Fast, flexible, and reliable fulfillment. Personalization at scale. Seamless, accurate checkout. Each of these amplified needs has created an unprecedented requirement for a true omnichannel experience, where consumers are able to interact with retailers through their preferred digital channel and have the same, ‘tailored to me’ experience each time. The new retail reality is one that is digital-first, fluid, and agile.
Leading brands and marketplaces are responding to this new reality in varying degrees, as the divide between tech-enhanced retailers and lagging counterparts grows wider. To deliver an exceptional customer experience at scale, from discovery through checkout to post-purchase support, retailers must optimize each facet of their offering, layering automation and intelligent solutions into each point of the digital journey.
In this Digital Commerce Playbook by business intelligence platform PSFK in partnership with tax compliance software firm Avalara, we present key trends and technologies across 5 stages in the purchase journey that retailers, brands and businesses should adopt to deliver best-in-class customer experiences that drive engagement and loyalty. These insights can help companies understand the changing expectations of today’s consumers, explore leading-edge CX innovations and prioritize their software and solutions investment roadmap.
Published May 2020
Meeting the demand for speed and immediacy by using the physical store and other convenient locations to fulfill online orders and facilitate a hassle-free return process, meeting consumers on their own terms and adapting to their ever-changing set of needs through flexible pickup and delivery options.Elevated POS
Retailers are leveraging interactive digital & mobile-app displays harnessing tech like AI, AR and VR that allow shoppers to search and discover product information as well as other other relevant information to elevate their shopping experience. This includes adjusting in-store displays, pricing and service through biometric recognition to reflect customer profiles, loyalty accounts or unlocked rewards and promotions—creating a custom shopping experience for each visitor, at scale.Anticipatory Support
Retailers are applying machine learning and data aggregation tools to anticipate consumers’ needs based on situational or emotional contexts and provide service or product recommendations. This includes using data generated by mobile apps to create a unified view of members’ behaviors and preferences, as well as leveraging RFID and other technologies to detect items that shoppers are interacting with in order to target shoppers in the moment and drive incremental sales. It also encompasses taking targeted advertising offline with recognition technologies that allow brands to pinpoint and deliver the most relevant ads to specific consumers near physical point-of-purchase.Informed Associates
Despite collecting a variety of insights on individual shoppers from their online browsing behaviors, purchase history, loyalty membership and location, most companies fail to develop this information into an actionable customer view. New platforms are bringing these details to the forefront of retail interactions, enabling associates to recognize their customers and deliver personalized service. This encompasses the adoption of machine-learning and AI-enabled systems to interpret data and power tailored 1:1 interactions, equipping staff with tech-enabled resources to connect with consumers and provide next-level service. It also includes investing in communication platforms that help employees share real-time information to ensure highly informed customer support.Virtual Consults
Brands and retailers are using virtual platforms to streamline conversation between consumers and experts, providing analyses and solutions tailored to each customer for optimal product results. This includes leveraging AI-supported conversational assistants that use natural language processing to help shoppers effortlessly navigate questions.