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The Changing Rules Of Customer Engagement

 

The Changing Rules Of Customer Engagement

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Rapidly evolving customer behavior makes new age IT solutions an imperative for driving a comprehensive digital transformation strategy for businesses.

What are the trends impacting retail business currently?

Mobile:

is a constant companion for shoppers before, during and after shopping expeditions thus, making it a key element of the new paths to purchase. Customer expects 24/7 engagement because shoppers are shopping on mobile anytime, anywhere! Mobile has penetrated hitherto unreachable markets due to rapidly dropping price of devices that provide increasingly powerful features and better mobile experiences.

Social:

has created new shopping models like we-commerce and social commerce that has created new competitors who disrupt existing retail space. Social is known to build or break a brand because of the disproportionate impact it creates surrounding a feedback – be it positive or negative. Over the years social networks have matured significantly and social media users are aware of the power this channel provides to endorse a brand or redress their grievances without having to go through the hassle of engaging with a brand’s customer care.

Data & Privacy:

For the right benefits, the digital generation of users are willing to trade some level of privacy i.e. they do not mind sharing personal and location information, if that fetches better deals on their favorite products and services. The amount of data users are willing to share now, is much greater than what was available earlier to businesses to devise accurate and relevant marketing promotions. Thus, data can drive the next age of real-time and in-context retail businesses that deliver faster conversions, increased revenues and efficient supply chain/store operations for the retailers.

Are current means of Customer Engagement adequate to meet these new challenges?

Traditional retail businesses have each part of their business engaging with the customer in separate silos. This makes the current customer engagement fragmented and inconsistent across functions. Each channel of customer engagement i.e. web, mobile, store and customer care tends to deliver a different experience to the customer which triggers dissonance in their perception of the brand. The context of past customer engagements are not carried forward from one function to another function of business in a consistent way, nor in real time. Though most retailers have enabled cross-channel context passing, the employees are not able to use it effectively for delivering consistent customer engagement. With the digital generation expecting greater relevance and ability to shop anytime-anywhere, the traditional customer engagement tools and techniques break down. Newer tools and solutions are required to transform the existing retail business to deliver an omni- channel and relevant customer engagement anytime-anywhere.

34% OF WORLD POPULATION WILL OWN MOBILE BY 2017; 86% OF SHOPPERS TAKE ACTION ON MOBILE-BASED PROMOTIONS WITHIN 5 HOURS!

CURRENT CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT BY RETAILERS IS FRAGMENTED AND INCONSISTENT ACROSS CHANNELS SUCH AS WEB, MOBILE, STORE, CUSTOMER CARE.

What are the new rules of Customer Engagement?

The new rules of customer engagement are driven by the trends in technology and consumer behavior:

  1. Understand and walk with the shopper's new paths to purchase spanning web, mobile, store, social
  2. Engage in a relevant manner with customers by deriving insights from the data they have shared
  3. Deliver differentiated deals and services to the high value customers using new dimensions for categorization such as digital presence & influence among target market for brands/retailer
  4. Treat employees and business partners as you would engage with customers

How can retailers transform their business for embracing the digital future?

The digital transformation for a traditional retailer is primarily focused on four key elements:

  1. Ensure consistent omni-channel experience for consumers
  2. Deliver better in-store experiences that enable digital shoppers (e.g. WiFi connectivity)
  3. Relevant engagement (both in-store and online) driven by data of user's context
  4. Agile backend operations that meet anytime-anywhere expectations of customer

While every business aspired for complete digital transformation, it really starts with simply charting a clear roadmap that is aligned with the business goals and the nature of their retail business. The process of digital transformation for a retailer involves the following exercises that can be performed by consultants:

  1. Assessing the existing gaps in the customer engagement processes and end-user experience
  2. Identifying the use cases and business processes that need to be transformed
  3. Structured analysis for prioritizing the use cases that need to be transformed
  4. Identifying the technologies and skills required for bridging the gap between As-Is and To-Be state
  5. Evaluating the market offerings in the solution space
  6. Assessing the impact on existing IT, people and organizations processes - for change management
  7. Evolving a programmatic approach to execution of the digital transformation initiative
  8. Putting together the right team internally with clearly identified owners for the initiative
  9. Picking the right vendor for executing the program

From an implementation point of view, several critical solution components will be required for transforming the way retailers engage with their new age customers across multiple channels anytime anywhere:

Enterprise Mobile Platforms:

For app development, integration, deployment & device management

Omni-channel Commerce Solution:

Products or open source solutions that can drive a consistent customer engagement across multiple channels; with a clear context passing across the channels

Digital/Mobile POS and Self-Check-out Kiosks:

Queue busting is a key in-store experience enhancer for most shoppers and mobile POS, self-check-out kiosks can go a long way in making this happen

Analytics:

Data from sensors, mobile, CRM, ERP, SCM, social, etc. need to be sliced & diced for generating valuable insights that power customer engagement and efficient business operations

User Experience Design:

Designing better shopper experiences across channels such as mobile, web, customer care center and in-store to ensure customers are delighted with every touch-point