The omnichannel experience is a must for today’s pampered consumer. With multiple device touchpoints and physical locations for many retailers, consumers shift between channels for convenience. No matter the channel, customers expect a smooth, personalized experience that includes product offerings, discounts, and subscriptions.
According to Sean Rusinko, Global Director, Industry Business Leader – Retail & Hospitality at Sitecore, for brands to meet these expectations and deliver the experience consumers want, they must meet these five customer demands. Rusinko explored this idea in a recent article.
1. Make it Easy
“Frictionless journey navigation, easy access to products and information, and lighting fast speed make for happy consumers who are more likely to purchase,” said Rusinko. According to a report from PwC, price is the most important factor when consumers are shopping offline. However, when shopping online convenience is the most important.
2. Assist Customers
“As well as having the flexibility to collect their purchases from a store of their convenience (or have it delivered), consumers also expect to be assisted throughout the entire purchase journey,” he said. “Many brands are meeting this expectation with personalized experiences, which includes individual product offerings, using data collected about each customer to tailor the messaging, offers, and experiences each receives.”
More than 70 percent of people are brand-loyal shoppers and less than a third are willing to try new offerings, according to PwC. “However, it is no longer enough to offer a one-size-fits-all offering, such as the generic discounts or specific free products offered by brands in the past,” said Rusinko. “Today, a personalized loyalty program, where different promotions are offered based on individual customer data and preferences, is needed to meet customer expectations.”
Companies are beginning to experiment with virtual and augmented reality which is welcomed by customers. “VR can also enhance the experience of using retail mobile applications. Fashion brand H&M is using its Image Search tool within the H&M app to allow consumers to upload an image of a similar product into the app,” he explained. “The app then presents several similarly looking, instantly purchasable items from the H&M catalog – moving the consumer closer from the moment of inspiration to a purchase.”
5. Convince the Customer
Many customers now dive into research before they commit to a purchase, no longer taking a brands advertising as fact. According to research from Stackla, 79 percent of consumers say user-generated content such as product reviews are highly influential.
“Today, customers are more demanding than ever, expecting an experience that goes above and beyond just the available products. In order to offer quality experiences, build brand loyalty, and remain competitive, brands must consider these five main demands and put tools in place to meet them, from the use of effective personalization to quick, reliable delivery services, through to providing loyalty programs and investing in VR and AR technologies,” said Rusinko.