While the demise of traditional retailers such as Sears, is often attributed to technology growth, the real killer is lack of attention to customer experience, choice and market direction.
Consumers have easy access to a broad range of choices, personalization of offers and quick easy online-enhanced experience. Therefore they expect ‘friction-free’ ability to access what they want immediately – without searching through a large store with variable customer service levels.
The answer for many traditional retailers is to learn from and leverage technology (including online providers such as Amazon to provide a choice of shopping modality).
Keys to success include:
- Segmentation of customers by demographics, requirements, buying patterns to best understand, proactively address and anticipate needs of each specific segment
- Leveraging technology to ensure the right stock is easily available and promoted to each customer segment.
- Training in-store employees on merchandise, suggestions for use and communication skills – after all the people are the primary advantage traditional retail has over an online shopping experience
- Pricing items based on customer demand and value with personalized offers for each customer segment
- Customer loyalty recognition by instore employees as well as rewards programs
- Gathering feedback from customers along with analytics of shopping behavior
- Leverage technology along with input from store employees to gain greater predictive insight into consumer needs.
By leveraging technology to enhance the ‘friction-free’ customer journey through the shopping experience, retailers can achieve success today into the future.