Retail Trends Driving Better Customer Experience

Written by: Rhian Buller, senior field marketing manager at Genesys.

Originally appeared at: https://www.retail-week.com/retail-voice/five-retail-trends-that-are-driving-better-cx/7031632.article?authent=1

What lies in store for the future of retail customer experience (CX)? Genesys gives a rundown of the top five trends that should be part of every director’s strategy.

Due in no small part to technology, shopper expectations are at an all-time high.

So high in fact, that poor CX is unforgivable for many shoppers. With consumers surrounded by new tech and innovations in their everyday lives, they expect this to be reflected in retail, too.

We’ve highlighted five big trends that promise to help retailers provide better and more seamless CX while simultaneously improving customer loyalty.

1. Personalization

From offers that appeal to consumers’ individual tastes to customer service that acknowledges who the customer is and their past relationship with a retailer, personalisation can create more satisfying experiences.

Personalization makes it easier for customers to find items that interest them and get the right help when they need it.

2. Artificial intelligence

Building on the personalisation trend, artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most important innovations enabling retailers to offer personalised experiences – both online and in store.

AI offers retail employees relevant insights into consumer shopping histories and habits so they can be provided with a more tailored service, which then leads to higher customer satisfaction.

“70% of consumers still want, and prefer, human interaction”

Retailers should use AI’s efficiency to enhance the CX service offered by staff, instead of as a replacement for employees, as consumers still value a human touch.

A 2018 report by Sitel Group found that 70% of consumers still want, and prefer, human interaction over engaging with a digital retail agent or chatbot.

3. Experiential innovation

Many recent innovations – including wearable tech, augmented reality, and voice and facial recognition – have been created specifically to enhance and influence the customer journey.

There will always be technologies of questionable value, so retailers should look to assess each innovation to see where it fits in the journey – if at all.

4. Voice control

Consumers are becoming more familiar and comfortable with voice interfaces.

Voice-controlled AI assistants, such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, have seen a huge rise in popularity in the past couple of years.

Market research company eMarketer estimates that the number of UK smart speaker users will grow to 12.6 million by the end of 2019 – up 31.6% from 9.5 million in 2018.

Across the course of this year, there will be much experimentation as retailers look to differentiate themselves in voice search, but this medium should ideally reach all parts of the multichannel customer journey.

5. Employee experience

As cliched as it may be, the phrase ‘happy employees equals happy customers’ usually rings true.

Engaged employees are more willing to go the extra mile to give customers great experiences.

One of the quickest and most cost-effective ways for retailers to increase engagement is through empowerment.

“Engaged employees are more willing to go the extra mile to give customers great experiences”

Give employees the right tools (some of the tech highlighted in point three for example) and equip them with the right information, and they can create the kind of connected moments that lie at the heart of positive retail CX.

The path to better CX in retail

For the retail industry, this is a time of great innovation, with new technologies and capabilities opening paths to better CX.

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