The strength of online sales doesn’t mean that physical shops are obsolete. In fact, a 2017 US Census report found that 90% of all retail purchases in the US were made in brick-and-mortar locations. Furthermore, 43% of millennials prefer to research brands and products online before shopping in-store.
One thing is for certain, omnichannel experience with data-driven marketing makes for a more personalised customer journey, which makes a difference when dealing with customer loyalty and the bottom line.
26% of survey respondents say that customer experience — making the experience easy/fun/valuable is the primary way they will seek to stand out from the competition, ahead of customer service. .
The importance of improving data analysis capabilities to better understand customer experience is now a requirement for a complete customer journey.
More than two-thirds (69%) of respondents rank improving data analysis capabilities as a ‘very important’ internal factor, putting this ahead of a range of other requirements.
This is why some retailers are prioritising strategy for digital trends and recognising that digital technology can reinvigorate the in-store experience and help them to avoid competing on price which is almost invariably a race to the bottom.
56% of respondents describe omnichannel marketing as a top three priority and a quarter (25%) of all retailers surveyed say that this is their number one priority for the year.
The onus is on retailers to develop capabilities that help them to harness the vast amount of data they have at their disposal. Companies are realising the importance of data for improving business culture and employee performance. Those that utilise data are seeing first-hand results for achieving success with both employee and customer loyalty.
Looking ahead three years, the most exciting prospect through the lens of retailers is delivering personalised experiences in real time, cited by 37% of retail respondents compared to 36% for client-side respondents in other sectors.
Despite knowing the importance of compelling content for marketing, some retailers operating in a sector that has been forced to embrace digital transformation even more quickly than others. Compelling content may not be the most exciting opportunity but it’s the most necessary in order to stay competitive.
Respondents in the retail sector are only half as likely as their peers to see the creation of compelling content as part of the customer experience strategy (7% for retailers, compared to 14% for other sectors).
Bottom line: Personalisation is worth the investment. It is a potent weapon in the armoury for retailers seeking to reconnect with core practices that have been neglected in recent times. Harking back to the days when shopkeepers could address their customers by name and anticipate their needs, companies once again have the opportunity to treat customers as individuals and ensure that they feel personally appreciated.