Why Retailers Need a 360-degree Customer View to Win in the Omnichannel Age
When you ring up a sale with a brand new customer, whether online or in a store, is that the end of the relationship? Or is it just the beginning? In her best-selling book “The Membership Economy,” Robbie Kellman Baxter makes a clear case for the latter. The economics are profound, as it costs 7x more to acquire a new customer than to earn a repeat visit.
Brand loyalty is the key to growth for almost all retail categories. Whether your business relies heavily on repeat visits (e.g. sports apparel stores) or on low frequency purchases (e.g. a wedding reception decorations retailer), brand loyalty matters. You’d love for that soccer aficionado to shop every season. And you’d love for a recent bride to recommend your store, whether online or brick & mortar, to her friends when the time comes.
You build loyalty through great shopping experiences and customer touch points. One hundred years ago, those experiences began in stores, through interactions with store associates. And they continued with ongoing personal relationships. People’s lives centered on relatively small geographic areas, and retailers learned about their customers in person. Today, we are a mobile society. Store associates aren’t lifetime employees, and loyal shoppers visit multiple locations of their favorite retailers, including online.
The proliferation of customer touch points during the past 20 years has been immense. Meanwhile, your ability to truly know your customers, and how they interact with you, has become near impossible. Consider a shopper who just walked into one of your stores. Imagine if store associates knew the answers to all of these questions:
- Did she do any research before walking in? What products was she browsing?
- Has he shopped here previously? What did he buy and what brands does he like most?
- How happy was she with her last purchase here? Has she returned anything?
- Has he purchased from us online? Was it from our site? Or from a marketplace?
- Does she talk about our category, or about us, on social media?
- Have we interacted with him after the sale? Live chat? Contact Center? Chat bots?
Your customer is capable of remembering all of it. And increasingly, as shoppers, they expect you to remember too — to know them across all the touch points they’ve experienced with you. And while technology is the driver behind channel proliferation, technology has not kept up with your need to know about all of those new types of interactions as your customers move from your site, to your store, to the telephone contact center. And back to the store again.
In this whitepaper, we will explore the challenges that retailers face in delivering omnichannel customer satisfaction as well as the solutions.