It’s easier to predict the past than the future
On the back of Wired magazine’s Smarter event, which is aimed at empowering executives to ‘turn disruptive technology into a business strategy’, it ran an article ‘Six things you need to know about the future of retail’. The key tech predictions were:
Innovation will help retailers to stay relevant – ‘Retailers are still relevant – but they can be left lagging behind new customer expectations, suffering from the difficulty of launching new products fast enough.’
We don’t have to think about cash any more – according to the article, ‘Florence Diss, head of EMEA partnerships at Google, sees the solution as a unified commerce experience for retailers’.
Zero friction will be the new norm – ‘If the retailers of tomorrow fail to listen to the needs of their consumers, and more importantly to keep up with their ever-increasing expectations of a shopping experience that is completely seamless, that will be the end of their businesses.’
It’s not the end of physical shops – ‘the stores of the future will step away from being places of pure transaction, to being places where retailers build a relationship with shoppers.’
Red Ant says: the most striking thing about this article, drawn from speakers with significant industry clout, is that none of these are predictions, nor are they ‘disruptive technology’. Each ‘vision of the future’ is already happening and is readily available to any retailer with a digital store strategy. That they are still being described in Q4 2018 as things to consider for the next few years when retailers should be implementing them right now is worrying – it’s clear that even the most switched-on leaders need to shift gears.
Easy to implement? Yes – each of these predictions can be made a reality through data integration and the digital store platform, from mobile payments to seamless experiences and building relationships in-store through clienteling.
Time to activate? Six weeks to pilot, using agile methodology and a test-and-learn process.
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Survey says shoppers want personalised discounts and are willing to share information to get them
Retail Dive took a look at a survey conducted by Forrester in partnership with digital coupon marketer RetailMeNot which revealed that 60% of shoppers look for discounts on retailer platforms. And they’re willing to share information about products they like in order to receive personalised, relevant discounts (60% of respondents).
Retail Dive’s take was that the survey revealed ways to ‘engage shoppers without alienating them’ and that it added to the debate over delivering ‘an experience that's both personalised but not too personal’. In the end, it concluded, ‘brands are safe to use data that's pertinent to the shopping experience, like purchase history and interests, but should avoid marketing based on other online activities and social connections that may cross the line and unsettle consumers.’
Red Ant says: anything that makes the shopping experience more personal for shoppers on their own terms will be a winner, and tailored discounts, loyalty schemes and advice on purchases are some of the things that make it worthwhile for a customer to visit a physical store. Saving money is a big plus – couple this with sales colleagues who know what customers want and can guide their path to purchase and retailers will be able to deliver the seamless experience they crave.
Easy to implement? Depending on your existing loyalty schemes and sales colleague initiatives, integrating data across all systems, including third party and legacy, should be straightforward, as should building a customer-facing interface to ensure the process is frictionless.
Time to activate? Two months to pilot
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Time’s up for NPS?
Stephen Hewett, Executive Director of iCustomer, has called time on Net Promoter Score, arguing in MyCustomer magazine that, while it has its uses as a ‘quick barometric reading giving an assessment of how an organisation is doing in relation to its customers rather than anything deeper’, it’s more important for retailers and service providers to measure customer needs rather than simply whether they would recommend a product or service to others.
He proposes a new measurement - Net Customer Need Score, or NetCNS – which evaluates how customer needs are being met through behaviour and feedback analysis. The result is a metric which has practical applications as businesses can see exactly where they’re falling short and take steps to improve performance.
Red Ant says: Assessing your ability to meet customer needs is vital. Providing a seamless, satisfying customer experience depends on having actionable intelligence, and the best way to find out if you’re delivering is to listen to customers themselves. Being able to act on feedback and behaviour in real time to meet customer needs can make a real difference to performance, both on a company-wide and individual store level.
Easy to implement? Once you’ve audited your sources of feedback and other performance measures, they can be collated into a simple, easy-to-use real-time dashboard which allows you to take immediate action.
Time to activate? Three months from source analysis to launch
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