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Adaptive CX Means Liquid Personalization

Published: Jan 05, 2018
Author: Ravi Krishnamurthy

Digital Convergence Blog Series – Part 2

Customized offers.
Assisted shopping.
Mobile wish lists.
Virtual cards.
Curbside pickup.

There are few industries experiencing a greater outside-in demand for digital innovation than the retail sector. Today’s retail customer is tech savvy, highly mobile, and looking for meaningful, personalized experiences. They want to order groceries online and pick them up at the curb. They want to download books and music to any device but still have the option to buy a print book in store and sit down in the café to enjoy it with a cup of coffee. They want easy checkouts, painless returns and are oblivious to channels. They want retailers to keep track of their purchasing histories, habits, and preferences and position that information at the point of future decision making.

And shoppers don’t just want products. They want experiences and ideas.

There is no one-size-fits-all, out-of-the-box answer to such a burgeoning list of consumer expectations—no single digital solution or CX strategy that can deliver those outcomes. Successful customer experience strategies are agile and adaptive customer experience strategies. They should leverage shopper behavior and customer insights to shift and respond to new demands and opportunities.

This approach to adaptive customer experience amounts to liquid personalizationi.e., customized engagement that is fluid and flexible, capable of adapting to and meeting changing consumer demands.  But it’s also anticipatory, using predictive analytics to deliver engagement strategies that keep retailers one step ahead of customers and customers delighted and satisfied.  

For many retailers, this kind of personalization is taking the form of integrated approaches where geofencing and beacons are used to pull customers in store with personalized offers via a branded mobile app or by merging in-store capabilities with online applications. Others are using virtual and augmented reality to drive in-store product discovery and project ideation. Sensing and aware IoT solutions and mobile applications are likewise being digitally stitched together to enhance shopper experience.

As part of their personalization strategies, retailers like IKEA are using augmented reality apps to help customers visualize furniture and décor in their own homes. Lowe’s has a “virtual kitchen” kiosk in many of its stores, where guests can explore cabinet and countertop options through VR goggles. Neiman Marcus and Sephora are among many fashion retailers who are putting out mobile apps with virtual “try on” features for makeup and apparel to mix and match with what is already in her closet.

With more and more people opting to buy online, brick-and-mortar stores are focusing on shopper experience, banking on the notion that consumers will come into stores if they’re offered something more than traditional, self-guided shopping for products. And they are doubling down on their efforts to engage those customers online, too.  This is the epicenter of digital convergence for the retail industry—coordinating engagement efforts across customer channels and integrating all of that connectivity in ways that deliver an organic and seamless user experience.

Getting all of that tech to work doesn’t happen without a coherent digital strategy—one that starts with the right framework for innovation and is architected to deliver the right outcomes.  It’s one thing to put some digital technology in place. It’s a better thing to position that technology in ways that deliver measurable customer engagement, brand loyalty, and brand referral.

In the next blog in this series, we’ll explore what a “surprise and delight” strategy for customer experience can look like. Forrest Carr, Director of Business Innovation and Digital Experience for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, will share some insights on how enterprises can build cutting-edge engagement outcomes.

In the meantime, did you know that Verizon tracks ecommerce traffic volume across its broadband networks to the top 25 U.S.-based online retailers throughout the holiday shopping season? You can learn more about the critical insights we’ve gleaned from our 2017 Holiday Retail Index

Ravi Krishnamurthy is the Global Lead for Retail, Hospitality and Distribution in Vertical Marketing at Verizon Enterprise Solutions.