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Retailers Must Create Even Customer Experience Across All Channels

Appian Contributor
April 4, 2016

The retail industry is changing as an influx of millennials pushes brick-and-mortar store locations to integrate digital functionality into the shopping experience. Essentially, retailers must create an even customer journey regardless of how an individual interacts with the merchant. This means data and customer interactions must be integrated across retail channels. Business process management software is critical here, as the technology is purpose builtto connect users by distributing data across cloud, social and mobile apps. This extends out to app platforms that let your non-tech users create custom apps.

In the new tech ecosystem enabled through BPM software, your in-store staff can access apps that feed them personalized customer data based on their online, mobile and in-store interactions with your company. If the app is missing a key function, they can pull back into the app development platform and customize the interface.

This tech-enabled operational functionality must also extend out to how customers interact with your organization, as a recent ABI Research study found that brick-and-mortarretailers will need to change dramatically between now and 2025 to create an omni-channel experience.

"GenY and millennial shoppers are forcing retailers to adjust their operations."

Retailers must offer a holistic in-store experience

ABI Research explained that increased penetration of Gen Y and millennial shoppers is forcing retailers to adjust their operations to meet the needs of a more diverse range of shoppers.Patrick Connolly, principal analyst at ABI Research, explained that being able to gather and aggregate data is vital in engaging a wide array of customer types.

"Installing an iBeacon network is not enough," said Connolly. "Retailers must upgrade and aggregate all data across their brick-and-mortar, onlineand mobile outlets. It is otherwise impossible to understand the customer enough to personalize offerings, streamline processesand create new services."

Embracing a holistic customer journey

Imagine the entire life cycle of a customer's relationshipwith your business. For many retailers, this means thinking about multiple visits to brick-and-mortar locations, websites and mobile apps. It also encompasses interactionswith customer service and social media sites. All told, modern consumers are engagingwith retailers in so many ways that they are effectively going on a journey with various merchants. It is up to businesses to ensure that journey makes sense.

If a consumer checks your website to see if a local item is in stock, then gets to the store to find out it has been sold, how do you respond? If somebody provides feedback on a store experience through social media, does that information make it to employees at the brick-and-mortarlocation? Integrating data and processes across all channels can empower retailers to create a positive customer journey, driving revenue creation opportunities.