The evolving customer journey and the associated consumer expectations continue to drive a major transformation in retail—online pure-plays like Amazon are opening brick-and-mortar stores, while traditional retailers are experimenting with new store models, such as positioning stores as showrooms, theatre, distribution centers or pop-ups.
This disruption and resulting adaptation are upending retail’s customer engagement model—and blurring the lines among retailers, brands and wholesalers. New research shows that enabling the “new” customer experience and supporting its rapid evolution requires a new, tech-oriented communications approach.
According to the 2018 POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey from retail management consulting firm BRP, retailers recognize the urgency to transform their operations, and 81 percent plan to have unified commerce within three years.
“Retail and customer engagement models must transform,” said Brian Brunk, principal at BRP, in a news release. “However, the legacy retail applications and infrastructure still in place at many retail organizations are not properly equipped to support changing retail models and continuously evolving customer expectations. To meet the demands of their customer, the retail winners in 2018 and beyond need to accelerate the transformation to cloud-based unified commerce. Victory belongs to the agile.”
“As customer expectations have been reshaped by the digital retail experience, successful retailers have shifted their focus in the physical store environment,” added Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP.
“Customers appreciate personalized offers and recommendations when shopping online or via mobile, and now they expect the same personalization, or better, when they shop in a store,” Kramer added. “Understanding the importance of personalization, 62 percent of retailers indicate customer identification is their top customer engagement priority as they transform the in-store customer experience.”
Unified commerce is the key to this retail transformation
Critical to unified commerce are the four key pillars that we have identified to define the required customer experience: personal, mobile, seamless and secure.
The key customer experience trends driving today’s initiatives:
BRP’s 2018 POS/Customer Engagement Survey of top North American retailers offers insights into retailers’ current priorities and initiatives as digital and physical retail environments converge to facilitate a seamless experience across channels.