The Way Forward in Retail and E-Commerce Customer Experience | Tech Mahindra

The Way Forward in Retail and E-Commerce Customer Experience

Retailers and e-commerce firms are looking to hold on to their customers in an increasingly fluid digital economy. Creating customer centric shopping experience is now an imperative. The reality is now clear as daylight that retail and e-commerce are not inherently separate but have to coexist and collaborate to be able to survive and grow.

Customer experience is increasingly becoming a key differentiator. Retail and e-commerce have to scramble to build robust yet flexible structures to enhance the digital customer experience.

Artificial Intelligence and 24-hour Support

AI-powered technologies are here to stay and we have to integrate it with chatbots and virtual assistants to be able to provide 24-hour support. Chatbots with human support is necessary to be able to streamline customer support. This is especially important when customer support is closed during non-business hours.

Omni Channel

Omni channel is no longer a futuristic idea. There is a clear need to integrate social media, search behaviour and self-service with on ground staff and contact centres.

Omni channel is now a dynamic system because it is not merely inbound from the customer’s end. Retailers and e-commerce firms can use it for their own promotion and marketing too.

Knowing all the customer touchpoints and creating a roadmap to enable customer support for enhancing digital customer experience is now a sales and marketing requirement.

Retail and E-commerce Brands balanced with Other Brands

Retail and e-commerce are interestingly placed in today market place. They have their own private labels which have to be balanced with bigger and more established brands. Pure retail players have to also compete with single brand retail and also work with them to attract customers.

Customer experience becomes extremely important in such cases. A consistent negative experience might be detrimental to retail and e-commerce as bigger brands might just abandon them to go solo. This is loss of good business but also erosion of the retailer or e-commerce firms brand value.

Analytics, Surveys and the Customer

Increasingly, we are already seeing customers expecting business to be aware. Customers may not enjoy giving feedback or surveys. Analytics plays its role here. Retail and e-commerce will have to track customer purchases and use it to be able provide better service.

Analytics is imperative because in an increasingly global world. Customers can move homes and by getting a similar or better experience in another location or store, customer experience is heightened to customer delight. Analytics is now the backbone of deploying a sturdy artificial intelligence solution for customer service and also sales and marketing.

Personalized Customer Experience

Personalization is now one of the key differentiators in a lot of businesses. Customers are looking to be treated as individuals than a mass and personalizing customer experience is now a customer demand than something good to have.

Consumer Behaviour and Knowledge

We are now entering a phase where knowledge of products and services is on the fingertips of the consumer and many already have a clear understanding and knowledge of what they want. This changes consumer behaviour and knowing that clearly provides an opportunity to sell something more or specialized. This enhances the value of business done and the customer experience too.

Arming all customer touch points with proper information enhances digital customer experience allowing them to engage the customer and solve their queries quickly with minimal transfer. It enables a single window solution for the consumer. This is increasingly becoming a hallmark for customer delight.

In-Store Experience

While the covid pandemic has curtailed the in-store experience to some extent, it has also become a learning curve for brick-and-mortar retail to heighten customer experience.

Markers such as colour of trolleys or bags clearly tell you if a customer is looking for help or prefers to shop undisturbed. Shop online and collect in-store is becoming a norm not only for old school brick-and-mortar retailer but also e-commerce. E-commerce is tying up with local retailer to enable customers to have an in-store pick up of their purchases.

Customer Data Security and Privacy

Customer data is a potent tool for customer experience. You can hyper-personalize shopping experience using collected customer data. It’s also a double-edged sword when you lose it to hackers and unscrupulous elements. When you lose customer data, you directly impact their privacy needs and this has the potential derail customer confidence. It also makes it tough for brands that use retail shelf space to trust retailers and e-commerce firms.

Holistic Customer Experience

It is now increasingly becoming a reality that customer experience is important cog in all aspects of business. It is now a journey of constantly asking how the customer can be delighted every step of the way and keep innovating. Customer experience increasingly includes visual cues and aspects that begin with a customer walking into a store or clicking on an online ad.

Experience commerce is now a demand. Even small mom and pop stores have to rethink how to retain their hyperlocal markets and use customer experience as tool to fend of competition. The new normal as we see it is still evolving and customer expectations are continuously shifting. Retailers and e-commerce firms that keep their eye on customer experience and respond with agility and innovation by implementing business process automation and analytics around an omnichannel experience will see dedicated customer foot falls and clicks.

About the Author
Prabhjinder Bedi
Chief Growth Officer - Business Process Services Tech Mahindra

Bedi has over two decades of experience involving launching start-up ecosystems, scaling up businesses, and successfully taking products and services to market across industry verticals, spanning telecom and media, hi-tech/new economy, financial services, retail and consumer goods, manufacturing, and life sciences.More

Bedi has over two decades of experience involving launching start-up ecosystems, scaling up businesses, and successfully taking products and services to market across industry verticals, spanning telecom and media, hi-tech/new economy, financial services, retail and consumer goods, manufacturing, and life sciences. Having spent over 16 years at Tech Mahindra, Bedi is currently responsible for taking our existing and new-age service offerings to global markets and adding meaning to our shareholders, partners, and customers. Bedi is a bachelor’s in Engineering from IIT, Benaras and holds Master of Business Administration (MBA) from IIM Calcutta.