Closing the gap between in-store and online customer experience

Published on 20 May 2014 by in Latest News

self service retail Closing the gap between in store and online customer experienceBridging the gap between online and the real world has become more important than ever. Shoppers are demanding more control over their shopping experience and retailers are having to come up with new ways to fulfil their customer’s needs.

Consumers are demanding a personalised and simplified way to complete their in-store shopping that closer resembles the experience they enjoy online. Katie Baron, senior retail editor at Stylus.com, observed that, “Customers who shop online are used to being in control of their own experiences and now want to have the same amount of control in store.”

If companies don’t allow customers to have this control, they are likely to see potential problems in the future, especially when consumers want to pay for their goods.  A study by Tensator showed that there is a significant dissatisfaction with both queuing and current self-service till systems, with one in three shoppers admitting to walking out of a store without buying the goods they intended to because of a bad experience.

While self-service checkouts are now an everyday part of the customers shopping experience, David Lowrence, retail engagement manager at Fujitsu UK & Ireland, feels that self-service processes have expanded from the original concept of static in-store technology to the use of customer-owned devices. It’s this transition from the company-led shopping experience to a personalised customer created experience that will be key to help bridge the gap and keep customers away from their screens and coming into stores.

To help bridge the gap between in-store and online, companies are combining the two to create a more convenient and improved shopping experience that satisfy the needs of those who prefer to shop online. Customers are being given the information they need to make informed decision much like they would whilst browsing online. Mark Curtis, chief client officer at global service design consultancy Fjord feels that technology has a future role to play, but that improving the customer service experience will be crucial in achieving this goal.

“This could include allowing more personalisation, transparency and contextualisation of a service in a way that resonates with a consumer’s needs and expectations for a brand,” explains Curtis.

Through informing the consumer and giving them the freedom to create their own experience, customers are more likely to carry on coming back to a retail environment. Smart companies will adapt to the desires and needs of their customers and by closing the gap between online and in-store they can create a more rounded and uniform service across multiple areas.

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