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It’s Time to Rethink Retail’s Digital Role

Rohit Batra, Director, Revenue and Customer Management, Amdocs | Sept. 16, 2016
A successful digital business is more than just the sum of its digital channels and products. Behind every effective digital business is an understanding of the need to offer customers, as well as employees, a truly digital experience.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

A successful digital business is more than just the sum of its digital channels and products. Behind every effective digital business is an understanding of the need to offer customers, as well as employees, a truly digital experience. To accomplish this, and since the majority of customers still prefer face-to-face interactions when buying telecom services, service providers need to revisit the traditional role definitions of their various channels, and more specifically the retail store.

Over the past several years, service providers have invested a lot in their retail stores. But as they evolve to become digital service providers and offer a consistent, omni-channel experience across all customer touch points, they must find a way for retail stores to offer something distinctive and exceptional to what is provided on their online channels.

Rising digital expectations

Customers expect a superior experience when they visit a service provider's retail store. After all, as a consumer, if you take time out from your day to visit your provider, you expect them to provide a truly remarkable experience.

To meet consumers' rising digital expectations, service providers must transform to customer-centric engagement-based compensation models. To commence the retail journey, it is critical for service providers to understand what type of in-store customer journey is currently being offered. There are three typical types of store formats: 

  • Minimal stores: Offer quick and simple customer interactions based on proximity, e.g. pop-up stores or small stores in malls.
  • Premium sales and service stores: Support a longer customer journey across service, support and sales at a premium physical environment.
  • Concept stores: Designed to demonstrate the brand experience using interactive wall displays, gesture technologies and immersive experiences.

Give customers the retail experience they expect

To help enhance customers' retail engagement and improve their propensity to buy, there are three important steps service providers must take.

Step 1: Understand the customer journey

Every touch point with the brand is an opportunity to have a meaningful engagement with the customer. Within the retail store, every visitor is on their individual journey. Using footfall analytics to analyse in-store customer movement and technologies and in-store deployed small cells, service providers can gain a better understanding of the visitors at their store. Using this information, service providers can map out customers' in-store journeys and target different shopper segments with more relevant messages and offers.

Step 2: Fix the basics

Research shows that 80 percent of the telecom in-store customers also visit its website, making it imperative for service providers to blend the online and in-store experience to deliver a smooth, frictionless customer experience. Advancements in Business Support Systems (BSS) and retail applications deliver capabilities such as online appointment booking to request in-store specialists and many other ways for service providers to better connect the virtual and physical worlds for shoppers.

 

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