Today we are continuing our discussions on “Innovating Your Retail Enterprise For Suatainable Profitability And Growth: Keys Imperatives For Success” and we shall be looking at a critical area retailers should be investing considering todays dynamic retail ecosystem, particularly the constantly changing nature of the consumers and the competition i.e “creating a superior customer experience”.
However, If you missed the our previous discussion, you can view them here:
A SUPERIOR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Retailers must never lose sight of the ultimate goal: ensuring that customers have pleasant, memorable buying experiences that build loyalty and repeat sales. Today, that increasingly means providing customers with added flexibility and convenience – allowing them to shop (and return goods) anywhere and simplifying purchase processes.
It also means defending the retail brand by ensuring that the brand promise is executed for every customer at every touchpoint in every channel. Some experts call this “store fusion” – where your inventory becomes interchangeable among all channels. If a product isn’t in one store, a sales associate can find the product through the retailer’s Web site or call centre and have it shipped to the customer. Or a customer could order a product online and pick it up from a nearby retail store.
When it comes to managing inventory, newer technologies, such as store inventory management, RFID, and advanced inventory planning help retailers know exactly what merchandise is in which stores – on the sales floor or in the back room – so they can get the right products to consumers more efficiently. Better inventory plans, and replenishment cycles, reduces out-of-stocks and the dreaded overstock situation.
One related aspect of creating a memorable experience that delights the customer: the workforce. From attentive salespeople on the floor to responsive service managers in call centres, the customer experience still comes down to having the right people – with the right skills, training, and facilities – to execute the strategy.
With most retailers spending millions in employee turnover costs, maintaining a stable and smart workforce is both a major cost advantage and a necessary prerequisite for delivering a memorable experience for the customer that creates loyalty and repeat purchasing behaviour.
The bottom line: A superior customer experience – driven by a seamless inventory system that connects merchandise with buyers and a stable,
well equipped workforce – increases sales.
A superior customer experience enabled strategy integrates sales channels (store, call centre, e-commerce, catalog, and partners) and seamlessly connects the supply chain and enterprise to those channels to provide a better shopping experience. By making inventory interchangeable among all channels, retailers and customers have greater flexibility. For example, a customer may order an item online, but pick it up at a nearby store. If an item is out of stock at one store, a sales associate can fulfil the order through the retailer’s Web site and have the item shipped directly to the customer.
When done well, the results are:
- Increased comparable-store sales
- Stronger customer loyalty
- Greater associate productivity
- Lower store expenses
Watch out for the concluding part of our discussions on “Innovating Your Retail Enterprise For Suatainable Profitability And Growth: Keys Imperatives For Success”.