The Future of the Customer Experience
In a world where many brands have gone online, and shopping is now something we do from Instagram and Facebook as we doom scroll during Friends re-runs, the customer experience is changing. The future of the customer experience looks like automated experiences, specialist in-store approaches and the cultivation of brand fanatics in our digital spaces.
Why is the customer experience so important?
The customer experience continues to be a defining factor for revenue building. Research by American Express found that 86% of customers will pay more for a better customer experience.
The pandemic gave rise to a larger number of people shopping online not just for clothing, technology and homewares but also for groceries. Now that we are returning to physical stores, we can’t deny that shift has made it more challenging to create exceptional customer experiences.
If someone makes the effort to go into the actual store their expectations for customer service and the customer experience are higher. They expect well-trained brand experts who will take the time to create an enjoyable and fruitful in-store customer experience.
We’re seeing a trend in retail towards experience shopping, curated spaces that have a ‘vibe,’ social media worthy murals, scent diffusers, complimentary refreshments, and personalised shopping experiences.
CRM and Customer Experience Automation
In marketing knowing your customer, their wants, needs, personal preferences and budgets are the key to selling to them. Understanding our customers in the online space has become much easier with Customer Experience Automation software and Customer Relationship Management systems. These advanced AI systems can handle everything from sorting a customer’s data to filtering their shopping experience to drive personalised sales.
These systems have a variety of applications that can enhance the customer experience including automated responses and personalised shopping experiences. But this comprehensive approach to customers’ data means that whenever and wherever they shop, be it online or in-store, we have a better idea of their preferences, their individual shopping habits and their style.
Building digital relationships
Our customer’s experience no longer ends once they receive their purchase. It’s continued in their online interactions. A brand needs to cultivate their online following and create a safe space where their customers can engage and be a part of the community of the brand. Chatting with others who enjoy that brand’s products, finding hacks and tips for using the brand’s wares and providing feedback on new lines as they emerge are all wonderful ways for the customer to engage with the brand online.
Brands can encourage customers to become a part of the online communities by calling for feedback, opinions, user generated content and suggestions.
With online data breaches becoming more prevalent, cyber security and data security are big factors for the future of retail. In retail, data is cultivated to create a more personalised shopping experience making it easier for the customer to find what they like. But customers want to know and trust that you’ll keep their information safe.
The ability to give customers a virtual try-on experience is going to be huge in the coming years. The one thing that is missing from our online shopping experience is the ability to try before we buy.
With augmented reality software, customers can do just that. Uploading a picture of themselves, or even turning on their camera and applying products or pieces of clothing like filters. These augmented reality filters can be applied to homes where you might want to see how a paint colour looks on the walls or how a couch fits in the room. You could even test out your next haircut or colour!
Customer Journey Mapping
Customer journey mapping is the process of mapping out the customer’s journey from lead to sale and beyond. More organisations are using advanced CRM systems that can track a customer’s behaviour across all your online spaces from your website to social media and more.
This intense attention to the customers journey with the business helps a company to better understand their process and path to conversion.
The customer experience is changing across the board for retail organisations.
With many companies and customers making the leap to online shopping, the customer’s experience and journey with the brand needs to evolve to accommodate the shift.
Personalised shopping experiences, artificial intelligence in our CRMs and augmented reality software helps to provide a new version of our in-store experiences that we can access from the comfort of our couch.
If you are just starting out in the retail sector and want to get some initial customer experience information, explore our Certificate III in Retail course.