Today’s consumers are realizing that both online and in-store shopping offer key advantages and drawbacks, and they want to shop wherever and whenever they want with the benefits of both the digital and physical experience. As retailers look for ways to differentiate in a highly competitive market, new research from retail management consulting firm BRP reveals that three customer engagement strategies—personalization, mobile experience and real-time retail—are critical components for optimizing the shopping experience.

According to the firm’s new consumer study, 79 percent of respondents said personalized service from a sales associate was an important factor in determining at which store they choose to shop. Retailers understand the importance of personalization as 53 percent are focused on this for 2019, the 20th annual POS/Customer Engagement Benchmark Survey finds.

Retailers understand the imperative for change

Ninety-four percent of retailers, up from 81 percent last year, have indicated that they have or plan to implement a single unified commerce platform within the next three years. “It is time to reimagine the customer engagement model as yesterday’s retail is dead, and agility is paramount as retail continues to rapidly evolve,” said Brian Brunk, principal at BRP, in a news release. “Key to this agility and transformation is a single commerce platform. Victory belongs to the agile.”

The key customer experience trends driving today’s initiatives:

Top customer engagement priorities for 2019—new report IDs top 3 strategies

“As customer expectations for an increasingly customized experience increase and evolve, retailers are adopting new ways to identify customers and personalize their shopping journey,” said Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP, in the release. “Retailers continue to offer more mobile services from a consumer-facing and associate-facing perspective that include personalized recommendations, loyalty rewards, coupons, discounts and promotions. It is also interesting to note that 63 percent of retailers plan on having the ability to use a customer owned mobile device as a POS device within three years.”

Top Customer Engagement Priorities for 2019:

Top customer engagement priorities for 2019—new report IDs top 3 strategies

The 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.

Download the POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey here.

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