I love shopping. I love traveling. I hate going to the hospital. I sometimes like going to the bank (only if it involves the depositing a large check). On the surface, it may seem that there’s no common thread about each of these experiences, however, there actually is a lot in common!
Each of these industries (retail, transportation, healthcare, banking) is becoming more passionate about truly delivering good customer experience and building customer loyalty. Why? Research has established that satisfied customers spend more money “now” and, in the longer term, become more loyal. For example, according to a J.D. Power survey, a delighted traveler is likely to spend 45% more money at the airport than someone who is disappointed with their experience.
Okay, sold! Let’s start delivering “good” experience and start counting the money…right? Not exactly. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.
First of all, what exactly is “good” experience? The answers will vary greatly depending on the industry vertical and brands within a vertical. Hence, one of the major challenges is actually defining “good” experience.
While there are certainly unique attributes to “good” experience in different industries, there is a common theme emerging: the synchronization of physical and digital experience. For example, research by Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group, revealed 93% of products sold in the United States are still bought in brick-and-mortar locations. In addition, over 50% of all consumers access (or would like to access) to digital content while shopping in a store, either through digital touch-screens or their own smartphones/tablets. This research reveals that more and more consumers are relying on real-time digital content to make purchasing decisions. In essence, consumers are becoming “informed buyers” during the shopping experience.
Unfortunately, with respect to customer experience, in many companies today the physical and digital worlds still sit across a great divide. Often, these two functions are housed in different organizations and are loosely coupled with respect to operations and culture. While we’ve made significant progress, digital experience is often an after-thought that peacefully co-exists with physical experience.
But, that’s not going to work any more. Consumers are expecting more, and they vote with their wallets. So, start truly synchronizing your digital and physical experiences…or else!
There are indeed a number of challenges in making smart stores, what do you think is most difficult in actually accomplishing this?
Shoes? Check. Computer gear? Check. Clothes? Flatware? Hot tubs with built-in TVs? Check, check, and check. There’s almost nothing these days that we don’t buy online. But there is one area where the local brick-and-mortar store still reigns supreme: grocery shopping.
When it’s time to stock the fridge, the vast majority of us still do it the old fashioned way. We trek out to the store, walk up and down the aisles, and fill up physical rather than virtual shopping carts. But just maybe, that’s about to change. A number of retailers are experimenting with online groceries, and a growing number of consumers are ready to buy.
Reports of the physical retail store’s death have been greatly exaggerated. As a recent survey from the Cisco® Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) found, 93 percent of products sold in the United States are still bought in brick-and-mortar locations. And while technology has upended many product categories and more than a few individual retailers, it simultaneously creates opportunities for retailers to continue to make the store shopping experience both relevant and compelling. Big Data in the store is key to achieving this.
A couple of days ago, I participated in a Social Video Broadcast about cyber security survival tips for the holiday season. Some of my advice is familiar. Use stronger passwords, apply the “smell test” to too-good-to-be-true on-line offers, read the manual—especially the parts about account set up and security—when turning on a new device. Others are a little less well known. I keep a separate credit card account with a low spending limit for on-line purchases. Ask your Sys Admins if it is OK to connect a new “BYOD” device to an enterprise network when you return to work in January.
But the most important advice I offer is to slow down and think before doing anything that might subject you to cyber mayhem. Technology, and the Internet in particular, has programmed us to rush through life. But the best way to make it into to the Cyber Security Victims Hall of Regret is to lose your sense of situational awareness by clicking on anything that moves. This needn’t lead to paralyzing indecision. But taking a moment to ask: “Is this for real? Is this wise? Why does that look funny?” will spare you from a lot of harm in the holiday season.