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

Sneak Peak At Our Upcoming Customer Experience Report

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Brian’s piece this week lays out what we’re doing next year. But we’re not quite done with 2022 yet. We’re just putting the finishing touches on our latest research project – all about the evolving customer experience. What does it say? You be the judge!

Today, at the tail end of 2022, shopping is objectively easier than at any other point in history. Consumers can buy just about anything they want (often-times from a multitude of sources) and take delivery of those products in any number of ways they deem most convenient to their personal needs.

For retailers, however, “easy” is no longer part of the internal lexicon. To sell successfully in the modern world, one most overcome competition from sources old and new, or as RSR so often points out, consumers will “just buy it on”. That has become the default-mode response by many consumers for an ever-growing host of shopping needs. Competition is seemingly everywhere at all times.

As a result, many retailers have identified that offering an excellent customer experience is the way to differentiate their brand. But what is an “excellent customer experience”? The answer to that can vary wildly from one category to another (luxury goods vs. mass merchandise, for example), one product sub-segment to another (specialty sporting goods vs specialty musical instruments), and even from one competitive brand to another within the same sub-segment. Consider just how differently seemingly similar retailers (REI and, for example) approach their customer experience offering, despite selling nearly identical brands and products.

A retailer’s approach to customer centricity and offering a compelling customer experience is core to its brand. And for many, they are betting their future on it.

At the same time, the technologists that service the retail industry have promoted the idea that personalization holds the key to future success. Communications must be personalized. Product offerings must be personalized. Delivery methods, customer service, help center tactics, pricing… the list goes on and on.

As this research will show however (not yet published), for retailers, personalization may well not be the right objective. Their sights are currently set on establishing relevance. In retailers’ view, customers don’t need a personalized price, but they certainly want a fair one. They may not need a true 1-to-1 communication from their favorite brand – but if that brand does try to reach out, then the communication (and the offer it holds within) must be relevant.

And as it turns out, consumers tend to agree.

What makes this coming research unique is that not only did we survey roughly one hundred retailers about their vision for the customer experience, but we also surveyed over one thousand US-based shoppers (aged 18 and up) to gauge their sentiment as well.

You’re going to want to read this one – “will be wild!”. Wait… maybe we’re not supposed to use that sentence anymore. Either way – we’ll be sure to send out a note the moment it’s live.

Newsletter Articles December 13, 2022
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