For years and years consumers have been empowered through their mobile devices and online shopping. They have changed their behavior and their expectations. That is not news.
But let’s face it and let’s do something to meet customer demands. Because with the ability to shop any time anywhere, consumers have come to expect new levels of personalised services.
Meeting this expectation for a personal and personalised retail experience requires rethinking of your business concept – or perhaps just a slight change to your offerings and how you engage with your customers.
So let’s look at a few ways to go about meeting customer expectations…
We covered Instant Personalisation in a different blog post – it is still a brilliant way to differentiate your business and give your customers the possibility to leave your store with a personalised experience. But no need to go there again.
Me-tailing is another way to meet customer expectations and in combination with instant instore personalisation your business is bound to be rewarded.
In a consumer centric world, it is not just about selling a product today, but creating a relationship where the customer purchases multiple products and services over time.
It has been called "me-tailing"; where retailers offer personalised interactions that are informed and contextualized by information gathered in real-time through mobile, social and in-store channels, as well as any other customer touchpoint.*
You might already see why instant in-store personalisation and data gathering could very well be the recipe for success in a consumer centric world.
But no one said it would be easy.
Easy to talk about, difficult to execute!
Me-tailing is very tough for retailers to execute … particularly for those with a foundation in bricks and mortar. Store systems don't connect with online systems and databases, which don't connect to call/service centers. As a result how many times do your customers have to re-enter their name and purchase information? The answer (unless you are a one man shop), is likely to be too many.
Often, customers are not recognised across different systems, because retail was designed to sell products, not track and build relationships.
This NEEDS to change.
Well… you still need to sell products of course – but if you combine this with gathering and using data you will be way ahead of your competitors.
Four fundamentals for Me-tailing… and success in a consumer centric world
Obviously, there are far more essential elements to success than just 4. But, if you could just execute these well, your customers would be more impressed and more than likely to choose someone who creates a personal relationship over a competitor who doesn’t.
1. Know your name … or at least your "handle." There is nothing more personal than your name! Almost all online shops get your name, address and email address when they take your order. Few stores do. Most importantly, they don't put CRM (Customer Relationship Management) in place to follow-up with your customers.
2. Recognise customers across time and channels. The very successful relationship based retailers like Tesco have used loyalty cards for years. They know when you shop, where and what you buy. In an omni-channel world, the "card" needs to become digital. Retailers have to recognise their valued customers wherever they shop… whether in person or by phone.
3. Personalised offers and value. One of the biggest opportunities of loyalty programs is the ability to "get to know you" through purchase patterns. People respond to perks and offers that "fit" them … that are contextually relevant to their life and what they buy. Amazon does a brilliant job of mining "big data". Omni-channel retailing will require tracking best customer relationships across time and channels.
4. Personalised just for ME! Nike has made an outstanding business of allowing consumers to go online, or in-store, to design their "own" shoe in custom colors and style combinations. The old days of retail were "buying something off the rack". In today's world, consumers want to be able to customise their fashion, their PCs, gifts… and so the list goes on.
As you have probably gathered, me-tailing is all about getting to know your customers. Building a relationship. And actually getting personal so that your customers feel they know who YOU are and that you in turn understand what they want…
Your focus should be on delivering personalised service both in shopping and after the sale.
Learn more about instant in-store personalisation right here.
*Source: Chris Petersen (www.retailcustomerexperience.com)