Retailers failing to prioritise the importance of the customer journey in their quest to build consumer loyalty risk giving their competitors an advantage.
That's the message from retail technology specialist K3 CRM, at a time when figures released by Walker Solutions predict that by 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. With so much riding on delivering an outstanding customer experience, retailers must now explore ways in which they can successfully enhance the customer buying journey.
According to K3 CRM, being able to effectively utilise data stored in customer centric business systems, and using this to build loyalty is the key. However, in order to be truly effective, this data must also integrate with back end transactional systems too.
Andrew Bray, Managing Director at K3 CRM explained: "We are seeing a shift away from traditional price wars as retailers explore new ways to engage with their customers to build loyalty. Retailers are looking for ways to show existing customers they are loved, ensuring they remain loyal to their brand. If they make it easier for customers to shop with them, for example by giving them unique deals as a reward for loyalty and by opening up stronger lines of communication to engage with their brand, then a customer is likely to return again and again. A happy customer is also a customer who will refer their favourite brands to their friends as well as remaining loyal themselves. This can have a positive impact on bottom line figures for retail businesses."
According to consulting firm Accenture, 66% of customers will switch to another company following a poor customer experience, especially if it is one not dealt with effectively following a complaint. Part of the reason that retailers are struggling to build customer loyalty, according to K3 CRM, is because the number of channels available to communicate with customers is spiraling. Many retail businesses are still focusing on point of sale applications and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to manage transactional processes, but these are not providing a holistic view of customer preferences and shopping habits. By integrating CRM into the broader spectrum, retailers can manage everything from demand and inventory to pricing and the customer experience, bringing them much closer to their customers.
In order to help retailers offer customers an exceptional customer experience, K3 CRM has teamed up with Microsoft and renowned digital media trainer and consultant Andrew Davies to help retail businesses address the issues of customer loyalty and experience, brand engagement through social media, and customer relationship management at an exclusive event at the Museum of London on February 25. The free event brings together a host of retail experts and businesses to share best practice on how retailers can utilise technology to love their customers.
As part of the event, attendees will also get to hear from Tony Bryant, Strategic Business Development Director at K3's dedicated K3 Retail division. Tony, recently attended the NRF's annual conference in New York and will be sharing his key takeaways, including upcoming retail trends, from Retail's Big Show.
Andrew Bray continued: "Over recent years there have been some significant shifts within the retail sector, with the latest seeing retailers changing focus from onmi-channel, instead focusing on the customer journey as a whole. Retailers must now acknowledge that customer experience is more than just a business function, it is a business goal. Now that consumers are using so many different technology platforms as part of their buying journey it seems sensible that technology can also help retailers respond. Retailers should look at increasing the touch points through which their customers can engage with them, and simultaneously use all the data gathered from their CRM systems in order to fully understand their customers' buying journey."
"By utilising CRM and other data driven systems, retailers can learn more about who their customers are, what and how they are buying goods and how best to service their needs. Simple things like communicating with customers through social media, becoming more responsive, and recognising and rewarding loyalty can go a long way to achieving customer retention, those who fail to acknowledge this risk having their competitors understand their customers better than they do."