As shopping shifts from physical to digital, so have the methods to understand a customer’s buying behavior, and the overall shopping experience. Gone are the days when retailers handed out feedback forms to customers and conducted a manual survey to understand a customer’s shopping experience.
On most occasions, customers rate their experiences even before they pay and check-out. While leveraging technology to understand customer experience has become a crucial game-changer for retailers, they agree that catching the customer experience then and there is the right way to go, if a retailer wishes to retain customer satisfaction.
From personalizing experiences to analyzing a customer’s purchase pattern, emergence of big data and machine learning have helped retailers, whether big or small, to understand what a customer needs. No longer are giants like Amazon or Google only privy to this data, thanks to technology again, even small players are now in a place to receive customer information that are valuable to them.
Explaining how emerging technologies can be put to strategic use by businesses for customer retention and engagement, Sandeep Bhambure, MD, Veeam, says, “Machine learning, for instance, can be a catalyst in predicting consumer behaviour and analysing customer feedback by offering right products and services using big data.”
While machine learning becomes significant to understand a customer, avoiding technical glitches and enabling hassle-free shopping is imperative too, he adds. “Near continuous availability of data is at the heart of delivering an unmatched customer experience and as businesses aim to deliver on-demand customer requirements, any downtime of application which might result in loss of critical data can impact a customer’s journey across various touch points. Victory over unpredicted downtime amongst other technical glitches will pave way for customer retention,” he says.
Technology converging sales
With online shopping, mostly over smartphone, taking over store visits and desktop buying, there have been enormous changes in the way a brand approaches a customer. For instance, tracking that a buyer is looking for a particular product on exclusive websites, e-commerce players have stepped up the way a buyer’s choice is influenced. If a customer is looking for footwear or a handbag on brand websites, Amazon could share links to the same product with better discounts to engage the customer.
Explaining how shoppers are now acquiring a taste for such convenient shopping with even chatbots assisting them with choices, K.T Prasad, Country Head, Zendesk India, says, “There is practically an app or a feature for every customer need whether it is to connect with customers over social media, or knowledge base for brands or simply even to get customer insights and answer their queries. Now, imagine, a chatbot in your voice talking to you and guiding through your shopping. Such technology trends encourage customer interaction and most often result in better performance of a brand. Most retailers are counting on such trends to converge technology and sales.”
Prasad highlights that retailers track customer behavior to understand their purchase patterns and why on some occasions cart abandonment is high. “Customer engagement has always been very important for any brand, but now with evolved technology like big data and machine learning, customer problems are resolved immediately, leading to better customer satisfaction. This is a positive trend, which will eventually lead to better sales,” he says.
Retailers take the trend forward
Understanding that customers need more access to information and mobile phones are the best way to reach them, most brands provide information, reports, updates in a way that is easily accessible via a mobile device. Most often, technology to keep data in a cloud environment and mobile applications are used to display important information so the customer can access it on the go. This has added to the convenience of shopping.
Stressing that there is strong growing trend for technology that helps understand customer satisfaction and retailers are trying to depend more on this data Zendesk VP SandieOvertveld, says,“Retailers understand that influencing a positive customer experience will increase satisfaction, resulting in higher rates of repeat sales, stronger relationships and increased revenues.The automated function of getting instant feedback from customers is definitely driving a change in the mindset of retailers. The trick now lies to convert data to make sales and drive profits.”
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