Personalising the Customer Experience

Many of my customers say they hear lots of buzzwords in retail like omni-channel, Big Data, beacons, gamification, loyalty, rewards, mobile apps, customer relationship management, targeted marketing etc. They ask me how they can implement all these.  At this point I focus them less on the technology and more on where they can truly be competitive.

Competitiveness comes from Product, Price, Location and/or Service (which I call customer experience).  Given most retailers can’t always differentiate on product, price or location, I therefore, focus them on the experience they want to provide their customers as the big opportunity differentiator.   Once I get them thinking about this I tell them to forget about all the technology (which are really only tools and a means to the end) and focus on the experience they want to provide their customers.

If they are online, what’s the experience you want your customer to get out of shopping online?  When they come into your store, how do you want them to be treated, recognised etc.?  Do you want them to be able to order in one channel and then delivered through another?  Do you want to treat different customers differently and, therefore, recognise their differences when they come to your store or online?

Once we have these answers, then we look at the technology that supports that customer experience goal. Does a traditional POS support that experience or do you need to be more mobile/provide self-service?  You need to be prepared to tweak and make changes to your customer experience quickly as well as measure the satisfaction of the customer and if it is it making you more money.  To do this, real time information becomes critical to you.  Focus on the customer experience and measuring its success and then selecting the right technology, becomes easy.

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