Progress in the world of customer interaction management has been enormous over the last few years, with the growth of mobile and social media revolutionising the way consumers communicate with brands.
Looking to the future, it seems even more significant changes to the customer experience are just around the corner as businesses begin to comprehend the opportunities these developments bring. Speaking at Retail Week magazine’s live event recently, representatives from many leading brands shared their vision of what these changes may mean for CIM in the future.
Perhaps the biggest agreement between these key figures was that brands cannot afford to ignore the importance of omni-channel retail, with Debenhams Head of Digital, Ashley Payne describing mobile as the bridge between online and offline.
Jonathan Wall, Ecommerce Director of Shop Direct, mirrors this stance, believing in store WiFi is likely to become standard practice as retailers aim to open up communications with in store customers.
As explained in a previous numero blog article, WiFi not only allows retailers to keep track of each customer’s browsing and buying behaviour while in-store, it also creates a way for brands to provide additional customer services.
These could include anything from product recommendations based on an individual’s purchase history, to guide maps of where to find products within the shop. Dixons’ CEO Sebastian James revealed the chain is planning to display QR codes linking to reviews alongside products to foster a more trusting customer relationship. Similarly, hangers in clothing chain C&A’s Brazilian stores reveal Facebook likes for each item, incorporating social media sentiment into the customer journey.
Having witnessed these changes, Kate Ancketill, CEO of a leading trend forecasting group, goes as far as to suggest shops of the future may serve as 24-hour digital showrooms with orders delivered to the consumer rather than purchased in store. Supermarkets including Waitrose and Asda, on the other hand, are investing heavily in providing click-and-collect services in the style of the McDonalds drive-through.
While the two seem to reflect opposing models, both clearly signal convenience is key for customers; brands must coordinate their traditional and digital offerings to deliver a consistent customer experience.
To discuss how cutting edge customer interaction management technology could benefit your business, contact the numero team.
Photo credited to Retail Week Live