Nearly all retail consumers are now omnichannel shoppers. While this shift was happening pre-pandemic, COVID-19 accelerated digital shopping by five years, per IBM's U.S. Retail Index.
Needless to say, e-commerce is now a critical part of the sales ecosystem for any retailer that’s thriving. Those getting e-commerce right are prioritizing customer service, investing in customer experience (CX), and consistently optimizing data management.
In a whitepaper released last year, Harvard Business Review reported 82% of retailers cite improved customer service as their number one business priority for 2022 — even more than increased revenue. The majority (71%) of survey respondents also said that they intend to invest in mobile transactions over the next two years, reinforcing the third business priority the survey identified: investing in improved data management.
The research underscores the importance of e-commerce for the industry, specifically, customer experience for every retailer regardless of the category. In order to ensure their retail businesses are maximizing omnichannel efforts, industry leaders should run through the following checklist with their web and executive teams.
Is Your Website Working for All Consumer Segments?
While Gen Z, millennials, and digitally savvy consumers increased their online activity in response to the pandemic and lockdown restrictions, consumers 65-plus adapted and converted at much higher rates. So much so that they became the fastest-growing consumer segment in e-commerce.
Retailers need to be cognizant of the digital literacy range among their consumers and consistently optimize their UX in order to increase accessibility, simplify navigation, and anticipate shopper needs. Personalization is now expected from all consumers, so retailers must find the balance between customization and universal functionality to best meet their customers’ needs.
What Can You A/B Test?
A digital experience platform (DXP) is crucial for optimizing user experience (UX) and CX. By unifying content creation — bringing sales data, CRM functionality, marketing campaigns, and all customer communication touchpoints under one DXP — retailers can identify A/B testing opportunities across all channels. Customer engagement tactics such as referral bonuses, discount codes, and loyalty rewards programs can be assessed in near real-time. Your customers’ engagement will teach you how to optimize the overall CX.
Are You Using Data to Predict Demand?
For retailers with brick-and-mortar locations and e-commerce revenue streams, using data to analyze your sales channels is necessary to predict physical inventory and keep shelves stocked. In-store customer experience is heavily dependent on products being in-stock and customers can have a poor experience if they aren’t able to locate and purchase an item on site.
While e-commerce is a necessity for retailers of all sizes, in-person interactions and product trials are especially important for categories like beauty, automotive, clothing, and cosmetics. Creating an omnichannel ecosystem that is centered around the CX will promote seamlessness across sales channels and generate new tactics for customer engagement.
Ultimately, your customers will deliver the best feedback. Create touchpoints to engage with them about their CX in order to further customize your DXP and software solutions. In an overcrowded SaaS marketplace, it’s understandable that many retail leaders are fatigued with the amount of tools and vendors promising premier CX. Running through this checklist can help identify areas within your enterprise that facilitate positive ones and deliver a greater return on investment.
— Jason Rosenbaum, COO, Crowd Favorite.