Omni-channel is the way forward

Alex Koshy shares trends in retail technology.
Omni-channel is the way forward

How is the Indian retail industry evolving in terms of technology adoption?

We would say that the retail industry has vastly increased its adoption of technologies in recent years, particularly in the CRM space as emphasis has shifted largely from marketing loyalty programs to a more customer centric one. Retailers are now more focused on what customers expect from a retail experience and trying to exceed that expectation.

Many retailers are looking at technology to better understand customers, and improve the experience they deliver to them. This is not just through the more traditional channels such as the store, but also looking to offer genuine online experiences through e-commerce sites and B2C web portals.

Adoption has also risen (and will continue to rise) with increase of foreign brands investing in India.

What are the latest trends in retail technology?

There is a definite focus on solutions positively impacting the customer experience. Today, retailers are looking to differentiate themselves on their service levels and hence are looking for solutions to fit this bill. The sort of solutions we see growing in popularity are around e-commerce, consumer focused web portals, CRM, big data, customer engagement and Voice of the Customer (VoC). These types of solutions are looking to bring retailers closer to their customers and deliver a better and more tailored shopping experience.

Indian retailers are also more inclined to invest in these type of products as they see the value in investing in tech. The analyst firm Gartner reported in a recent report that IT spending will rise by 6% in India, and this only goes to show retailers putting a growing importance on technology to deliver better customer experiences.

How can retailers provide a seamless shopping experience across channels?

Customers today are taking more complex and varied journeys through their lifecycle than ever before. This is creating an increasing strain on businesses attempting to deliver better customer experience as the operational reality is that the business is siloed; and so struggles to deliver a consistent and seamless experience. Retailers need to adopt an outside-in approach to how they view this journey to be able to understand and improve the experience for the customer.

A great way to start this understanding is by simply asking customers how an experience was, and allowing them to respond in their own words. Once the business begins to imbed this direct VoC into their organisation, they can then start to understand the journey their customers take and improve it. As the programme develops it is then possible to bring in additional elements such as mapping and impacting customer lifecycles, combining attitudinal data with behavioral and cross-channel best practice sharing.

Retailers will then begin to be able to move beyond the siloed operational restraints and deliver a true omni-channel customer experience in which whatever journey a customer takes it delivers exceptional service, is consistent and seamless.

What kind of solutions do you offer retailers?

Our solutions focus on capturing, understanding and most importantly driving action from VoC. Through leveraging the customers voice we enable retailers across the global serving a range of products from financial services to telecoms and consumer electronics to deliver exceptional an customer experience.

We capture real-time VoC information from across the enterprise, analyse both structured and unstructured data and deliver these in insights either in real-time on our online dashboards or in other reporting methods to drive action.

What are some of the upcoming trends in retail technology?

We believe we’ll only see an increase in technology adoption in the retail sector in India as more foreign brands enter an already competitive market landscape. Customers’ expectations will continue to rise as they expect more and more from the brands they interact and purchase with.

Some of the new technologies we can see being adopted are Near Field Technology (NFC) which will see consumer engagement in-store evolve and increase, predictive analytics used to leverage optimise the customer journey and more mature and advanced VoC programmes to really differentiate retailers on the service they provide to customers.

 

Alex Koshy
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