Shoppers are migratory creatures. They consume content, comparison shop, make purchase decisions and share their opinions where and when it best serves them: on websites, in stores, at call centers, with mobile devices and through social media. Our collective challenge in the retail industry is to figure out how to paint a complete picture of this customer journey in a way that is at once measurable and actionable—and ultimately profitable.
Retailers now have the choice to hibernate or evolve. They can hibernate by ignoring customer journeys and preferences and entering a state of inactivity that will lead to shrinking revenues and market share. Or they can evolve in a customer-centric way, entering into a meaningful dialogue and set themselves up for immediate and long-term success.
Customer journeys are easy to define but hard to measure. Retailers know that consumers are moving from channel to channel, even if they don’t always know how to provide a unified customer experience. Customer journeys are usually not ending in mobile even when they start there. For example, 50% of mobile visitors who eventually make a purchase after a mobile retail experience do so from that retailer’s website, and they are more satisfied than those who purchase from mobile.
Mobile is often a preparatory experience for an eventual web purchase. Consumers are able to research, access product details and even estimate cost in mobile, but they do not purchase. Why? Security and privacy concerns are less prevalent but still present. The root cause is simple: it’s still easier to transact commerce on web vs. mobile. To this point, one survey respondent commented, “all mobile apps are somewhat difficult to navigate and there is not enough product information. Also, due to the size of the screen, the pictures are too small.”
The evolved e-commerce consumer demands a true omnichannel experience. In 2016, retailers must focus on channel integration and delivering on its promise with true retail innovation. Buy-online-pickup-in-store, in-store high-speed wifi and in-store kiosk assistance connected to mobile phones will all be the norm at the major retailers. Like an unsuccessful multitasker, many retailers have sacrificed the whole experience while improving parts of it. We need to start seeing retail-driven technologies to help consumers shop-in-store-and-buy-on-web (or mobile). Only then will retailers concede that consumers are in control. We’re close.
It will start when retailers achieve business outcomes by continuously connecting with customers within channels and at the omnichannel level to measure the total customer experience. It will start when retailers start using a common metric across channels, continuously optimizing in-channel (web, mobile, contact centers, stores, social)– and understanding cross-channel dynamics. It will start when retailers hone in on specific relationships across loyalty programs and employee experience. It will start when retailers have the flexibility to expand measurements as new business opportunities emerge.
By continually measuring VOC across the entire omnichannel customer experience, companies can gauge if they are outperforming themselves over time and how they compare to competitors and entire industries. Download the FXI to learn more.