As a retailer, would you rather grow by 17% or 3%?
Yes, we’d suck at a game of “Would You Rather” because this one is stupidly obvious. However, it is a hard hitting truth that experience leaders grow their retail business at an average of 17% over 5 years, compared to their experience laggard peers.
Customer experience is everything because it really IS everything by definition. Whether good or bad, customer experience is unwittingly already being provided at every level- including all people, logistics, system, and management involved. So how do you ensure that great experiences are built into your retail customer journey?
Much like Grasshopper, we have much to learn from these greats.
Amazon knows that their customers value making purchases that are informed by research, so they serve reviews, images of the product as uploaded by previous buyers as well as a comparison against similar available products. While this is an e-commerce example, customer centricity is an important take-away. Understanding customer behaviour can help you to optimize your store in new ways.
For example, E-commerce revealed that people prefer to browse through fragrances according to the scent families like floral or spicy notes, and not by brand. As a result of this finding, Macy’s and Perch Interactive implemented new mixed reality product displays organised by scent families.
The result was a double lift in sales. Remember, the customer invests a higher level of time and effort when visiting a store as they do with an online search, so naturally the store should be even more focused on reducing friction in customer journeys, and on helping them make purchase decisions.
Another on the Forbes list, this omni-channel beauty brand calls around 2300 stores home, worldwide. They are digital disruptors using technology to keep make-up shopping a personal and rapturous affair.
Make up shops can be intimidating, with rows and rows of colour-coded promises to make you look better, designed by people who probably know what suits you better than you do. Right?
You want to make up your own mind, to try and see what you like. And Sephora’s here for it.
Their in-store “Beauty Hub” is a digitally-enabled experience helping customers find their most ideal products. It’s virtual lookbook gives personalized inspiration, and a Virtual Artist service lets you test out looks using augmented reality and mixed reality.
Sephora have executed considering their understanding of their customers in order to optimize the store for customer’s specific behaviour and desires.
Lowes’ experiments with technology in the pursuit of better customer experience has been an interesting journey to watch.
These are just 3 of their shiniest technological investments:
This autonomous robot answered basic questions, and navigated customers through a store. It kept track of inventory in real time and detected sales patterns that could guide business decisions. The Lowe-bot was a pilot project for only one year, concluding with the finding that any tech additions must lead to better person to person connections. So there it is, you didn’t have to pay for a bot to learn that insight.
This home improvement visualisation tool showed 3D renders of objects within customer’s homes, which is a similar concept to Ikea Place and Amazon View.
As you can see, digital innovation does not always mean differentiation in the eyes of customers.
This in-store VR experience teaches customers how to use their home improvement products. It is unique to the function of the store, giving a memorable experience that leaves customers more equipped to do the job than when they entered.
Yet another make up retailer making up the Forbes list, Glossier wisely wedged themselves in the gap between drug store brands and high end luxury. Because of this, their business revolves around practices that fit in with people’s every day lives.
They initially aimed to empower customers and communities with fun and educational content and are now extending their community into brick and mortar stores.
What is most notable is that they’ve created interesting structures within their organisation. What really stands out is that customer service agents are integrated into the marketing team, and are tasked with listening to customers and sharing their unique experiences and recommendations.
Some of the best marketing is actually just caring for the customer. An aspect taken to another level when one employee helped a fire evacuee.
While the Thomas Fire burned through California, a Glossier employee spent days conversing with a customer who had to evacuate. The employee followed up to make sure the customer and her family were safe. After the customer returned home, Glossier sent a package with the customer’s favorite makeup products.
The common denominator employed by all companies: Solve for the customer.
It’s clear that remarkable customer experience can take many forms- however just adding a restaurant or a popular new technology to your store is not an end in itself. Customer experience leaders first identify broken parts of the customer journey and then focus their time, money and skills into solutions for these real problems.
Vision Customer-Analytics can help you get in the lead. Computer Vision and AI combine to show which areas need improvement, and the potential your store holds. Understanding is the first step to streamlining your in-store operations with solutions that bring joy and drive your KPI’s.
Visit Vision.gl now and let’s get started.