Prioritising customer experience and building relationships via an omni-channel strategy is crucial for merchants and businesses in today’s competitive landscape. Andrew Howell, Head of Marketing at Valitor tells us more.
Consumer expectations around the shopping experience are at an all-time high. When coupled with the astronomical growth of “mobile” and “social” in what is now a global “one click” economy, purchasing anytime, anywhere, from any channel has become a societal and behavioural norm. Instore, online and social shops are approached with the same expectations but rarely do the experiences reach the customers’ expectations or reflect the promises made by those brands to entice you into the store in the first place. Customers are left feeling undervalued and as such, we live in a world dominated by short-term loyalty, in a black hole where a retailer’s retention plan should be firing on all cylinders.
In light of this, retailers need to take a deeper look at their customer experience across all stages of the process – before, during and after, across all channels. This will ensure that there is a 360-degree delivery of brand experience promises, regardless of the channel that a customer is browsing through. In turn, this will encourage customers to not only keep coming back time and time again, but ultimately that they promote and advocate the brand. Prioritising customer experience and building relationships is the ONLY way that retailers will survive in today’s ‘instant everything’ world.
Larger expectations on retailers
In today’s competitive and hugely fickle shopper landscape, there is more pressure than ever for retailers to provide seamless shopping experiences, as competitors look to reap the rewards of poorly executed retail experiences and strategies. For local community high streets this is even more difficult as we found out from our “Highstreet rebooted research with Retail Week. This highlighted that if a consumer cannot get the customer service or experience they demand, they will venture elsewhere or online immediately, and likely inform others, using all channels at their disposal, thus inadvertently damaging the beating heart of local communities around the country.
Promoting and adopting an omni-channel strategy for customer experience is the only way that merchants and businesses will survive in harsh trading times. Merchants must keep up with the basic shifts in human behaviour and aim to completely understand the search and discovery phase, the shopping process, payment methods and the aftercare of a customer to truly remain relevant on the physical, digital or social ”high-street.”
An out-of-date infrastructure or a lack of provision when it comes to payment technology will restrict business opportunities and create a barrier between the brand and the consumer, much like the siloed ecommerce and instore frameworks at play in most of the industry, ultimately leading to that customer searching for the experience they want and shopping elsewhere because they can’t find the connected experience they seek from that brand.
With this in mind, it is hard to believe that retailers can be slow to consolidate and adopt new strategies and technologies to help deliver this new baseline in customer experience and expectation. If retailers want to claim territory in such a competitive market, they must begin thinking for the long-term, rather than focusing on short term, patching tactics such as massive elongated sale periods, which will and have, ultimately, devalued ‘products’, fuelling the lack of loyalty and further degrading customer retention as pricing becomes the only decision-making factor when choosing a retailer…that much is clear today.
Building in underlying payment technologies to serve the next decade of retail turmoil should be the starting point for any future planning. When interviewing 100 retailers recently, we found that starting with how customers pay is the number one priority. Connecting the data points to discover peoples’ buying habits across multiple channels so that a centralised and single view of the customer can be achieved has to be the zenith for any retailer in today’s tough trading landscape. Retailers can only begin to truly personalise and build tangible, long lasting, trusting relationships with their shoppers if they understand them!
Cutting-edge customer experience
A great customer experience should be the gold standard for every retailer. It is imperative that they converge their thinking around physical and digital properties to create one “expectation” of customer experience that reflects their brand, the lifestyle and consumers they are trying to sell to, regardless of the channel. A converged brand experience should be channel-less and the primary focus for retailers across Europe.
To make this a reality, retailers must add value in-store that shoppers can’t get online. To improve online experiences they must incorporate elements of the physical, looking more specifically at the aftercare and returns experience or APEX (After Payment Emotional Experience).
Adopting a truly omni-channel payment solution enables retailers to understand and provide the best possible service to their customers. It is from this single view of the customer across multiple channels that retailers can then look to maximise marketing opportunities and drive loyalty through personalisation. The payment piece should never be seen or heard. It should be an invisible cog in this entire process.
Intro to Valitor and NoBlue:
Valitor, is thriving in the everchanging digital landscape, providing its customers with the tools to facilitate best-in-class customer experience across channels through their omni-channel payment technology.
NetSuite’s scalable ERP cloud-based solution provides the Omni-commerce technology which can deliver a true and seamless omnichannel experience for consumers on the web, mobile, in-store and in call-centres.
Together with 5 Star NetSuite solution provider NoBlue, which specialises in developing and implementing cloud-based IT solutions, Valitor is ensuring it delivers the highest standards in technology innovation, service delivery and customer intimacy, creating the bedrock and building blocks to develop a truly omni-channel connected customer experience.
How can Valitor help you?
Valitor provides a single connection to receive payments across e-commerce, in-store and mobile. Our omnichannel payment solution simplifies payment processing and helps merchants expand internationally, consolidate service providers, add or merge sales channels, and implement true omnichannel experiences.
Operating across all European countries with a strong presence in the UK, Ireland and across the Nordics, Valitor is perfectly placed to help organisations gain full visibility of its customers and payments. This is whilst ensuring the business is compliant with European and national regulations, taking the onus and pressure off the business, whilst helping it grow and improve its efficiency.
Valitor combined with NetSuite ERP provides the stepping stone to growth and scale. The best-in-class omnichannel commerce platform and payment gateway gives clients excellence immediately. Together, they can help businesses optimise the customer experience across all devices and channels on a single platform and prepare and provision for a successful future.
If you are interested in knowing more about how NetSuite and Valitor can help you boost your business, give as a call or contact us. Our certified consultants will be happy to assist and walk you through the bespoke tools which can help your business grow.
To read Valitor’s latest white papers, go to: https://www.valitor.com/reports/.