In a world where anyone can whip up an e-commerce site and begin selling in a matter of hours, merely taking products to market just isn't good enough anymore. Consumers are surrounded with options, so retailers need to find better ways to turn those browsers into repeat customers.
Today, it's the customer experience that determines the real retail winners and losers.
Some brands have already realized this and capitalized on it. Amazon's plan for drone bases near metropolitan areas is the latest example of the heights to which a company will go to improve convenience. Back on the ground, Amazon offers same-day delivery in some areas, with orders often being delivered within a couple hours.
Online shoe giant Zappos tackled another aspect of the customer experience: service. It has raised the bar on how delightful it can be to deal with company representatives. Indeed, the company has placed customer interaction at the top of the priority list. Representatives will even talk to a customer for 10 hours if necessary.
Customers remember those kinds of interactions because they exceed expectations. Even though these and other retailers have succeeded in providing an exceptional experience for customers, it doesn't mean it's easy to achieve. But like many of today's business challenges, it's technology that will provide the foundation for improving the customer experience for retailers.
TOOLS THAT MAKE YOUR PRODUCT MORE THAN JUST A PRODUCT
Smart retailers are always on the lookout for ways that technology can advance their brands and generate business. One route with plenty of options is digital advertising. Whether it's a banner ad that follows a consumer from site to site or a short plug buyers are forced to watch before getting to see that video of a cat on a skateboard, internet-based advertising opportunities abound. However, although the opportunity is there, consumers often see traditional advertising as impersonal — an ad isn't a real connection.
Retailers also heavily rely upon opt-in email marketing, which is a tough sell to consumers who cringe at the thought of handing over their email addresses at the register. In fact, the thought of being bombarded with even more promotional emails is enough to make many consumers abandon their shopping carts and run from the store screaming, "I can’t take it anymore!"
But fear not. There are other ways technology can connect savvy retailers with customers: