Personalize the online customer experience
Make time and distance irrelevant
According to Forrester, 62% of surveyed firms personalize their web and mobile experiences1. But personalization goes beyond presenting the customer with a tailored product selection based on their browsing history. With 4G and faster broadband, rich digital content is available online or on mobile and can help bring the personal touch.
Some opticians now offer a 3D, virtual-try-on feature. This uses a Snapchat-style overlay to superimpose different glasses onto the customer’s face, as viewed through their webcam. How long until we see a similar service for clothes?
In-store, it’s the conversations that customers have with store staff that often results in a sale—or upsell. And now, organizations are using technology to replicate that experience online. One high-end jewelry retailer is using video calling to offer personal shopping to customers around the world. Customers can video chat with an adviser, browse the in-store product range and receive essentially the same service as if they were in the store.
Technology isn’t just making conversations between advisers and customers possible outside the store. It’s also enabling conversations between consumers and machines. It might be too early to say whether chatbots are a gimmick or gamechanger, but they’re opening the door to a new era of conversational commerce. We’re going to see consumers increasingly interacting with businesses through chat apps (like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp) and voice technology, like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. These tools are already being used to personalize customer service—without requiring a 24/7 contact center—and to handle sales.
In the future, we could see further advances into zero user interface (UI)—where a gesture or expression could activate a personal assistant or initiate a transaction. All of this is taking us towards faster, more convenient and more personalized service.
But none of this will have the desired impact if personalized content takes too long to load, or your personal assistant lags. The online customer experience needs to be seamless and natural if it is to replicate the personalized service in-store. The latest content delivery networks can help your new digital services reach your customers’ devices, quickly and efficiently.
Doorstep surprise, and delight
49% of consumers say they choose stores over the web because they want “to take items home immediately2.” Balancing stock availability with proximity to the customer is always going to be difficult. But retailers are bridging the gap between their physical stores and their online operations to get goods to their customers faster.
To create a successful fulfilment process, you need to balance the costs of shipping against the value of the transaction. But you also need to consider customer expectations. And they’re increasingly for fast, next day—if not, same day—delivery. The latest smart asset management technology has opened the door to last-mile delivery options that are helping to speed up fulfilment—and provide a better overall customer experience.
Services like “click and collect” combine the browsing of online with the speed of in-store. But customers still have to venture out of the comfort of their homes to get their hands on your products.
Some retailers are using their stores as mini regional distribution hubs to cut delivery times further. In the UK, several department stores offer a same-day delivery service. There’s even a grocery service that delivers products in under 60 minutes.
And if you don’t have your own distribution arm, look around you for alternatives. Some department stores have done this by partnering with on-demand car sharing services to deliver groceries.
Meeting expectations is not always about delivering quickly
But it’s not always about speed. Customers expect to have to wait for certain items, such as sofas or customized products. But they want to be kept informed. And they don’t want to have to take a whole day off work waiting for a delivery that never arrives.
That means more than sending a “delivery dispatched” email. Tracking a purchase extends back to the factory and forward to after a delivery has been made. It also makes it possible to hand control to the customer so they can select a delivery slot that’s convenient to them.
Achieving this level of transparency means working hand-in-hand with your logistics and delivery partners. Your systems must interconnect seamlessly with theirs, including getting around any obstacles thrown up by legacy environments and avoiding vendor lock-in.
What makes it go
See how technology is making great retail CX possible, in-store and online
Take a look at some of the latest innovations that are shaking up retail, both online and in-store. And discover the technology that makes it all possible.View our infographic
Making it happen
Content-delivery networksRead more
Deliver content quickly and easily with high performance, scalability, and availability.
Asset ManagementRead more
Streamline your supply chain and improve delivery by monitoring your equipment and products.
Customer notificationsRead more
Drive customer engagement with near-real-time, personalized notifications on any channel.
Digital identitiesRead more
Protect, connect and manage the digital identities of people, devices and the Internet of Things.
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The Future of RetailPredictions for the Future
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