Leon Brits, Principle consultant, Tryzens, discusses what retailers can address to remove the customer blind spot across all channels.
As retailers strive to implement an omni-channel strategy, not being able to track customers in-store, is a major inhibitor to the strategy’s success. In-store, retailers need to have access to online customer profiles, where the customer is tracked continuously, to enable store staff to have access to information such as customer history, complaints and purchases. The lack of this visibility is known as the customer blind spot, and is currently holding retailers back from truly being able to create smooth customer experience across touch points. However, there are several ways to address this issue:
Assessing legacy systems
Many retailers have in place legacy systems that typically create divisions and inhibit a single view of the customer. In most cases, retailers still do not have integrated systems in place to be able to collect customer information when purchases are made in-store as well as online. If retailers fix these integration issues, they’ll be able to benefit from higher customer profile visibility instantly. Not only is this beneficial for customer experience, but this solution is also a way to transform the business – moving across to more flexible, integrated platforms.
Addressing payments solutions
Retailers looking to create a single customer view should look at the capabilities of their payment systems against the benefits of a single payment system. By implementing a single payment system across all channels, retailers can identify and profile individual customers based on financial information. Being able to automate single customer IDs regardless of where the purchase is made is a realistic and relatively simple goal to drive towards, that will result in a better view of the customer across all channels.
Looking at loyalty programmes
Removing the customer blind spot can also be achieved by putting a single loyalty programme in place that works across all channels. Loyalty programmes help retailers to get a 360 view of the customer, including individual shopping preferences and habits. Many retailers still operate proprietary loyalty programmes, however with the rapid consumer adoption of multi-retailer programmes such as Nectar, these cross-brand programmes shouldn’t be ignored. The benefit of a third party programme is that as innovations in consumer technology impact purchasing trends, third parties are likely to invest in these programmes more quickly than a retailer with an exclusive loyalty programme would. This means retailers would benefit from these innovations, without the hefty fee for implementing the technology. Proprietary programmes also offer retailers a greater level of control. The decision on what programme to implement depends largely on sales volumes and target demographics. Either way, a loyalty programme that works across all channels will help retailers develop the single customer view.
Addressing in-store technology
In-store technology can help retailers capture customer data and bridge the gap on a single view of the customer. These technologies aim at tracking and linking the shoppers experience online and in-store, such as Apple’s iBeacon which allows retailers to send notifications to shoppers when they’re in the store or in close proximity to a beacon. This new technology helps retailers to get sight of customer’s shopping history and preferences when they’re in-store and online – by alerting them when they’re near a product they have browsed online. Whether these technologies will reliably increase conversions in-store remains to be seen, but where it is effective, it will go a long way to developing a single view of the customer.
Shoppers are increasingly turning to stores which provide an internet-like experience, and are favouring retailers that deliver a smooth brand experience across channels. But for retailers to deliver on this demand, they’ll need to have a single consistent view of the customer both in-store and online. For retailers who want to stay ahead of the game, these four steps should already be front of mind, in order to deliver the seamless experience that shoppers expect across the entire shopper journey.