Making sure it’s a happy CX-mas
At the end of what can kindly be described as a ‘difficult’ year, it’s understandable that, despite some of us having to tighten our belts to the last possible notch, we’re looking to spend a little more this festive season to bring some joy to our Covid-restricted lives.
This is backed up by the Centre for Retail Research – they predict that, as a nation, we’ll spend around 1.6% – or £1.3bn – more across all channels than we did last year. That’s good news for the industry as a whole – but how do retailers make the most of the season while maintaining the safety of both their customers and their store associates?
I’ll be home for Christmas
The answer is ‘choice’ – retailers need to be able to accommodate customers’ requirements whether they choose to visit a store or opt to shop from the comfort of their homes. And they need to make sure customers feel valued and taken care of, whatever experience they decide is best for them.
Tech tidings we bring…
Following the first lockdown, smart retailers have prepared for a different kind of relationship with their customers – repurposing and evolving their tech so that, whether it is delivered by appointment in store or via virtual consultation, the customer experience is no less personal.
For those who want to venture out to the shops, in-store technology is ideally placed to deliver what customers need by:
- identifying customers and offering a personalised, swift service by anticipating and delivering on wishes/needs
- facilitating full stock visibility and real-time product information so that customers can make their purchases without repeat visits
- enabling online ordering in-store and allowing for home deliveries as well as click and collect
- enabling seamless roaming checkouts to bust queues and ensure safety, as well as remote payment via SMS link to allow safe payment both in-store and at home
- improving operational performance with real-time access to retail analytics so that retailers can take action to regulate the flow of customers if the store becomes too busy
And for those who prefer to shop from home, that same tech can be readily adapted to make sure retailers can offer a personalised experience without being in the same room:
- virtual consultations with live shopping allow store associates to connect with customers where they’re comfortable
- integrated messaging and communications give customers access to information and updates tailored to their profile, making it easier to access and choose gifts
- live consultations and advice ensure that the customer doesn’t miss out on that special feeling that comes with Christmas shopping even if they’re not in a store, because they get a VIP experience from a ‘personal shopper’ in their own home
Merry Christmas, everyone
A common factor throughout this year’s seemingly endless challenges for retailers is the acceleration of digital transformation, and those with the right kind of platform will see their efforts to evolve bearing fruit over the festive season. It should add up to a happy Christmas for everyone:
- Happy customers - they’re pleased with their purchases, VIP treatment and the fact that they’ve been able to do their seasonal shop safely, on their own terms
- Happy sales associates - they have been given the tools they need to give a safe, superior service even if they’re not in-store, with all the information they need at their fingertips
- Happy business – they have motivated staff who feel taken care of, satisfied customers and increased sales
In the eyes of the customer, especially this year, they just want to be able to make their purchases safely with as little hassle as possible. And if retailers want to make sure they deliver the kind of experience that meets their expectations not only at Christmas but all year round, connecting with the customer both in-store and at home should be at the top of their wishlist.
With a background in marketing and psychology, Emma Newman is a talented Head of Client Success who has worked with high-profile clients across the retail spectrum. Much in demand as a customer experience expert, she has been instrumental in building customer-focused strategies for a number of leading brands.