Rethinking the Retail Customer Experience

“Today’s retail customer is always shopping around, but while price and quality consistently bring customers to the table, it’s increasingly the customer experience that completes the sale and makes all the difference between buy, buy, buy and bye, bye, bye. While it’s becoming harder for retailers to differentiate based on price and product availability, it’s becoming easier to differentiate based on customer experience. Personalization, seamless service across channels, customer-centric engagement; some retailers have it; some don’t. But those who don’t must if they are going to compete in the ever-evolving retail space.” [Source: Business2Community]


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Just 5% of Service Interactions with Online Retailers Are ‘Stellar’


Earlier this month we introduced one of our proprietary metrics called “Stellar Performance” — an aggregate of the number of “Stellar Interactions” delivered by a retailer’s customer service team.

From our article last week:

We define a Stellar Interaction as one in which “the customer service representative diligently answered the initial questions, anticipated follow-up inquiries and offered supplemental information.” In these cases, not only are agents resolving issues and demonstrating policy and product knowledge, but also they are probing and anticipating the needs of shoppers and providing solutions with options. We think of these interactions as ones when the agent goes above-and-beyond the call of duty – an experience you’d want to tell your friends and coworkers about.

Our research team has now been tracking this metric for six months, and the result are less than, well, stellar. Overall, the results indicate that leading enterprise retailers have …

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How Small Retail Businesses Can Win Big with Customers


How’s a small retailer to compete in the age of Amazon?

The results of a new consumer survey further the case for small businesses to focus on personalized customer service as a key competitive advantage against large companies.

Personal service was cited by customers as the number two reason (52.7% of respondents) why customers prefer small businesses. The top reason (56.2% of respondents) was “supporting the local economy.” Personalized customer service beat all other options — including price — by more than 23%.

The study, conducted by AYTM Market Research, surveyed 400 US respondents 18 years and older on April 7, 2014.

As eMarketer notes, an August 2013 study by and Toluna supports the AYTM study findings:

“The factor that US consumers considered the most important when choosing small businesses over other types of businesses was customer service (86% of respondents). Personalized and intimate experiences as well as small businesses’ …

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Why Catalogs Play a Crucial Role in Modern Ecommerce

“When everything is available for sale on your smartphone, why do catalogs still clutter your mailbox? The old-school marketing format has survived to play a crucial creative role in modern e-commerce. Today, the catalog is bait for customers, like a store window display, and a source of inspiration, the way roaming through store aisles can be. The hope is shoppers will mark pages they like and then head online, or into a store, to buy. Today’s catalogs are no longer phone-book-size compilations of every item a retailer sells. Instead, they have fewer pages and merchandise descriptions, and more and bigger photos and lifestyle images.” [Continue reading at The Wall Street Journal]

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Target Expands Subscription Program

“Target has significantly expanded its subscription-based e-commerce service, first launched last fall as a response to Amazon’s popular “Subscribe and Save” program, by increasing the number of online items available for subscription purchase from just 200 to now 1,500. While the company’s original focus was on baby-care items, the now revamped service offers similar savings for other everyday purchases, including cleaning supplies, health and beauty aids, pet treats and training pads, grocery items, home and offices supplies, and more.” [Source: Techcrunch]

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