Winning Over Choosey Multichannel Customers

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Guest post by Ian Kahn


When you think about a multichannel consumer, you probably envision a customer who is running from store to store and bouncing from web site to web site in search of the best deal. In reality, multichannel consumers have a limited list of retailers among their favorites, according to PwC’s 2014 Global Total Retail Survey of nearly 15,000 consumers.

PwC defines multichannel customers as those who purchase from at least two of the following channels: physical store, online via tablet/PC, or online via mobile/smartphone. When asked how many retailers they frequent, 46% of multichannel shoppers said just one retailer and 48% shopped between two to five retailers. Only 5% said they used six to ten retailers.

Why do they shop where they shop?

  • “Inexpensive/reasonably priced” (85%)
  • “I trust the brand” (86%)
  • “I like the store, location and staff” (81%)
  • “Different, interesting marketing that catches my imagination” (64%)
  • “Interesting things the company is doing on social media.” (50%)

For the multi-channel consumer, price is important, but so is having a relationship with the retailer. Retailers need to do more than provide detailed product information or a handheld point of sale device.

What is Total Retail Clienteling?

Imagine walking into a store and the sales associate quickly engages you, learns your name and checks your digital profile. She mentions your latest tweet and without haste escorts you to a real-life version of the product you were browsing online earlier in the day. Upon checkout, she updates your profile with your recent purchase. The system then uses that information to deliver a digital thank you and offer you a discount if you tweet about your new product.

Using a powerful mix of customer relationship management (CRM) technologies, social media and data analytics, total retail clienteling delivers accurate, timely information about each customer to an associate before the point of sale. This puts the customer at the center of the transaction.

This transformation also enables associates to link the retailer and customer. The data from these captured moments can help retailers significantly increase their marketing and sales effectiveness. Process and technology platforms, the key features of a total retail clienteling solution, can include tools such as:

Item catalog: A repository of available items that share common or complementary characteristics, enabling associates to identify and suggest value-added cross-sell and up-sell opportunities in real-time.

Customer social profile, insights and wish lists: Access to customers’ social media interactions, delivering highly personalized insight into their buying habits, their needs and wants, and their sentiment towards your brand and your competitors’ brands.

Retail workbench: A system that delivers customer-specific and aggregated insight into transactions, promotions, performance by channel and other key performance indicators.

Store information: A view of product availability across all channels, so that sales can be ‘saved’ if an item is not immediately available at the point of purchase.

Pre-built integrations: Integrations into core CRM, social and mobile platforms, as well as relevant enterprise systems including finance, customer analytics, inventory and supply chain.

Employee social network: An ability to connect previously disparate employees—across channels, geographies, and brands—to collaborate better on any number of issues, including around a single customer.

These tools can help to dramatically improve how sales associates increase transactions with customers. The benefits of these investments are many and include improved customer satisfaction, based on associates’ ability to provide relevant, timely product information and recommendations; and increased sales per customer visit, based on relevant, targeted cross-selling and up-selling opportunities. An impactful program should also support improved marketing effectiveness, gained through targeted, timely notice of events, sales and promotions, and an ability to measure the return on investment of any given campaign.

Multi-channel customers are searching for exclusive relationships with retailers. It’s never been more important to figure out your omni-channel strategy and gain that customer service edge.

Image shared by Les Chatfield

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