Leading retailers losing millions with poorly integrated touchpoints

21st Sep 2011

Some of the biggest names on the high street are losing hundreds of millions of pounds by not having joined up digital touchpoints, a new study has found.

Some of the UK’s top retailers including Morrisons, Dixons and Phones4U failing to keep their websites and smartphone apps up to scratch.
A qualitative assessment of 100 of the UK’s best known retailers was conducted by digital agency Head reviewed how well digital and offline touchpoints were weaved together to create an integrated customer experience across the whole shopper journey.
These results were reviewed in relation to their sales performance by analyst Oxford Economics. The analysis found a strong correlation between a strong integrated customer experience and sales growth.
Between 2007-2010, the retailers studied lost almost half a billion pounds in potential sales by failing to deliver a truly integrated and tailored customer experience.
But the umbrella findings conceal a mixed bag of results. While worst performing retailers including Morrisons, Dixons, Phones4U and Homebase missed out on tens of millions of pounds due to their weaker multi-channel performance, innovators including Tesco, Boots and John Lewis made up to £314 million in additional sales growth attributable to their integrated customer experience strategies.
To succeed, retailers should enable customers to choose a purchase path which suits them best, create appropriate links between touchpoints, use mobile websites and mobile apps appropriately and treat customer support as an important part of customer experience, Head says.
Paul-Jervis Heath, head of design at Head, said retailers need to make better use of existing resources, skills, people and technology.
“Too many retailers are simply playing catch-up with their competitors. But true service innovation is the primary way to stand out from the competition and maximise the return on investment in customer experience and technology,” Jervis Heath said.
But innovation need not cost more or take longer, the agency says. “The way to identify innovation opportunities is to scrutinise customer behaviour, identify customers’ real underlying needs and to design compelling and indispensable retail experiences to meet those needs,” Jervis Heath added. 
Jim Shaw, managing director EMEA of Acquia, said: “In a tough economic climate, it's hard to understand why retailers are allowing sub-standard websites to continue to damage online sales opportunities, leaving customers feeling confused and uninspired. By shifting to an optimised and user-friendly platform that applies the full range of innovation that the internet can offer, retailers can simultaneously drive up sales figures whilst improving customer engagement for the long term.”

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By skolman
21st Sep 2011 23:13

It is also important to understand how your customer wants to interact with you (channel and activity) and to ensure that you have the appropriate presence. Smartphone adoption is exploding as is the use of mobile apps. Consumers expect to be able to shop and obtain customer service directly from their device.

A key success facctor however is to allow users to move from one channel to another as needed. For example, if someone is trying to learn how to contigure their internet service and has trouble, make it easy and seamless for them to reach a live agent. Once connected, the agent should have at their fingertips relevant information on the customer and their activity online so the transaction can be completed quickly and efficiently.

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