Digitalisation has already changed the customer journey forever. With every new innovation, customers become more and more demanding, as they get used to the efficiency and freedom, relevance and speed that is now the norm. So how can you keep your customers satisfied in the future?
What exactly do customers expect? That depends, of course, on the industry. For example, customers like to do their grocery shopping as quickly as possible, but they do like to take their time to decide which luxury watch they are going to buy. In addition, each retail chain offers its own value proposition, which it applies everywhere, both online and offline. Regardless of whether we shop from home or in store, we always tend to follow the same process: search, prepare, compare, buy, be satisfied (or not), exchange, recommend (or not).
To ensure the sales process runs as smoothly as possible, you have already removed as many obstacles as possible. In a physical store, you can do this by:
- making it easier to find a parking space,
- reducing the time spent at the cash register,
- offering a drive-through service to save time,
- having products delivered at home.
On the web, you can make things easier by:
- using responsive design to improve navigation,
- simplifying the authentication process
- offering one-click shopping
- providing real-time stock information
- personalising products
The result is that consumers are spoiled. Things they felt were reasonable a few years ago now seem unbearable. So what will the future bring? What will tomorrow’s shopping habits and customer requirements be like?
Perhaps your customers will soon find using a phone or keyboard too cumbersome to find what they are looking for. Consumers are already using the Amazon Echo smart speaker with their Alexa chatbot to order products without even lifting a finger, simply by having a chat with their virtual assistant.
More and more powerful predictive systems
The combination of better artificial intelligence and the collection of more and more data is opening up a wide range of new opportunities. The most striking example of these are predictive systems that are getting better and better at anticipating our needs and reducing any inconvenience.
This paves the way towards a whole new set of possibilities. If you want to order some water, you may ask your virtual assistant: "Assistant X, order some water for me." So what will happen then?
- If your assistant does not have a preference, it will ask you whether you want to place your order with Amazon, Carrefour, Colruyt, …
- If it belongs to a retailer, it will ask you which brand you prefer, how many bottles you would like to purchase and when you would like to have them delivered.
- If it behaves like Google, it will first suggest Evian, as that is the brand that bought the search queries …
- If it is a truly personal, self-learning assistant with access to all your preferences, it will know exactly what you want and will order a pack of Spa to be delivered by your preferred store.
Regardless of the scenario that is followed, it is definitely in the brands’ interest to get in the game as soon as possible. Once the decision to buy has been made, the challenge is to predict it.
Many innovations are just emerging now, particularly tools that make predictions based on huge quantities of customer data (big data) and artificial intelligence (self-learning ability to understand consumption patterns).
It is no longer sufficient to find the best location for their shop and top the search results in Google. Today retailers also have to be the first to identify buying intentions, then win over the customer as smoothly as possible and accompany him throughout the entire customer journey. The challenges in this process are essentially the same: knowing and understanding the customer, catering to his wishes and establishing a relationship of trust.
It is a certainty, however, that customer demands will keep evolving at an ever faster pace due to the introduction of new players and disruptive innovations. The key is not to get forced out of the market by some new player who offers new and innovative services or an intense experience.
Finally, we should keep in mind that digitalisation can eliminate tasks that do not offer any added value, leaving your sales staff and advisors free to focus on their core tasks: entering into a dialogue with the customer, advising him and building a relationship of trust. Therefore, we can have every confidence that sales will become more humane, more responsible, more ecological and more natural. Customer data will be used to constantly refine and tweak the relationship with the consumer.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to get in touch with your Orange Account Manger or contact us by phone or email. Click here for our contact details.