50% of retailers expect a larger budget for CX technology investments this year. But does the same apply to the retail conglomerate business as well?
The Coronavirus pandemic has shifted the paradigm for retail businesses by driving customer and audience traffic to digital channels and platforms. The stark change is evident from the fact that, earlier, the online sales that reported a CAGR of 14 per cent for the four-year period that immediately preceded the pandemic saw a 25 per cent growth in just two weeks of March, with grocery shopping leading the baton.
What is a retail conglomerate business?
A conglomerate is a corporation wherein one company owns a controlling stake in several unrelated businesses. All these companies conduct their operations independently. Retail conglomerates are merchandising corporations with diversified retailing under central ownership. Diversified retailing, through a multi-branding strategy, offers superior management systems and scale economies.
How different is digital transformation for other businesses compared to a retail conglomerate business?
Now, this is a broad question to ask. The digital transformation for retail conglomerate businesses is more focused on personalization, driven by consumer demographics, pop culture and other factors. To put things into perspective, let us relate this to an online medical provider. The medicines and diagnosis are pretty much standard. The online medium offers ease of access and convenience.
However, the digital transformation does take place in the medical field in the area of patient engagement. From that aspect, both consumers and patients become the driving force for the integration of tech solutions. Additionally, customers are referred to as ‘digital’ or ’omni-shoppers’ because the buying habits of these people are not solely limited to visits to malls and brick-and-mortar stores. Conglomerate retail sits in the pockets of their denim. All that you need is a compatible smartphone or a device with a decent internet connection. But, with patient management, this is not all. There is the requirement of education and support through nurturing.
Why or How CX can prove significant in transforming your conglomerate business digitally?
Customer experience is no longer limited to after-sales support services or handling grievances. It goes way beyond.
Augmented Reality (AR)
The pandemic has seen the shutdown of several stores. In this regard, the avenue of AR is among the technological advancements taking the digital leap. Companies have restructured their approaches for reaching and selling goods and services to the target audiences. It was Pokemon Go! in 2016 that made AR more approachable to people. Since then, the armoury of ardent users has increased. According to research conducted by Interactions Consumer Experience Marketing, 71 per cent of shoppers said they would return to a retailer that operates using Augmented Reality.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI, although present, is yet to make a mark in the mainstream. The purpose is to amplify human capabilities, thereby reducing efforts towards solving routine issues. AI offers an extensive range of solutions and approaches, especially in omnichannel integration strategies. The result is hyper-personalized customer-retailer interactions.
Can CX help lessen the gap between the brand promise & brand experience?
The first step is reimagining an ambitious yet achievable position. Move on to identifying aspects that are deemed crucial to customers. Touchpoints are essential, and the way to achieve these is to identify experience factors and quantify the correct amount and intensity of investment.
Digital is all about collaboration. The more the collaboration (meaningful), the narrower the gap shall be. Think of this endeavour as a long term investment. With that said, the focus should be on generating lifetime value rather than acquisition. Lastly, your brand should focus on experience innovation.
Learn how we helped Dubai-based megacorp to enhance the customer engagement with brand recognition and streamlined experiences on Sitecore Digital Experience Platform
Examples of retail conglomerate businesses who have adopted CX and transformed their business
The retail magnate, Amazon, through Amazon Echo, offers voice assistance to audiences. What this voice assistant essentially does is helps streamline the shopping process, thereby enhancing customer experience. Note that customer satisfaction and loyalty are among top priorities for retail businesses. And hence, the more that the customers enjoy their shopping experiences, the higher the drive in the sales numbers. Additionally, AI software also serves as a guide for consumers. For example, when it comes to choosing a gift for their loved one.
When it comes to AR technology, retailers are reimagining the digital shopping experience through virtual storefronts. The retailer, Kohl, recently collaborated with Snapchat to create the Kohl’s AR Virtual Closet. All that users have to do is unlock their smartphones and log on to Snapchat. Once there, the magic begins to happen. Think of it as virtual realism. The collaboration offers users an AR dressing room that allows them to mix and match items. They can also make a purchase using the application. The customer experience is amplified as the items in the Virtual Closet are continually updated based on consumer needs and patterns.
Few CX enhancements that can augment your business digitally
- Prioritizing customer feedback: Chatbots and other platforms help offer instant feedback about your brand. In this light, social media accounts also play a vital role in shaping the brand image.
- Eliminating high effort tasks: Augmented Reality is helpful in this regard as consumers can now try out varied items and mix up the options to get their desired match.
- Finding an efficient platform: Depends on the consumer preferences and where most of the target audience resides.
- Delivering quick insights: Tracking devices and analytical tools help in this endeavour.
- Creating smooth digital customer journeys: The entire process must become intuitive, from advertising, informing to assisting and converting.
- A mix of automation and human efforts to better understand customers’ needs: The automation can focus on data analytics, while the human actions take care of the emotional side of the purchase.
There is a lot that needs exploration going ahead. One such trajectory is a gamified social experience. The high-end apparel brand, Burberry, has recently partnered with Snapchat on creating an in-store AR game. Brands such as Estee Lauder and Gucci have followed suit by creating mobile arcade games. Yet another trend is remodelling virtual goods as commodities. One such brand that offers virtual merchandise for sale is Louis Vuitton, in League of Legends. With that said, going ahead, whether one could buy apparel or art virtually is yet an area worth exploring.
The same concept applies to retail conglomerates. Given their sheer range of products and diverse categories, it is important to look at them in a holistic manner when integrating the rules of CX. Adapty takes a proactive step in bringing such multi-faced storefronts to speed. Our omnichannel approach coupled with a customer-centric design helps you exceed expectations for a better experience.
Reach out to one of our Retail CX experts today to see how we’ve transformed businesses like yours for higher engagement, retention and conversions.