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28 February 2012
Glue Reply, the Reply company which specialises in Enterprise Architecture, Solution Design and SOA to the retail market, today says that the multichannel operation for most retailers is too focused on sales and does not deliver on customer expectations.
The evolution of channels for traditional retailers has resulted in fragmented operations leading to a poor user experience.
Glue Reply has coined a new term “Proximity Commerce” which better describes how retailers should approach Multichannel. The new term ‘Proximity Commerce’ seeks to encapsulate where retail is heading and fit with how customers and technology are driving the agenda for retailers.
Associate partner, Daren Ward at Glue Reply said: “Proximity Commerce is when the customer has full control of when and where they make their purchasing decision either at home, online or on the go and whom they choose to involve. The retailer that enables this conversation will better understand their customers’ needs and build long-term relationships.”
It’s no longer about the channel; it’s about the ‘conversation’ i.e. the dialogue that a customer has with a retailer and their personal network in the run up to a purchase.
As social media starts to become ubiquitous in retail, retailers must be mindful that the IQ of the crowd can in fact be greater than the most intelligent individual. The sales cycle has extended as customers start to get help from all sorts of third parties; friends via Social Media, parents via face time, reviews at our finger tips, possibly ‘mobile assistants’, and so on.
Ward comments: “The combination of social media, touch screen and mobile technologies has enabled this conversation, but this conversation must be relevant and retailers need to work hard to ensure it is.”
The four common customer expectations that are not met:
A Simple Proposition Retailers have inadvertently created complex and artificial boundaries through the nature of how their operation is set up within separate channels – mainly store and online – but this can often translate to the customer as nonsensical. Stock housing is a key area:
Personal Service Proximity Commerce™ supports the new world of retail by enabling retailers to utilise the best of technology to recreate the level of personal customer interaction commonplace in the 1950s. Back then, customers’ personal tastes and sizing were known by their tailor and they received genuine personal service. Proximity Commerce can bring personalisation to today’s masses. Retailers can gather details on personal preferences, size, offers and recommendations to shorten yet enhance the purchasing experience.
Added benefits of belonging without intrusion People like to be a member of something if it has a heightened status with their peers and offers extra benefits. Customers who become a member are more loyal and will have more meaningful conversations. Proximity Commerce helps retailers from overstepping the mark with the level of communication with the customer by providing ways and methods of reaching out to the customer at the right time.
Service on the customers’ terms Customers are beginning to drive the service they want, the provenance they expect, the products they like and how they want to engage. For example, customers started using Facebook before retailers. Every customer is different therefore personalisation is key.
Proximity Commerce allows the retailer to sell to the customer anywhere at any time on the customer’s terms but with no loss of benefits to the retailer. Today it is about where and how customers can purchase desired goods / services. The rise of Proximity Commerce will blur the boundaries for retailers in their multichannel world and retailers must keep up with customer expectations.