10 Ways To Provide a Cutting-Edge Retail Customer Experience

Delighting customers isn’t about getting one thing right; it’s about firing on all cylinders, both online and in brick-and-mortar stores, to make an authentic connection with buyers to drive satisfaction and loyalty.

What does that look and feel like? Here are 10 examples of best practices that represent the state of the art in retail CX.

Retailers Succeed at Listings, Struggle on Rankings, Review Response

Retailers scored best on average on listings, suggesting that management is succeeding at getting multi-location stores to optimize the fundamentals of their online presence. The poorest average category score, rankings, indicates brands are failing to pop up when consumers search for unbranded items. At a time when consumers are increasingly searching for items “near me” instead of brand-name stores where they could find those items, businesses stand to gain if they invest in non-brand-specific keywords.

VR is the Next Commerce Frontier. Strap on Your Headset

An unfamiliar sight has emerged among the familiar photos of family gatherings posted to social media this holiday season: people wearing next-generation virtual reality devices. Between the turkey and pie courses, grandma strapped on a headset and jumped into a futuristic reality. 

Thanks to rapidly evolving technology, lower prices, and the support of 5G networks, this uncommon sight may soon become a common experience. While just 11% of Americans reported owning VR technology in 2018, VR hardware and software sales are expected to skyrocket 587% to $5.5 billion by 2023, up from an estimated $800 million last year.

The move from tethered to standalone VR stands to change the way users connect with every aspect of the world — including e-commerce. 

Foot Traffic Data Shows Signs of Retail Apocalypse Can Speak to Smart Retail Strategy

Over the last year, we saw many well-known brands close their doors and scale back their offline footprints. While many believed this to be a sign of weakness, it was, in fact, a sign of a very effective corporate strategy.  

Retailers such as Macy’s and Walmart both faced multiple closures in 2019, but when digging deeper and analyzing specific store locations, we uncover a much more informative narrative than simple brick-and-mortar decline.

Free and Premium Loyalty Programs Can and Should Coexist

Brands like Lululemon and Restoration Hardware have strong, headline-making loyalty programs with annual fees upwards of $100. But thousands of brands also have free, points-based loyalty programs — can the two coexist in a single brand? 

The short answer: Yes. With shoppers’ desire for richer experiences and more valuable rewards and retailers’ need to gather data to support these desires, a blend of both premium and free loyalty is an advantageous route. 

Using Location Intelligence as Marketing Pixels for the Real World

Without pixels, marketing in the digital world would be a guessing game. However, with 90% of all commerce still taking place in the physical world, oftentimes marketers find themselves in the dark, not knowing how their customers are interacting with their brands offline. Enter location intelligence, or as we like to call it, pixels for the real world. 

Take a moment to reflect on the past few weeks. Did you stop at a coffee shop on the way to work? Did you work out on specific days of the week at a nearby gym? Are there restaurants you frequent when you are too lazy to cook at home? In a study, published in Nature Human Behaviour, researchers found that people frequent up to 25 places at any given time period. Similar to marketing pixels placed on websites, the ability to understand physical, real-world behavior such as path-to-purchase, visitation patterns, day-of-week preferences, and daily activities fuels more strategic decision making. 

3 Ways DTC Brands Impact Legacy CPG Playbooks

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands have forced legacy CPG brands into a major strategy shift. The rumblings of the digital transformation signaled change was coming, and the rise of DTC brands has led CPGs to rethink consumer engagement and the marketing tactics necessary to achieve that goal. And, in today’s digital-first marketplace, CPG margins are tightening because of the competition from DTCs as well as Amazon’s white-label product lines.

The result of these challenges sees the CPG playbook evolving to meet the digital-first ecosystem through tactics including investing in acquisitions, moving advertising budgets into digital, and including emerging marketing channels such as experiential marketing to create brand awareness and make direct consumer connections.

Shift in Gift-Giving Culture Speaks to Changes in Digital Commerce

At the heart of the shift in gift-giving culture is the rise of online shopping. While previous generations would take to their local shops or markets to find the perfect gifts, today the process is infinitely simpler thanks to online retail giants like Amazon. At the click of a button, Internet users can purchase a present to be sent directly to their (or, even better, the recipient’s) door. Indeed, this is how the majority of people appear to be approaching gift giving today; approximately three quarters of consumers in the UK say they now buy more than half of their Christmas presents online. 

The Retail Fight Against Showrooming

If showrooming didn’t make brick-and-mortar retail obsolete, it’s definitely disrupting it for the better. The question is what brands need to do to survive and thrive through this transition. The answer lies in omnichannel marketing and sales, which is a many-pieced puzzle. Let’s explore what that means and why showrooming took off in the first place.

The Retailpocalypse Doesn’t Have to Be Scary for Local Businesses

Headlines about retail closures suggest it’s Amazon’s world and we’re all just living in it, but there’s more to the story. For local businesses, in particular, there’s ample reason to be optimistic that the retail apocalypse doesn’t have to spell end times. In fact, exactly the opposite could be true. Let’s walk through a few of the reasons for optimism. 

Heard on the Street, Episode 28: Location-Based Survival of the Fittest, With Gimbal

According to Gimbal’s SVP of location platforms Adrian Tompsett, the key to the location business is having a long-term and holistic view of customer value. That means using location intelligence to go beyond just triggering promotions to increase the customers’ basket size, instead using the technology in ways that will provide additional value in the long term.

Fostering Brand-Customer Relationships in the Age of Social Checkout and Chatbots

Currently, 74% of consumers visit the social media pages of brands to inspire future purchases. And as evidenced by the popularity of Instagram Checkout, sales tools like Apple Business Chat, and new ad products like Google‘s Shoppable Ads, the industry is rapidly moving towards commerce that removes the friction between inspiration and an actual purchase.

But when the path to purchase is shortened, so is the opportunity for brand and customer to interact, which is probably what attracted your customers in the first place. Especially in the world of social media, brand persona is an enduring element that differentiates your brand and creates fans out of customers.

The good news is, you don’t have to sacrifice brand voice for a social commerce strategy. In fact, with the right tools, you can enhance it.

How Mom-and-Pop Shops Can Attract Customers Year Long, Not Just on Small Business Saturday

Dan Silver: Why should small businesses be limited to one great day of sales a year? Now more than ever, owners have an arsenal of tools at their disposal to help them drive more visits and generate revenue. Here are a few sustainable solutions for local businesses.