Consumer and retail trends have been evolving more than ever in the last decade. New technologies in our everyday lives have increased the expectations that users have from all their service providers, retailers are not an exception. Although one might argue that retailers provide products and not services, the quality of the customer experience that they provide has a huge impact on the number of products they sell.
One of the major take away points from the NRF show this last January was that in order to be successful in today’s retail environment, retailers need to focus on improving their customer experience (CX). In fact, research by Gartner shows that over 80% of organizations within the retail industry expect to compete mainly based on customer experience this year.
The reasons behind this change of focus across the industry can be found in a study by Forrester. The results of the study showed that customer experience focused companies have 1.6x higher brand awareness, 1.9x higher average order value, 1.7x higher customer retention, 1.6x higher customer satisfaction rates, a 1.9x higher return on spend and 1.5x higher employee satisfaction.
Consumers themselves are a major reason for this focus within the industry. In fact, a report by Walker has found that 86% of consumers are willing to pay more if they get a great customer experience.
When talking about offering a great customer experience in 2019, one can’t avoid talking about retail technology. The reality is that today’s emerging retail technologies are set to become the cornerstone of customer experiences of the future. Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and a consistent experience across all consumer interaction points are the main focus points of the major players in the industry.
Augmented Reality (AR)
In 2018 many retailers across different verticals have launched mobile AR applications that were focused on helping consumers experience their brand and products from the comfort of their homes. Placing virtual furniture into your real living room is a great way of selecting furniture that will fit and match your space.
Another interesting application of AR in retail is its use to enhance the in-store retail experience. In an interview with CMO.com, Mark Asher, director of corporate strategy at Adobe said, “I think we are already seeing a trend where retailers are trying to reinvigorate the brick-and-mortar experience”. “Building novelty through immersive experiences like AR is a great incentive to bring people out of their homes to the store or create a reason for traffic that’s moving by your store to come into the store.”