Expectations of the Connected Consumer
Connected experiences have become unavoidable for a very simple reason: consumers are already and continuously connected to the online world. A world that they customise to their interests and needs. Not jumping on the bandwagon will leave you behind.
Delivering the new standard of customer experience can be as complex as it is simple. It's simple if you're 100% focused on your customer needs. After all, if you know them, you know how to delight them. The complexity comes when you have to face the reality of your operational constraints. You're forced to question what you have considered the norm until now.
For years, you might have perceived your retail store solely in terms of products, merchandising, inventory and POS systems, so how is all of this compatible with a seamless experience for your customers? The new reality is that traditional retail metrics are falling apart; for example, revenue per square foot does not provide the same clarity of your performance if you change the “raisond’être” of your retail space. Revenue per square foot isn't going to give you a true indicator of your customer's experience satisfaction anymore. A frustrating experience will probably negatively impact your revenue per square foot, but it's unlikely to give you any pointers on how to improve the experience.
Let’s imagine for a second that your online store is part of a customer’s curated list of favorites and they already buy from your site. One day, this same customer walks into your retail store. Your employees don’t know them. The customer cannot find the products saved on their wish list or how to learn more about products displayed in your store without waiting for an available associate. The experience is broken, so is the relationship built with this customer online.
Now, envision a connected experience where this same customer sent a notification to the sales associate asking to prepare products from their wish list, ready to check out or to try on. Picture your sales associate ready to welcome this customer with complementary products or simply a substitute for a product that has more features for a similar price. Post-trip, the customer receives a thank you email. This email includes an easy way to return the product, an option to review their experience and an incentive to come back to your store. Connected experiences build engagement and customer lifetime value.
A connected experience will allow you to think about your customer journey, from acquisition to loyalty. It will measure the contributions of each touchpoint to offer a seamless experience driving engagement. Your customers may love your brand, but if offered a similar product with a better overall experience, you risk losing them altogether.