As the world of omnichannel retail closes in on us, a large focus has been around the technology behind retail transactions -- technology to ensure seamless integration across all touchpoints, technology to enable multi-channel options, technology to offer today’s empowered shoppers infinite choice while saving them time, money and hassle.
Yet, is this enough?
Although technology is improving retail experiences by automating and expediting sales transactions, retailers need to be cautious their customers are not becoming just that, another transaction. Consumers value their relationship with retailers and are often not just looking for a sale but looking for a relationship that will support them before, during, and after their purchase.
Although technology is improving retail experiences by automating and expediting sales transactions, retailers need to be cautious their customers are not becoming just that, another transaction.
Richard Shapiro, author and customer retention guru, states, “technology can support agility and service, but technology alone won’t sustain long-term relationships when consumers have so much choice and control in the selection and buying process.” In his new book, The Endangered Customer: 8 Steps to Guarantee Repeat Business, Shapiro highlights human connection with customers will become increasingly rare – and therefore, increasingly more valuable.
In order to generate a higher percentage of repeat customers, Shapiro offers up an eight-step strategy:
- Make me feel welcome (Hope)
- Give me your full attention (Control)
- Answer more than my question (Connected)
- Know your stuff (Trust)
- Don’t tell me no (Frustration)
- Invite me to return (Wanted)
- Show me I matter (Care)
- Surprise me in good ways (Feel Special)
With the increasing number of retail options available for consumers today, repeat customers are as important as ever and something retailers need to keep top of mind. These eight steps may sound simple but they are effective when dealing with customers and creating that long lasting, positive, loyal relationship -- and have been for years.
Technology is a necessary means to offering [great retail] experience[s] but is not sufficient on its own.
The need to provide an omnichannel experience for today’s empowered shoppers isn’t going anywhere. Technology is a necessary means to offering this experience but is not sufficient on its own. People are ultimately going to make or break the experience for consumers and should be used in strategic ways across all channels to ensure repeat business.