The Indian retail landscape is going through a major shake-up and becoming intensely competitive. Customer behaviour and attitudes are undergoing rapid transformations in the present times.The tech-savvy Millennial customers are not only unpredictable but they also demand greater business transparency. Consequently, retail brands are adopting various winning strategies to enhance customer experience which in turn helps acquire new customers and retain the existing ones.In this article, we will shed light on how changing retails dynamics in the face of technology disruption, the global influx of brands and maximization of footfalls have been offering the perfect customer experience.
With the advent of the digital era, conventional models of customer service are getting disrupted.Technological advancements have been transforming the way a customer shops or share his/ her shopping experiences. Presently, websites, social media, blogs and vlogs play a key role in propelling customers’ process of buying. Advanced technologies and new channels have been contributing significantly to making a retail brand stand out in the market by opening up new opportunities such as the opportunity of building a constant dialogue with customers or the opportunity of learning from customers’ behaviour so as to enhance the relevance of the brand’s offerings.
Good customer experience comes with flawless customer service. Retailers are already aware of this and have been sprucing up their customer service so as to gain a competitive edge in the market. Digitalisation is playing a crucial role on this shift, thereby making it imperative for retailers to perk up their customer service. In the olden times, customers used to share their poor customer experience with their friends and family, and currently, customers’ share their good and bad experiences via a simple tweet or a post on Facebook that reaches millions of people worldwide.A single negative message about a brand can mar its reputation whereas a positive message can do wonders in boosting a brand’s image; thus, retail brands are increasingly embracing new technology trends such as social media platform, online forums, analytics, cloud computing, and mobile computing to reinvent customer experience.
The IoT Movement:
Connected devices are also reshaping experiences by adding more connectivity and intelligence to objects, thereby revolutionising the retail sector. For example, the Internet of Things is not only propelling digital transformation but also bringing fresh opportunities by bringing everything including consumers’ activity into the digital sphere. This is compelling retailers to use intelligent devices for digitizing their offerings, processes as well as employees.By embracing IoT, retailers are reaping opportunities in three domains— supply chain, revenue stream, and customer experience.
Retailers are increasingly leveraging the power of Big Data for making precise strategic decisions besides enhancing customers’ shopping experience. Big Data enables retailers to comprehend what their customers are looking for throughout their buying journey. It also helps retailers to predict the demand of customers so that they can adapt to the market changes accordingly. Moreover, data analytics also enable retailers to determine product prices more accurately. It also helps retailers in predicting the right time to reduce the price of their offerings.
Happiness Metres at POS (Point-of-sale): In order to gauge the shopping experience of customers, many retailers have happiness meters at the POS. Happiness meters are an easy way for retailers to comprehend customer satisfaction on a daily basis.
Global Influx of Brands: The Millennial customers put a strong emphasis on global brands; thus, the latter is taking centre stage in shopping malls. Mall owners today are embracing global brands as they bring in a new set of customers and also yield better returns per square ft. compared to the domestic retail brands. For example, Indian malls having retail outlets of brands like Forever 21, Zara, Massimo Dutti,H&M, Armani or Starbucks attract good number of customers. Thus, to enhance customer experience, shopping malls are increasingly accommodating global brands by expelling domestic brands altogether or by reducing the size of domestic stores.
Footfall is a crucial factor for retailers. Decent footfalls not only help drive sales but also enhance conversion rates. Footfall analytics can provide crucial insights for enhancing customer service, boosting sales and optimizing staff. Footfall analytics tracks the pattern of visitor traffic to reveal when the levels of footfalls in a retail storerise and fall, and how many people visiting the store are actually buying its products or services. Improved customer experience is the only factor that motivates shoppers to spend more with a brand. Thus, retailers have been taking measures to convert footfalls into sales by offering visitors more than just a transaction in their stores so as toimprove customer experience.
Considering these developments, we can conclude that the retail sector will witness a noticeable transformation in years to come. The retail scenario in India has always been dynamic. Retail competition in the country is escalating and shifting to new arenas. Simultaneously, the purchase decisions of 21st-century customers are evolving rapidly. The modern tech-savvy customers want their buying experience to be an amalgamation of offline and online. It is the responsibility of the retailers and brandsto provide the shoppers with unique customer experience. Retailers who understand consumer behaviour and meet their ever-evolving expectations will ultimately emerge as the winners.
The article has been penned down by Abhishek Bansal, Executive Director of Pacific India Group.