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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Customers, Digital Devices, The Retail Experience

Customers, Digital Devices, The Retail ExperienceWould you agree that customers are precious? That their decision to shop with us and eventually purchase from us benefits us? That they have plenty of options for spending their hard-earned resources? That they deserve our patience and respect, not to mention a memorable retail experience for opting to buy from us? Even if they use digital devices?

I believe this intensely.

And, yet, I'm not so sure that everyone in retail - or in business for that matter - believes this.

A recent group discussion on LinkedIn suggested as much and had me thinking about the role customers play in the retail experience, the relationship between customers and retailers and the role digital devices play for customers and retailers.

Heavy stuff that started with a question John Simonson asked about the use of mobile devices at retail as part of the retail experience. Perhaps you remember Smartphone GPS Apps & The Customer Experience, my post about smartphones and the retail experience. Although the trend is just beginning, I believe that we will be seeing, hearing and reading a lot more about mobile devices being used at retail.

Here's a recent sampling of articles relevant to 'customers, digital devices and the retail experience':

Customers are changing. They are educating themselves intensely before shopping and thoroughly enjoying using digital tools and mobile devices to make the retail shopping experience more enjoyable and regain control. Interestingly, according to a Motorola Survey: Shoppers better connected to information than store associates.

At the same time, these tools offer opportunities to retailers to reinvent the retail experience. Did you know that Customer Defection Can be Stopped, and Loyalty Can be Restored thanks to digital tools? Can you offer your shoppers ways to share the experience and be more digitally social?

Here are more ideas: Marketing to Shoppers at Every Touchpoint details opportunities to connect with shoppers pre-shop, in-store and post-shop with digital devices.

As aggravating as customers may appear to you as they pull out their smartphone to research products in-store, consider the opportunities available to you to provide information, facilitate solutions and immediately address customer service issues.

Talk about creating a memorable retail experience worth returning to.

What do you think?


Unknown said...

CB, excellent!! Great references. Smartphones are more than just a person-to-person communication tool. Much more to come.

Oberon515 said...

Great post and of course the device can be used to GIVE input as well as a tool to receive it. The days of mystery shopping and exit interviews will soon come to an end - smarter technology at lower costs per data point are now available to determine what people want, what they thought at the point of consideration and what is missing. This means businesses can start to fix issues there and then and hence crack the biggest issue of them all....customer retention.

Lisbeth Calandrino said...

We're all trying to figure out how we fit into the world of technolgy. Some of it is fascinating and some is frustrating.

For businesses, I think it's more frustrating than anything.They are being told they have to use technology but don't have the skills. I was in a restaurant showing my server that they had an offer on Four Square. She said she didn't know what I was talking about, got the manager and he looked at my phone and was baffled. Eventually I had two managers and a server and wishing I'ld kept my mouth shut.

The only thing that matters is keeping your customers happy; in order to make it happen, businesses need to have everyone on the same page.

It's like having a Facebook page and never posting and then saying it doesn't work. By the way, here's an article with some insight into businesses using Four Square.

Thanks for the post Christine.

CB Whittemore said...

Matt aka Oberon515, you are so very right! Despite the frustrations that Lis mentions, these devices offer businesses so many opportunities to be memorable and truly focus on customers. Thanks for adding to this post.


CB Whittemore said...

Lis, we certainly are! Personally, I find it fascinating how many interpretations there are to making technology meaningful both for businesses and customers.

That is some story re: Foursquare! But, it typifies how quickly the tools and the rules change and how important it is for businesses to be paying attention since these are mostly tools that give power to customers.

Matt's tool is that much more intriguing because it puts power in the retailers' hands to better keep a finger on the pulse of customers.

Thanks for contributing your Red Hot Customer Service perspective!


CB Whittemore said...

John, thanks for inspiring this post! See you soon.


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