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Cross-channel Customer Experience for Retailers

Posted on Monday, April 23rd, 2012

In a recently published whitepaper by Retail Touchpoints and Empathica, entitled “Top 5 Trends in Retail for Improving Customer Service and Advocacy Management,” we identified five key retail trends that every savvy retailer should consider to help them pave the way to establishing emotional connections between shoppers and their brands.

Here is Trend #5: Cross-Channel Opportunities…

Retailers must promote synergy between the online and offline retail experiences, especially as shoppers research merchandise online or through mobile devices, then walk into stores ready to buy. Now is the time to ensure that all channels and customer touch points are connected, in order to maintain top-notch customer service. The fact is, shoppers want to manage one purchase decision across multiple channels.

“The top marketing-related strategic action identified by Best-in-Class retailers is to develop consistent branding across channels,” noted Aberdeen’s Cunnane. “This consistency eliminates the burden often put on consumers of deciphering mixed messages across channels.”

But, he continued, “Aligning the brand is only one part of the puzzle. Retailers also must ensure that merchandising, supply chain and operations are aligned as well.”

According to Aberdeen data, only 25% of retailers have fully integrated business processes and channel operations, “which means that retailers have a way to go in order to offer a true omni-channel environment,” Cunnane noted.

Retailers that support inadequate or varying experiences across each channel will potentially lose sight of the customer, find carts abandoned and eventually even lose loyal shoppers.

Alternatively, savvy retailers are adding all-encompassing key performance indicators (KPIs) or goals that measure the entire shopping experience. In many cases, though, retailers are adding these KPIs in a siloed way, on individual channels, which often results in losing sight of the big picture. By developing an all-encompassing picture, retailers are in a better position to uncover their weak links. By following the customer, not the channel activity, retailers can get company arms around cross-channel customer service.

Delivering a consistent customer experience across channels should be the ultimate goal of retailers. How can your retail brand ensure consistency in the multi-channel experience?  First and foremost, you need to understand the current customer journey of your customers. Customer journey mapping allows you to walk in your customers’ shoes and understand the waypoints they encounter leading up to a transaction. Once you have a deep understanding of your customers’ experiences, you can then determine which areas have the largest impact on perceptions of your brand and zero in on those key areas of improvement.

A CEM vendor can help you develop and understand your customer journey and where, during the customer experience, the real moments of truth happen for the customer that frames their opinion about your retail brand.

Retail TouchPoints and Empathica Whitepaper: Top 5 Trends in RetailTo read the full whitepaper and details on the other top four trends, download the Retail TouchPoints and Empathica whitepaper, “Top 5 Trends in Retail for Improving Customer Service and Advocacy Management.

Download whitepaper

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