ConnX are here to help with experience and expertise in retail transformation and proven implementations that scale.
If you need more information or would like to discuss some of your current challenges, our data experts are happy to help.