Know Your Customer To Become Truly Omni-Channel
By Bob Johns, associate editor
I recently had a chance to sit down with Noel Goggin, SVP and General Manager at RedPrairie, at RedShift2012. As our conversation progressed, I noticed how excited he was with the new “regrowth” of retail. I was really curious as to what he meant by that, and his answers surprised me. Goggin said that, “Retail has always gone through periods of growth and reduction, but what we are seeing now is a regrowth as the channels, and ways purchases are made by the consumer, evolve.” He went on to comment that as retailers struggle to create a true omni-channel brand, the consumer is not idly standing by waiting for them to do so. The consumer is demanding that they interact with the retailer in multiple venues across multiple platforms.
In order for a retailer to become truly omni-channel, it must be able to view the customer through every interaction that occurs whether it be online, mobile, in-store, or over the phone. This one view of customer interaction is key to understanding your customer, who they are, their spending habits, and their opinion of your company. This is key to understanding the total lifetime value of the customer.
With the mobile shopper having access to so much information, retailers must also have the same or greater access to the information. Having visibility into the supply chain to place customer orders, have items shipped to the store or directly to the customer, or to customize an order are all benefits that must be available to the associate so they can offer these services to the customer.
Social interaction can be key also, although not necessarily from a direct sale perspective. Rather, maintaining an active, positive, social environment across the multiple platforms can help both in customer experience and customer service. Handling customer complaints in the social media in a positive manner can greatly increase the customer’s opinion of the retailer.
Goggin noted that retailers must take a “high-touch” approach to the customer through “clienteleing” by assisted selling through all channels. Using a logical inventory that accounts for changing buying habits and customer trends can help the associate make focused sales and make recommendations. Using a selling tactic that relies on the customer’s past purchases can help both the customer and associate throughout the sales process.
As customers become more knowledgeable and more connected, the best way to maintain and grow the retail business is to maintain the visibility in every aspect of the company. Having that visibility into the supply chain, customer history, and even workforce management and accounting will be key to the retailer’s regrowth.