September 25, 2017 | Written by: Joel Pinto
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Evolving technology and the rapid expansion of interactive touch points and devices has fundamentally changed the way we shop. Consumers are taking charge of their own shopping experiences by using various channels to help them get the right information to make choices. They expect services, values and experiences consistent across channels, whether it’s online or at a physical store.
How customers make decisions
It’s an open secret that people often buy based on emotion and then justify afterwards with logic. To appeal to both logic and emotion, a merchandiser needs to understand when the person is in which state. Logic makes people say, “I will think about it.” Emotion makes people say, “I want it now.”
A brand is emotionally appealing to a shopper when a credible person (through consumer reviews) reaffirms the customer’s own prior experiences with the brand. A brand is logically appealing when the perceived value of the merchandise is higher than its actual cost. Both of these states are reinforced when the brand delivers consistently across all channels.
With information available at their fingertips, consumers do their own research, seek reviews and form a perception of value as they compare competing brands. But to be a top-of-mind brand, your IT systems need to be well-oiled enough to deliver the right engagement for both the logical and the emotional states.
How to build the right shopping experience for customers
Shoppers expect a personalized service, a guided shopping experience, the choice to browse a broader variety of merchandise and the flexibility to order anytime and anywhere in a smooth manner.
Once a purchase decision is made, customers expect a seamless experience that enables them to use loyalty points, coupons, gift cards and so on, irrespective of the medium. Shoppers use innovative payment methods and expect retailers to be in step with them. The same is expected at the stage of product delivery in terms of flexibility of time, location or channel.
After-service, or returns, also form a critical part of reinforcing an emotional appeal. Customers expect the convenience of a product swap, straight refund or credit reusable across channels and touch points.
These ubiquitous technological advances, combined with the constant pressure on margins, are forcing a pace of change that is overwhelming for many retailers. The store can no longer operate as a silo, but instead it must become an integral part of an immersive multi-channel experience.
Join our webinar to listen as analysts, clients and IBM experts examine trends shaping customer engagement in the retail industry, and how API-led approaches are enabling companies to transform the experience across touch points to provide a seamless customer journey.