Since January this year, twenty-one North American retailers have filed for bankruptcy. We have seen established brands struggle with pandemic pressures as well as an inability to implement innovative, disruptive transformation.
We live in uncertain times subject to certain change and as such there has never been a greater opportunity for executives to iterate and question their existing retail strategy and infrastructure.
By effectively reimagining retail customer service, renovating your brand to foster loyalty and engagement and harnessing automation and innovation as a key differentiator, retailers can more efficiently shield themselves from the looming threat, whilst moving towards the future and beyond.
Reimagining Retail Customer Service
Analysts have long since predicted the death of the high street, but it seems that now more than ever there is a credible risk that this could become reality.
To this end, Retail executives should be looking at how they can reimagine their CX offering, whether that means investing in greater E-Commerce potential or more numerous Experiential Retail offerings.
E-COMMERCE – A recent survey from Coresight Research showed that two-thirds of consumers are continuing to avoid public places after restrictions end, with shopping centers top of the list of places that they will not go, naturally online shopping is the answer.
According to McKinsey, E-commerce spending was up 30% from the beginning of March through mid-April in the US, with consumers spending $347.26 billion with online retailers in the first six months of the year. Consumers are starting to reassess the typical market dynamic and retailers must take note.
Online shopping is also often more convenient for the consumer, who now expect page load times to be set at two seconds or less, something that a brick-and-mortar store simply cannot provide. Clearly, we are witnessing a rebalancing of online and in-store shopping experiences, how then can physical stores hope to keep pace? It is in the quality of the customer experience.
A frictionless experience is now more important to the consumer than ever. As Brian Solis recently revealed 84% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services.
Since 2017, almost 10,000 retail locations in the US have closed due to their inability to compete with the speed of digital innovation whilst improving their customer experience infrastructure. In a bid to keep pace, more and more luxury brands are now adopting the experiential retail model as a potential solution.
Focused on strengthening the overall retail customer experience, the model aims to drive footfall whilst extending the time that the customer spends in the space. This can be anything from the concept store – a shop that sells a carefully curated and unique selection of products that connect to an overarching theme – to the inclusion of in-store events such as live music concerts or pop-up shops.
How Does ‘Reimagining the Customer Experience Help Your Business?’
- Greater customer value proposition
- Boosts sales and customer advocacy
- Improved crisis management
- Builds customer retention and loyalty
- Increased brand equity
However, this is just one of the three key solutions mentioned above that a retailer might employ to quickly respond to the threat posed by the coronavirus whilst also future-proofing their business for years to come.
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