Retailers must move with the times

A seamless customer experience is now a must, and retailers must be in a position to deliver.  The way we buy products has changed significantly as it becomes easier to access information from various channels.  Retailers know the importance of engaging with a customer as soon as they make contact with the brand.  We are too easily distracted by the simplest of things and we have a small opportunity to build that all important relationship.  In some cases you find a significant gap between what a customer expects and what is actually delivered by the retailer. In an onnichannel era we have to make sure the sales process is simple, functional and fully managed.  One way retailers are responding to these challenges is by utilising multichannel management to offer a clear structure for the benefit of the consumer. 

Modern shoppers expect all retail channels to flow smoothly from one to the other, but they also increasingly expect an individualised shopping experience. Shoppers have never thought in channels, and can be frustrated by the divide between channels in one business.  This is especially frustrating when its only one brand name above the door.

Consumers demand more choice, more interactivity, specialist knowledge and price transparency.  Many retailers are taking notes from their customers and incorporating web based retail pos which can offer retailers key information in real time.  If the retailer can offer a personalised experience based on the product attributes it can open up various possibilities including increased avenues for revenue.

Digital technologies have changed the traditonal customer journey.  It needs to help the consumer with what they are doing or facilitate a better experience.  It’s got to be functional and useful, global e-commerce is obviously increasing but actually, globally, retail in-store floor space is also increasing. A lot of that is driven by developing countries but it does highlight that it’s not one or the other. It’s all complementary and putting the consumer first.

It’s important to remember there isn't a one size fits all resolution, all channels have to set slightly different coordinates for different audiences.  The lines have been blurred between physical and digital and shoppers make the most of the particular environment that they find themselves in.  Technology is fast progressing and retailers must face it head-on.  The retail landscape changes at an incredible pace, and if brands don't get to grips with consumers preferences they may be left behind.

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Gillian Drakeford  
UK & Ireland Country Retail Manager
IKEA
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