06 Oct Is the future of retail all about customer experience?
There is a common challenge facing all modern retailers. How do we deliver a seamless in-store and online customer experience? Modern consumers expect a new level of service when shopping today. So retailers need to think of more creative and unique experiences to meet these needs, both in-store and online. Customer experience should build memories and increase loyalty. But is this placing too much pressure on the people working in an already stretched industry?
One of the most important links between the real and online customer experience is the IT team, and the integration of systems that creates a seamless front-end. Younger buyers are pushing for even higher standards of customer experience, whereas older generations may still want to buy in-store, or speak to a representative over the phone. This means IT teams in retailers across the country are having to satisfy different needs. Digitally confident consumers see in-store purchase as inseparable from online, whereas other buyers still prefer traditional ways to buy.
This poses an important challenge, which the UK Retail sector is already beginning to respond to effectively. A 21st century customer journey requires responsive partnerships from retail, to understand and provide quick response to changing customer behaviours. One of the best ways to deliver this, is by using valuable business insights based on data.
Retail also faces the challenge of keeping both legacy and aging systems operational, whilst moving to a new more agile way of working. This reflects the changing demographic challenge, in meeting the demands of both more traditional, and more unconventional shoppers, at once.
How to create a meaningful customer experience
If the challenges are clear, then what should UK retailers be doing to create a meaningful and memorable in-store and online experience? Trends point to shops becoming less of a stockist, and more of a flagship for your brand. The days of having large volumes of stock in-store are gone, and investment should now be made into transforming stores into something more inspiring, that can drive online and offline purchase. It also falls to the IT team to ensure that a consistent omni-channel presence is maintained, so that customers have a consistent feel. This is what distinguishes the best retailers from their competition, but also builds the best customer experience.
Hire young talent
The best retailers are hiring from different generations internally, and focusing on bringing in new talent. Young staff bring with them a different set of expectations around communication. The challenge for retail is giving these less experienced staff the relevant devices, technology and processes they need to do their job well. Some of the most successful UK retailers, representing global brands, are focusing on how they attract, retain and grow talent, as a way of addressing future fluctuations in the market.
How Ricoh can help
It’s obvious that now is a challenging time to be in retail. Luckily Ricoh are ready to enable large, multi-location retailers to deliver exceptional customer experience by focusing on making their people more productive and engaged. Our team are ready to combine IT service and support with relevant customer insights, helping you to connect all your systems and touchpoints with the customer. We can help you build a complete view, to tailor an experience that best fits your customer.
Retail today is connecting the systems, to create a customer experience that’s unforgettable. Find out more by downloading our Retail Managed Services guide here.