One superior, seamless customer experience to rule them all!
With strides in mobility and capable supply chain management, it has become possible for retailers to provide a continuous and unbroken shopping experience to customers, regardless of the channels they use on the way. Mobile devices, tablets, laptops, computers, brick-and-mortar stores, direct mail…whatever the medium is or the number of back or forth steps between them, retailers have become adept at ensuring that consumers have a single takeaway from it all, one single, lasting brand impression.
This has often led to the blurring of lines between a physical store location and a digital one. One blends into another ; one adds value to another, one complements the other. And how?
Let us examine a real-life example – Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s mastermind has installed iPads in the changing rooms of his flagship London store. Why, you ask? So, shoppers can take their selfies in outfits, apply appropriate filters to the pictures, and then share them with friends on social media via Facebook, Twitter or email for a second opinion. The store also has iPad minis integrated into the display racks, allowing customers to check out the entire collection online and buy online –while in the store !
Or Burberry, for example, that has armed every sales associates across their 300 stores worldwide with an iPad in a bid to increase customer loyalty, in-store experience and collect valuable shopping analytics.
Or Barneys New York that is enhancing the luxury experience with mobile point-of-sale on tablets and ‘the River’, a digital table top made up of twenty eight interactive touch screens in the café that allows customers to place food orders, shop and browse all on the same surface.
Lest you think this is a phenomenon associated with just luxury retailers, think again. No omni-channel retailing experience tale is complete without mentioning Starbucks. They do an excellent job of providing a seamless experience – users can check card balance and make payments via the web, at the store or online and this information is updated in real time across all channels.
Or be it Crate and Barrel that lets user save shopping lists and move from the phone to the tablet to desktop to complete their selections and orders. Or Macys that has made huge strides in providing their customers with an intuitive website and mobile app that not only makes shopping easier, but provides valuable insights into shopping behavior and future merchandising strategies.
Retailers, big or small have had to keep up with the rapid changes in the shopping landscape today. What started off with responsive websites and mobile apps has now morphed into considerations like ensuring a strong network within brick and mortar stores, enabling guest wi-fi usage for customers to use while in the store and mobile-savvy store associates who seize every opportunity to ensure customers needs are met, be it in the store or on a tablet.
The Mobile Retail Revolution is by no means a new phenomenon. But, it is such a rapidly changing field that it provides retailers and marketers alike with ample opportunities to learn from and fine tune the shopping experience on a regular basis. With every innovation, comes along a new chance at increased customer delight.
Mobility has been a key addition to the entire omni-channel experience and something that will continue to fashion changes in the years to come. Thoughts?
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