Today’s consumers live in an increasingly multichannel world. Rather than relying exclusively on a retailer’s online or physical store, customers expect each of a brand’s different channels to work seamlessly together, offering a consistent experience, on whatever platform they choose to engage with the brand.
Unfortunately, retailers often miss this mark because their customer interactions are in silos. According to the recent report “4 Secrets of Customer Loyalty from Successful Retailers”, 89 % of customers express frustration over the loss of context that occurs when they switch between channels. This can largely be attributed to brands not being able to connect customer habits and actions at each of the brand’s virtual and physical touchpoints.
The interactions taking place with a customer online, for instance, may not be visible to a salesperson in-store. Instead, customers will be greeted like any other when shopping in a physical store, despite having a rich and loyal interaction with the brand online and expressing brand advocacy on social platforms. This has the potential to sully a customer’s perception of a brand because it illustrates a marketing disconnect not only between each of the retailer’s channels, but with how the consumer expects to be treated.
With direct access to a world of information in their hand, consumers have become accustomed to instant knowledge, and they expect the companies they deal with to have similar abilities. The challenge for a global organisations who may have millions of customers, each customers still expect to be treated as individuals, not just statistics or demographics. This requires retailers to take a granular approach to connecting and studying each of their customer interactions to get an idea of how, and why, they go between different touchpoints. Retailers therefore need to break down the operational silos that are traditionally called for by separate business units, and embrace a holistic, customer-focused strategy to data analysis.
When collecting data, for instance, the new model should be built around desired business outcomes, not ordered, efficient storage. This requires data modelling to be owned by business analysts with insight into all touchpoints and channels using a knowledge graph, not database experts embracing a “rigid waterfall” approach to collection and storage. As a result, the customer view will go from being structured and limited to multidimensional, allowing analysts to visualise complex hierarchical relationships. This will allow the data to evolve and grow with the customer, so that the brand can better interact with each customer throughout each buying cycle and over the long term.
Research shows that brands that improve the customer journey see revenues increase as much as 10 to 15 %, while at the same time lowering their service costs by 15 to 20 %, according to a recent McKinsey & Company report. Retailers stand to build their holistic customer view while ultimately growing their revenue by embracing solutions aimed at creating a multichannel customer journey.