The Candid Voice in Retail Technology: Objective Insights, Pragmatic Advice

Mobile: It Comes Down To One Person

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In my last few Retail Paradox Weekly articles, I’ve been musing about mobile. The biggest opportunities out there, the disconnect between what retailers think those opportunities are and what consumers think they are, and most recently, the absolutely staggering number of roadblocks that stand in retailers’ way to seizing any opportunities at all (Mobile’s Road Ahead: Yikes). As I said in that piece, this stuff isn’t easy, and mobile is nothing short of a moving target.

But to finish out the thought, it’s worth it to go one step further, and look at what retailers see as their best means forward. After all, we can all acknowledge that mobility has stacked the power in the customer/retailer relationship heavily in the customers’ favor to date, there’s no point in being despondent about that. In fact, in our most recent Mobile Study, retailers tell us they already know how the first step to getting the power back: and it comes down to one person.

For all retailers, regardless of size or product sold, the absolute best way to get past their extensive list of roadblocks is to elect one person to take charge of the overall customer experience.

At 50%, this beat out such options as IT support, coordination of LOB execs – even a streamlined technology platform. But should we be surprised?

RSR has been a proponent of this “single owner of the customer experience ” for years now. In fact, from our 2012 eCommerce Benchmark:

While RSR has been systematically advocating the need for a Cross-channel Executive (or Chief Customer Experience Officer) in much of its recent eCommerce, Mobile, and Omni-Channel research, it is worth noting that retailers increasingly agree with the need for a) such a role and b) its voice to be heard. While only 9% of respondents report they currently have such a title, more than double that number – 21% – say an executive whose charge is to ensure what the customer’s experience looks and feels like across any/all shopping channels is vital in determining the strategic direction of the retail eCommerce offering.

Still, not much has changed since then. In fact, the question of “who owns the customer experience ” has become nothing short of a litmus test in RSR’s meetings with retailers and technology solution providers alike, both clients and non-clients, for a very long time. But even as we conduct more evaluative research of retailers’ online offerings, cross-channel consistencies, and overall shoppability, it remains glaringly apparent that few retailers have yet undertaken this assignment.

So the real question is this: does your company have someone tasked with owning the customer experience? And if not, how much longer can you afford not to?

Newsletter Articles May 16, 2016
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