Technology and The Customer Journey

By: Gina Lee De Freitas

Technology has played a crucial role in transforming the way that consumers interact with retail stores, both online and in-store. The National Retail Federation (NRF) published their most recent Consumer View, which outlines how consumers have responded to the latest in retail tech. Here are the key takeaways and thoughts on incorporating these findings into your customer journey strategy.

NRF reports that by 2021, an estimated 80 percent of retail and CPG executives expect to be using intelligent automation in nearly every aspect of their business from supply chain to product design, customer acquisition, and retention. Their study also reports a positive review from consumers when it comes to technology that has already been integrated into the shopping experience. Of those surveyed, 80% believe online shopping has improved, 66% see an increase for in-store experience and 63% see an increase in their mobile shopping experience. 

These positive responses to technology integrations are not without frustrations. The majority of consumer frustration lies in the steps leading up to the purchase - researching, reading reviews and checking prices. In fact, consumers are most interested (47%) in technological solutions for research and reviews. Our recommendation is to build an experience that allows consumers to quickly and clearly identify differences and why they matter. Does this particular product offer exclusive features or limited edition colors? Does this one have a smaller environmental impact? Let your consumers know!

In terms of solutions, consumers are at the ready with opinions on how retailers can improve their pre-purchase experience. Among the most popular ideas are showcasing whether a product is in stock/available, assistance with comparing prices/reviews, and the creation of an easier navigation to find a product or a location. 

Essentially, consumers are asking retailers to take the guesswork out of finding specific product offerings. Consumers want to know quickly where to find their desired product, which version will work best for their needs, and how they can quickly buy it. Regardless of how easy your purchasing process may be, customers first need to find the right product for them. 

In looking towards future technology development, consumers are readily available to adapt. Highest on their list of technology they’d like to try (for the first time or again) are in-app store navigation, smart dressing rooms, augmented reality and visual search. With in-app navigation and visual search, customers can quickly navigate towards desired items quicker. With augmented reality and smart dressing rooms, consumers have the opportunity to interact with the product to see how it might better fit their lifestyle. 

As you look toward your customer’s experience look for ways for them to reallocate time from finding what they need towards figuring out which product best fits their needs.  

What’s interesting to note is that while these suggestions are all about technology, they aren’t laser-focused on the mobile experience. In spite of reports that more and more people are shopping online, this study tells us that consumers are also craving updates to the whole customer journey with both online and in-store touchpoints. 

Our key takeaway - craft a best in class digital experience for your customer by making it simple, personal and fast. Create a big impact for your customer by following their digital journey with an enjoyable offline brand experience that will lead to building a customer for life.

About Ideas Made Measurable!

At IMM, creating action isn’t just what we do — it’s who we are. Our agency is built to deliver full service capabilities while also delivering measurable results. Big data is the marketing buzzword everyone talks about but few understand. We are here to explain in plain English how data-driven, bottoms-up marketing strategies can help generate leads, drive sales and build your brand. We leverage the expertise of the staff at IMM, a data-driven, full-service digital advertising agency based in Boulder, Colorado.

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