A seamless customer journey
You get to the store; the retail assistant has been expecting you and recognises you as you walk in. While this familiarity might take some getting used to, it ultimately saves time and hassle explaining who you are and why you are there, and personalised in store service is set to become a key expectation for consumers and a brand differentiator for retailers.
While in the shop, you see a shirt you like and want to try it on; customers that pick-up items in store often make additional purchases. The shirt has a QR code attached to the label, so you scan it and a retail assistant is prompted to deliver it to the fitting room for you, allowing you to carry on browsing.
You eventually try the shirt on, but it doesn’t fit, and you need a bigger size. The store doesn’t have your size, so the retail agent offers to deliver it to your parcel locker, a step above delivering it to your door as you aren’t required to be at home to collect the parcel. Later in the day you receive a text to let you know the delivery has been made. You walk to the locker; the shirt has arrived, and you now have a new outfit following a seamless customer journey from a brand you now trust. You will happily recommend this brand to your friends.
Thinking outside the box
This would be an ideal scenario, but all it takes is for one aspect to go wrong and your customer journey very quickly becomes a nightmare. This is where brands can really stand out; this is where they must think outside the box to mitigate against error and cater for the more nuanced scenarios.
For instance, if trying on clothes is more difficult for a customer, a brand with consideration of its whole audience would provide an augmented reality fitting room experience enabling much easier access for people that usually struggle with in store changing rooms. It would also mean that if you opted to get the jeans delivered rather than collect them in store you could try them on using AR on the website. We’ve already seen brands like Ray-Ban roll out very successful versions of this. Large companies like Toshiba, Samsung and Panasonic are investing heavily in this method and it’s on the cusp of becoming a standard part of the online shopping experience even though it’s not yet a conventional in store experience.
Brands must also ensure the human touchpoints present in a customer journey are effectively enhancing the process rather than making it worse. Brands can mitigate against the inevitable technical problems by ensuring the human contact consumers experience creates trust and reassures a customer. But if consumers have a negative interaction with a customer service assistant this will only add to their frustrations and could disrupt the whole customer journey.
It is now imperative that brands invest heavily in the technology they use to enhance the customer journey to enable them to offer a more robust digital experience across all touchpoints. The next omnichannel experience brands create will need to be a cut above the average customer experience; they need to be one step ahead of the consumer, thinking of solutions before the consumer has faced a problem. Rather than simply following the competition, they need to offer a completely bespoke offering to meet the needs of their specific customers. With so many retailers flailing, customer loyalty is currency, so it’s never been more important for brands treat their consumers as individuals and create their ultimate omnichannel shopping experience.