The popularity of online retail avenues has drastically changed the way customers look at retail customer service and how companies need to go about delivering an experience that is in line with customers’ expectations. It is important for retailers to take into consideration a holistic perspective when designing a strategy for delivering optimal customer experience. Businesses can no longer ignore the social environment, which constitutes of technologies, brand development and a focus on customer support. Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Survey found that 62% of global consumers switched service providers due to poor experiences. This indicates the importance of streamlining the overall experience and here are some tips that will help:
Retailers often have limited shelf space and thousands of different products to display, which presents a challenge to accommodate an abundance of new products every day. Retailers are required to make shelving decisions including which products to stock and designate space. Shelf space allocation is one of the central decisions retailers have to make since it directly impacts sales, profitability and overall shopping experience. Over the last decade, a lot of research has been carried out in shelving techniques and stock management. Retailers’ lives could be made a lot easier if they deployed shelf management models to help with these decisions. These models are designed to enhance the effectiveness of retail stores, as it takes into account demand, as well as supply side of various products. These models offer a solution within the predefined parameters, and spell out allocation rules and arrangement based on price elasticity and shelf-space elasticity.
Communication takes center stage when it comes to delivering great service. Poor communication infrastructure and protocols ruin the experience from the very beginning, regardless of how unique or useful the company’s products and service might be.
Businesses must develop communication channels that are fully integrated and consistent with each other. In addition to refining conventional communication channels, companies must work to smoothly integrate all new touch points to ensure convenience for customers. For example, many retail businesses have taken on various social media platforms to proactively interact with customers to address their grievances and answer questions.
Although, the presence of online retail stores has changed the way people shop, brick and mortar stores still hold a strong presence in retail shopping. It essentially comes down to an important lesson for retailers: Customers crave access to retail service through a multichannel approach. Therefore, retailers must offer customers with the choice to shop in different ways. In addition to physical stores, they should enable customers to shop online via different channels. One of the most important aspects of ensuring a streamlined experience includes integration of all purchase channels, offering hassle-free shopping for customers.
In order to offer better customer experience, retailers need to meticulously study, analyze and improve every aspect of retail experience. The first step involves identifying all factors impacting promotion, price, merchandise, supply chain and location by collecting information through internal and external resources. Supply chain experts could be hired to study and measure the effectiveness of various delivery channels, price elasticity could be studied in order to determine the impact of price changes and location could be analyzed in conjunction with demand for products. After a thorough analysis has been carried out, retailers should work to eliminate the pain points, and replace procedures that become a hindrance to a smooth and comfortable shopping experience. For example, if customers have to wait in long queues at the checkout counter, more self-check-out facilities could be added so that technology savvy customers can process their own items and pay through debit or credit card without having to wait. At the same time, retail procedures that create value for customers like, personal advice and access to sales staff should be refined to ensure that these resources are utilized in a productive manner.
In an attempt to enhance customer service experience, many retailers find ingenious ways to reward and value customers. Loyalty programs are pretty common, which allow customers to become part of an exclusive club that enjoys discounts, priority access to products and services and gift vouchers. Customers can be issued loyalty cards based on frequent purchases or through charge of a small ceremonial fee to add exclusivity. In addition to special offers, loyal customers can be invited to store events and given discounts on the launch of new products.
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