5 customer pain points and how to cure them
There’s no lack of satisfaction surveys detailing customers’ likes and dislikes. Taken as a whole, it’s possible to group their issues into five key ‘pain points’, each of which highlight the need for businesses to take steps towards reviewing their cross-channel systems and investing in technology which will ensure the in-store experience meets customer expectations:
Pain point 1 - no time:
- To visit a store
- To look around for their product/size/alternatives
- To check/visit other stores
This is where online shopping has come into its own for time-poor consumers – they can select stock, browse alternatives, arrange a convenient delivery/pickup at a local store whenever, and, thanks to mobile commerce, wherever they choose. But this doesn’t overcome the fact that, given the option, the majority of customers would still prefer a bricks-and-mortar experience to a virtual one (90% of all retail takes place in a physical store, according to AT Kearney). The solution for customer-centred retailers is to apply ‘joined-up’ thinking to their processes – using the advanced technology which is now available to converge the online, mobile and in-store experience and access to product information, stock ordering, pickup from alternative stores etc. The result is a seamless path to purchase which works for the customer across all channels - fluid, driven by their needs and inherently time-efficient.
Pain point 2 - on a budget:
- Showrooming to get the best price
- Only buying when there’s an offer
- Treats and luxuries governed by limited cash
The ubiquity of smartphones, the increased efficiency of mobile networks and the desire of individuals with a limited amount of cash in their pockets to secure a bargain has changed the way customers behave. They now routinely visit brick-and-mortar stores not necessarily to buy but to examine the goods in person before ordering the products cheaper from a rival shop or pure-play online retailer. The good news is that retailers can use the very same mobile technology to great effect, to both attract footfall and keep purchases in-store. The value of direct purchases from mobile devices is set to triple over the next five years, so smart retailers are ensuring that they can use this to their advantage – using customer data to provide bespoke information triggered on store entry and delivered direct to mobile, providing local offers, coupons and deals via mobile designed for instant redemption in-store and, most recently, using microlocation technology such as iBeacons and NFC to deliver aisle- and shelf-level promotions.
Pain point 3 – service expectations:
- They’re looking for a personalised service, often missing from the in-store experience
- There isn’t enough information in-store about products
- Things which are supposed to improve efficiency don’t always work – for example, click and collect may not save time if the ordered item is not to hand
One thing which shoppers mention time after time is their desire for clienteling – a return to a more traditional service model where sales staff are able to offer a personalised service, anticipating and meeting customer needs. We know from our own research that the employees themselves often feel that they would like to know their company’s products and customers better, so that they can provide a superior service. The solution is to give employees the kind of smart, interactive mobile technology which retailers invest in for their customers. Empower them with devices which give full, ‘live’ access to stock, products, deals and so on as well as customer information such as previous purchases, wishlists etc, and they will be able to deliver a superior service which, according to our research, could increase sales by as much as 52%, and positivity among staff by 74%.
Pain point 4 – the shops haven’t got what they want - customers:
- Leave without buying when stock isn’t available/can’t be ordered online via the store
- Have spoken to staff who don’t have enough information to offer alternatives
There’s no reason to lose business due to a lack of ‘joined-up’ processes – the technology exists to ensure that sales staff equipped with the right kind of mobile technology can order stock which isn’t available in-store on behalf of the customer, for delivery either to their home, another store or for pick-up on their next visit.
Pain point 5 - waiting around:
- Visiting a store involves long queues or waiting for staff to be available
- They have to wait for information/stock check/alternative store details
Fortunately for customers, there is a wealth of technology available to reduce and, at best, eliminate waiting times. In-store mobile initiatives allow for mPos, which has the power to vastly increase the number of checkouts available, coupled with technically-enabled staff who have all the information at their fingertips to provide customers with what they need.
Prevention is better than cure
Each of these remedies can help with the most pressing customer issues, but there’s no doubt that applying the balm of technology after the event is nowhere near as effective as taking steps to prevent the pain from happening in the first place. Retailers who aren’t making moves towards a whole-of-business approach to commerce, which converges physical stores with online and mobile activity to provide a customer-driven, pain-free shopping experience, may well feel the pain themselves when it comes to the bottom line.
Dan Hartveld has a global reputation for excellence in the field of mobile retail. He has developed award-winning, first-in-class commercial solutions for leading retailers including Topshop, Burberry and MasterCard. Known for his expertise in the practical application of innovative technology to achieve measurable results for retail, Dan is a...