This holiday season customers have more ways to shop than ever before. Retailers are making it easier to get the right presents by providing enhanced delivery options – from buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) to curbside pickup. While this freedom is empowering for customers, it creates a new level of complexity for retailers as seen by the hurdles experienced this holiday season. As this complexity becomes the new normal, the retailers that will thrive are those who deliver a consistent branded shopping experience across all channels.
No retailer has yet fully mastered the seamless omnichannel experience, but a few are well on their way:
Nordstrom gives customers access to advice from their favorite sales associate anytime through their TextStyle program. If a customer needs a personalized recommendation, a sales associate can scan an item, provide a photo and brief description, and send them a buying code via text. Once a customer types “buy,” the sale is charged to their preferred credit card and sent to the shipping address that’s on file.
Kohl’s is seeing success with its mobile app which provides a consistent experience by allowing customers to access their virtual shopping bag, available loyalty points, and promotions while shopping in-store or online.
Coach does a fantastic job of integrating channels by allowing customers online to search in-store inventory in their area for the specific product they want. When a customer completes the purchase in store, the associate sends them a follow up email that includes personalized recommendations to encourage repeat purchases.
The shopping experience demanded in today’s competitive climate needs to be seamless. Retailers can be successful by creating one digital platform and pushing content and functionality across multiple channels, instead of trying to integrate a portfolio of different assets.
One way retailers can start is to repurpose content from their online and mobile properties and bring it into the store using digital signage and tablets. This allows them to test which content increases conversions and apply changes instantly across multiple stores.
And content isn’t the only thing that can be duplicated across channels. Retailers can scale shopper engagement through digital experiences in the store. By using digital capabilities like remote expert, retailers can continuously offer high levels of service and expertise in a way that isn’t dependent on in-store staffing. Promotions can also be offered in real-time to improve conversion or maintain competitive pricing.
Retailers should evaluate each step in the shopper journey and assess where digitization can improve the experience. They should also consider making use of the data that comes from digitizing those steps to make better decisions on what’s working and what isn’t.
While retailers have access to a mountain of data from online and mobile shopping journeys, they have a big opportunity to gather data from the in-store experience. Retailers will get a full picture of each customer’s journey when they combine data across all channels and build processes that allow them to deliver the right experience at the right time – whether shorter checkout, personalized assistance, or more relevant promotions. At Cisco we’re building the most advanced IOT solution in the industry by giving retailers access to information in the store that they can apply online and share across all channels.
What strategies do you think will be effective for creating seamless customer experiences? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
For more innovative retail strategies, see our Top 10 list of how you can create the ultimate shopping experience:
Tags: BOPUS, Cisco, customer, data, digitization, experience, inventory, IoT, Kathryn Howe, mobile, mobility, retail, shopper
Retail companies face a landscape filled with growing and increasingly complex threats. And the financial impact of these breaches is soaring.
There are obvious financial incentives for attacking retailers because they typically don’t spend as much on security as financial institutions or government organizations, so they’ve become easy targets in recent years. According to Gartner, retailers spend about four percent of their IT budgets on cybersecurity, while financial services and health organizations spend 5.5% and 5.6% respectively. This is critical as the number of shoppers on Black Friday and throughout the holiday season continues to grow through different omnichannel opportunities. We have to be concerned and diligent because:
- Financial organizations spent as much as $2,500 per employee on cybersecurity in 2014, while retailers only spent about $400 per employee.
- AppRiver Global Security Report shows that 10 of the top 20 data breaches in 2015 were retailers.
- According to research conducted by the Ponemon Institute in partnership with IBM, the average cost for each lost or stolen record has also increased. According to the study, the cost per record increased by more than 9%, from $136 per record in 2013, to $145 per record in 2014; and those numbers are still higher in the U.S., where the average cost for each lost or stolen record is $201.
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Tags: Clack Friday, cyber, firewalls, IPS, omnichannel, retail, Ron Kjelden, security, threat
Holiday shopping isn’t like it used to be. Retail sales associates – a.k.a Santa’s helpers – are taking on more than just ushering shoppers into fitting rooms and helping them check out. Today, their role more resembles that of a concierge.
Here are three ways the role of the sales associate is changing:
#1: The sales associate is now your product and inventory expert.
It’s shocking to think that today only 30% of employee time is spent on customer service. To allow sales associates to spend more time with customers and provide a better shopper experience, stores are asking associates to evolve from clerk to expert. In this new role, associates are providing more value to customers by saving them time and helping them make better decisions.
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Tags: analytics, associate, brand, Cisco, curbside, customer, intu, Kathryn Howe, loss prevention, out of stock, retail, service, shopper, staffing, Tesco, top 10
‘Tis the season for bold and forward-thinking retailers to try new things! Excitement is building as many innovative retailers focus on areas to make the holiday shopping experience better for their customers.
Enhancing Retail Mobile Apps
Some retailers are using mobile apps to help customers spend less time gathering deals and waiting in line, and more on finding the gifts their friends and family want:
- Target makes it easy for parents to play Santa by enhancing their kids’ wish list app. This app includes new holiday games and a kid-friendly search function to add products in a “letter to Santa.” Parents then log into adult mode and respond to the letter, buy the presents directly, and share the list with relatives.
- Kohl’s mobile app lets shoppers gather all their deals in one place by scanning gift cards, Kohl’s Cash, and Yes2You loyalty rewards into a mobile wallet. Customers also enjoy accelerated checkout in stores using Apple Pay.
- Walmart’s mobile app lets customers build holiday wish lists by scanning items while shopping in stores, which can then be accessed by friends and family members using the app’s search feature. The app also directs consumers who order presents online to pickup locations in the store.
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Tags: alert, Android Pay, App, Apple Pay, channel, Cisco, Dick's Sporting Goods, digital, endless aisle, Gamestop, in-store, Kathryn Howe, kiosk, Kohl's, mobile, omnichannel, online, pickup, retail, shopper, Tesco
In my first #CiscoChat I hosted together with Anabelle Pinto, we were joined by Gaurav Pant and Sahir Anand from EKN Research to share their perspective and dig deeper into additional findings from Cisco and IDC. We started by defining who the digital consumer is, what type of services they’re looking for and what shoppers want and expect, all while providing the security they need.
Here are a few highlights from the #CiscoChat:
Who is today’s digital shopper?
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Tags: ciscochat, digital, omnichannel, retail, Ron Kjelden, security, shopper, technology, transformation, wi-fi