In today’s highly competitive business climate, being able to attract, serve and satisfy more customers is a key to success and increasing revenue. A happy customer is more likely to be a loyal one, a customer coming back to your store.
Retaining customers and keeping them loyal to your brand is a challenge though. It is old news that as many as 89% of the retail customers will simply leave after just one single bad experience (1). It shows that the experience delivered has to be not only great; it needs also to be consistent during time. We also know that 86% are willing to pay more to get a better experience which suggests that investing in customer experience is a major differentiator in the market today. (2)
Now, a recent retail research report from Qmatic, has revealed that, of the 54% of the retail decision-makers who confirmed that they have successfully implemented consumer behavior technology in their stores, 70% of them have experienced, or expect to experience an increase in their sales opportunities. In an age when shoppers are more demanding and promiscuous than ever, more and more retailers committed to increasing their brand loyalty are switching onto technology to track and analyse consumer in-store behaviors. They are also investing in technologies such as Customer Journey Management solutions, self-service kiosks, digital media and context awareness technologies such as iBeacons.
On the flip side of that, however, the Qmatic report also exposed that 25% of retailers who have invested in behavioral tracking technologies are actually unable to extract value from their data collection and are not able to generate the intelligence that they need to achieve these anticipated gains.
Personally I find this development very interesting. Smart retailers are starting to stand up against digital companies such as Amazon. And they should. Amazon does not drive physical book stores out of business because of lower prices or better inventory. It’s Amazons fanatic focus on customer service and incredibly clever design of their sites that underpins their success. Think about it – Amazon has probably even outperformed and killed more digital competitors than physical stores.
But what is it that makes the Amazon customer experience so good? It’s that you, as a customer, is recognized and appreciated. You are greeted by name. You are offered a number of interesting books or other things, partly based on the items newsworthiness, but also based on what other stuff you have bought – or glanced at. When you come to check out, all you have to do is breeze through – Amazon knows your credit card, where to ship your stuff, your preferred method of shipping and many other things.
Meanwhile, in the physical store (before many of the new technologies): no one takes notice when you arrive. No one knows who you are. No one knows how long you have waited for service. No one knows what kind of product you are interested in. Does anybody even care?
Retailers who haven’t yet mastered the ability to properly analyse the valuable data that they are collecting are missing a significant trick. In-depth knowledge of how customers move through the store, their shopping preferences and in-store behaviors make it possible to implement new store layout changes, improve stock localization, initiate mobile interaction and improve customer touch point insufficiencies. All of these things generate more purchases, make for more satisfied customers and will see a greater number of those happy customers returning.
Amazon is today the most successful E-retailer in the world and they have been at it for 20 years this year. They have put a lot of pressure on a lot of businesses in the physical world, but the pleasure of shopping “in real life” still keeps 80% of the retail sector analog. In fact Amazon is now also complementing their business model with physical presence.
Now when exciting new technology opens up the Face2Face world to closer relationship and communication between a customer and a physical store – Pure E-retailers better watch out.
 2013, Oracle CX  2010, Customer Experience Survey – Strativity Group Image Courtesy of Amazon.com