Bringing the Golden Rule of Retail into an Omnichannel World

Every person who’s ever worked in retail – from the cash register to the corporate office – knows the golden rule: The customer is always right. It’s an adage that has stood the test of time. It still stands today, even as other industry rules are changing.

Retail has evolved and a new normal is upon the industry. Advances in technology and a focus on omnichannel are forcing brands to rethink their customer experience strategies. Here’s what brands have to do in order to stay relevant in retail and bring the golden rule into an omnichannel world.

Know what data is important

Consumers are harder to please than ever before. They are also harder to predict. While brands are collecting more and more consumer data, they’re not sure what data is important and what is useless, stunting the potential of their efforts. It’s an age-old struggle that John Wanamaker identified in the early 1900s, saying “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

Only customers can say for sure what they want from a brand. Retailers need to source real feedback from real customers to understand what their audience really wants.

Then the hard work begins as retailers need to deliver on this feedback to improve the customer experience.

Update to true personalization

79% of consumers say brands have to actually demonstrate they understand and care about them before consumers consider purchasing. One way retailers can prove they care about and understand their customers is through personalization.

Shoppers say they would increase their in-store spending by around 4.7% if a retailer provided a more personalized experience. That 4.7% amounts to an extra $150 billion in retail revenue.

86% of consumers say personalization has at least some impact on their purchasing decisions. But what does personalization mean in this changing retail landscape?

Personalization isn’t just about product recommendations anymore. Every customer is unique, so every customer journey is unique. Knowing this, retailers need to adjust their strategies to meet consumers on their terms and personalize experiences to match customers’ preferences.

Prioritize quality

Ecommerce professionals say they lose 12.5 hours a week dealing with digital performance issues. That adds up to 652 lost hours of work per worker per year. These hundreds of hours are spent addressing quality issues that affect the customer experience and revenue streams.

It’s simple: if digital quality is lacking, customers won’t waste their time or their money.

It’s no longer enough for brands to test digital experiences in the comfort of a QA lab. That is part of the overall solution, but not the end-all, be-all fix. Automation should be part of the solution too. But again, it is no silver bullet. Retailers need to consider a combination approach, using automation, traditional QA, and crowdtesting to ensure that all consumer touchpoints are fully tested and are ready for the eyes of the public.

The Retail Apocalypse isn’t going away anytime soon. Retailers will certainly be put to the test as the new normal picks up steam and customer experience becomes the most important battleground on which each brand competes. As the Retail Apocalypse continues to wreak havoc on retailers, the brands that survive will be those that put their customers at the center of everything they do and embrace quality omnichannel strategies.


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Dan Haggerty
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