Retailers have a lot on their plates in 2018: fending off the impending retail apocalypse (which isn’t what most people think it is), improving NPS, and prioritizing information amid cacophony of voice of customer (VOC) feedback. To us, these look like opportunities, not problems—and we have some ideas for making them most of them.
1. Use emerging mobile habits to convert in-store
Shoppers are tethered to their mobile phones, and we’ve seen co-browsing (using a phone in the store to compare, research, or possibly purchase) jump significantly year-over-year. Stores might view this as a threat—customers clicking “Add to Cart” instead of putting it in their cart!—but we see it differently. If the customer in your store can show you exactly what she’s looking at, use the opportunity to have a positive interaction.
Take Action: Train employees that it’s okay to ask customers to show them the item on their phone! If it’s an item you stock, walk them straight to the product, saving time and confusion. This also creates an opportunity to chat about product details and possibly recommend something that better suits their needs.
2. Work with internal teams to perfect BOPIS, BORIS, and BORO
Great omnichannel brands have already perfected the process around buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS), and understand the impact it has on revenue. Our research shows that 61% of customers place a high importance on BOPIS availability, and during the 2017 holiday shopping season, nearly 3 of 5 people relied on it (an increase of 25% over 2016!).
With the rising popularity of BOPIS, the next step might seem obvious. What happens if the shoes don’t fit? Those same customers will expect to buy online, return in store (BORIS). And it’s already big: 40% of shoppers won’t even make a purchase online if they can’t return it to a store. That’s a lot of missed business.
And then there are the digital diehards—customer who want to buy online, return online. Does your website offer free returns? If not, this might make you reconsider: More than 50% of shoppers won’t buy from a retailer that charges for return shipping.
Take Action: Work with marketing and web designers to make your brand’s BOPIS, BORIS, and BORO processes clear and easy. If you’re charging money for any of those services, start asking why. If the service can’t be free, advocate for clear, on-brand messaging explaining why, so customers don’t ditch.
BONUS: If you have a VOC program in place, start looking for pain points in your BOPIS/BORIS/BORO customer journeys—then fix them fast by tearing down departmental silos.
3. Learn from an in-store champ: create experiences
It’s not surprising that Apple won the in-store CX top spot in our latest ForeSee Experience Index (FXI) report. Because for Apple, it’s not about the sale. It’s about education and experience: 80% of people are going to an Apple store to learn, not shop. Since Apple delivers on that experience, those same people buy online from a brand they trust.
Apple also has a style we call the “retail mullet”: showroom in the front, inventory in the back. When customers aren’t left to crawl endless aisles, they’re free to interact with every product, stress-free, with no purchased required.
Take Action: Ask your customers why they’re in your store, then listen to what they say. Start acting on trends and feedback.
The big CX takeaway
Retail trends are revealing mobile’s big moment, and a major shift to omnichannel retail customer journeys. Your brand can create wins by starting these conversations now—and then taking real action. Make sure you’re acting on the right information by listening to your customers as part of your company’s VOC strategy.
There’s even more data and trends in our new report, the ForeSee Experience Index: Retail CX Insights. For a deeper look, watch our recorded webinar, Get It Right: Compete and Win on Customer Experience.
If you’re wondering how your brand’s data compares, be sure to schedule a (free!) FXI Briefing to get even more ideas on what you can do right now to improve your in-store, web, or mobile customer experience.