Customer centricity: Now a reality
Customer behavior has changed over the past two years. For 80% of retailers surveyed, more than half of their customers have changed their buying behavior in a sustainable way. The concept of “client centricity”, which has not been tangible in practice for a long time (strategies based mainly on business and financial objectives), has taken on a new dimension. From now on, customer satisfaction is the strategic common denominator; Commercial and financial performance appears as a result of customer satisfaction.
On the platform of customer satisfaction criteria, “fluidity” (seamless journeys) and “image consistency” (brand/brand-compatible journeys) are in a good place, but the first step comes to “selection”: selection in assortment, selection of sales channel, selection Verdict, choose a payment method …
Unified trade: an unreached goal
Offering choice in all its dimensions is one of the promises of uniform trade. The vast majority of retailers invest heavily in this topic, however, offering a common acceptance: Consolidated trade remains a medium to long-term goal, as there are still serious obstacles ahead.
Among the obstacles mentioned: organizations that are still too fragmented between “brick and mortar” and “digital”, divergent formations between channels, difficulties in developing employees towards a new relationship with customers, ever-changing regulations, first obstacle diversion, this information system is too rigid and closed very.
Indeed, IT projects are an important part of the current investments. In particular, the following were mentioned: the new payment and collection systems, “RCU” (Unique Customer Warehouse), “PIM” (Product Warehouse), “OMS” (multi-channel coordination of customer orders and product provision) and “APIsation” (the evolution of systems to simplify and simplify the exchange of information internally and externally) …
Customer Experience: Drawing inspiration from the strengths of each channel
The time when we thought e-commerce would replace stores is over. It is now well established that these channels are not competitors, but complement each other, and even better, they achieve mutual value. Based on this observation, all brands have developed their own multi-channel strategy, which is a key lever for unified commerce.
The first challenge of the omnichannel strategy is to ensure a smooth and seamless journey. Meaning, allowing the customer to change the channel at every stage of the buying journey, easily and without wasting time. This issue has been incorporated into branding strategies for several years, and is still the subject of major developments in the field of information technology.
The second challenge is to improve the omnichannel experience by bringing the best of the web to the store, and vice versa. Although they vary depending on brands, differences in services (or level of services) between channels exist: for example, a return of a product in a store may be refused if the product was purchased on a website; Or even e-commerce offers payment methods that are not found in stores.
However, even if we realize the integration of channels, each individual channel must provide an enhanced experience so as not to limit or reduce the customer’s experience.
The improvement of the experience on the digital channel (web/app), already backed by the vital need to resist the onslaught of pure players, has been accelerated by the crisis to bridge the gaps of a purely virtual journey, and continues to fit the advantages of the store experience: online demos, sales chat, virtual and augmented reality, availability Express, custom searches, etc.
With respect to the physical channel (store), the inertia is naturally stronger. The search for ROI and the complexity of managing change present the clearest obstacles. However, retailers are realizing the role and importance of the store as a de facto point of contact in the omnichannel journey, and are reinvesting in the store’s appeal. From reframing the existing to creating new concepts, projects thrive to incorporate omnichannel requirements, while drawing inspiration from the strengths of e-commerce to enrich the experience: enabling the customer journey (“san & go”), simplified payment (example: one click), information Rich in the product, find an item in the store (localize in the store), reduce (or even disappear) checkout spaces, etc.
And what after 10 years?
For some retailers, consolidated commerce will already be an outcome. For others, the vision is a super-smooth journey, with the act of buying gone. But they all share the same conviction: it will be essential to have ten times the ability to listen to customers and anticipate their expectations, and the perfect agility to respond to them without delay.