If you are not disrupting today, you will be disrupted tomorrow. Disruption is everywhere in retail. And it is a must if you are going to conquer the connected consumer. Today’s reality is that most customers are constantly connected, know what they want and have expectations that their experience should be the same no matter how they engage or shop with a brand/retailer. You need to know in real-time who they are, their likes, dislikes, lifestyle and be able to recognize and reward without being too creepy. Traditional clienteling – the discipline of building and managing one-on-one relationships with your customers – usually occurs entirely within the confines of the retail store. Interaction is typically a one-way communication and static from a retailer. Digital and social are no longer just online but have moved into every aspect of the shopping journey. The lines are more blurred than ever between online, mobile, stores and the real world. And soon you will also have virtual worlds and (VR) virtual reality retailing.
In this digital age, we all know that we are recognized digitally when we go to a retailer’s eCommerce site either by our login or past activity. We actually expect to be greeted by name, pushed to products that resemble or complement other products that we have already bought, searched for or saved to our wish lists and allowed to create our own preferences online. This same level of recognition and experience is not transferred to a physical store, which means that the shopping experience in-store is not consistent for the new generation of connected consumers shopping across channels. The ultimate goal is to drive customers in-store and it is essential to provide a level of personalized experiences and a unique brand experience for those that take that journey. In many cases the stores actually end up providing a less engaging experience than online or mobile with the lack of interaction and a digital avenue for a two-way communication. It is the “shop-keeper” expectation from the past that our customers are seeking today – “recognize me, understand my lifestyle, make recommendations and offer me unique experiences to better serve and engage me”. This is new age clienteling in today’s Unified Commerce world.