The basic principles of a good customer experience have not changed. Customers have always wanted, and still want, a friendly, efficient and reliable shopping experience. However, technological development has pushed the customers' expectations of how these principles are met. At the same time, in recent years, a new and important element has come into play - sustainability.
Tie the experience together across your online and offline sales channels
In recent years, especially in the wake of Covid-19, the number of retailers investing in omnichannel has exploded. In 2022 (and after), it is not only a given for customers that you are present where they are, but also that the shopping experience is seamless across your online and offline sales channels.
Are you in doubt about what omnichannel concretely is and entails? Read here as we go in-depth with the question: What is omnichannel?
Customers expect prices, selection, and options to be the same - regardless of whether they shop in your physical store, via your webshop, app, etc. If a customer, for example, orders an item on your webshop and afterward finds out that it is sold cheaper in your physical store, it will result in a bad experience. The same is true when we talk deals and discounts. No matter through which channel a customer chooses to make use of an offer, they will expect the same opportunities. Imagine that you have created the following offer: "when a customer buys two frames of beer, they will get the third one for half the price". Your customer wants to make use of the offer in your physical store, but unfortunately, you only have two frames of beer left. In this case it should be possible for the customer to buy the two frames in the store and order the last one for half the price from your webshop either with home delivery or as Click and Collect. This will result in the customer not leaving your store disappointed but instead getting a good experience.
Your ability to run a successful omnichannel experience will reflect the extent to which you can live up to customer expectations in 2022. More specifically, it is about ensuring that:
1. Your prices are always the same across channels
2. Your discounts and offers are calculated correctly across channels
3. There is always full item availability no matter where you meet the customer
An example of a major Danish retailer that has great success in running omnichannel is Matas. At the e-commerce award 2020, Matas won the award for "best omnichannel company" and was called "a guiding star in omnichannel." Services such as Click and Collect and digital guidance from business experts (materialists) exemplify how Matas has managed to link their massive e-commerce venture with their physical stores.
To ensure that prices, personal discounts, and loyalty discounts are the same across channels, Matas has implemented Fiftytwo's unique, dynamic pricing tool, 52MASTERPRICER. With 52MASTERPRICER, Matas can act agile and consistent in terms of price, discount logic, and product availability - no matter where they meet the customer. Hear Thomas Grane, Director of Technology and Organization at Matas, talk more about their experiences with 52MASTERPRICER.
Do you want to know more about how 52MASTERPRICER can help you run a successful omnichannel business? Read more here.
Convenience, Convenience, Convenience
The acceleration of e-Commerce has pushed customers' expectations for convenience. They have become used to shopping from the couch, at all hours of the day, with fast delivery directly to the door. Of course, it is not possible to offer your customers the same kind of convenience in your physical store, but there is a lot you can do to meet their expectations.
You can, e.g., consider implementing self-service solutions. With self-service solutions, you let customers control their own purchasing process - just as they are used to when shopping online. In addition, self-service solutions can reduce the long lines during the traditional checkout. The long line actually is the reason why most customers choose self-service solutions in stores that offer both a staffed checkout and self-service solutions at checkout. In a survey by Capgemini, most respondents (60 percent) answered that long queues at checkout are a factor of annoyance - to a greater extent, than a lack of sales staff and sold-out items.
The Harvard Business Review has reported a study of U.S. supermarkets that shows that customers focus more on the length of the line than how fast it moves. A line that increases from 10 to 15 people will mean a drop in sales by up to 10 percent.
There are different types of self-service solutions - e.g., self-scanning and mobile-scan-and-go. You can read more about the benefits of implementing self-service solutions in your store and how the different types of solutions work here.
You can also streamline and reduce the expedition time at checkout with mobile POS. Mobile POS allows you and your employees to guide and serve customers throughout the store. You can offer customers a quick and easy service while reducing the likelihood of them changing their minds about an item and returning it to the shelf before they reach the checkout. With mobile POS, you meet customers where they are in the store and thus where they are on their shopping journey.
When you implement mobile POS, it is, of course, essential that your solution connects to your retail ecosystem - both your checkout systems and other business systems. Your mobile POS, like your checkout system, should work seamlessly across your sales channels so that prices, discounts, etc., are visible at the same time everywhere. Therefore, you should choose a provider that can deliver a mobile POS solution in a fully integrated solution.
At Fiftytwo, we offer and give advise on mobile POS as part of your POS solution. We make sure all devices are connected across your business so that it does not interfere with the operation of your stores.
Download our article and read more about the 7 areas a mobile POS system can strengthen your business.
Personalize the shopping experience
Omnichannel, convenience, and fast service are certainly important initiatives to meet customer expectations in 2022. Still, one thing that customers value at least as much is to feel like unique, valuable individuals. A survey by Epsilon shows that 90 percent of consumers find personal shopping experiences appealing, and 80 percent say they are more likely to buy from a brand that offers them a personalized experience.
Personalization is the process by which you use personal data to tailor shopping experiences to the individual customer - both on your webshop and in your physical store. All paths to purchase are different, and personalization seeks to service the individual based on needs and behaviors.
Implementing a loyalty program can be a great way to access your customers' data while improving your customer experience. With a loyalty program, you reward your customers with discounts and points when they shop with you. All people enjoy being rewarded - whether it is in special offers, points, or products.
A loyalty program gives you access to valuable data about your customers' habits, preferences, and overall buying behavior so that you can target and adjust offers to the individual customer's needs and desires.
Again, we would like to highlight Matas, who has 1.6 million active members and has great success with their loyalty club - Club Matas. Through loyalty programs, Matas not only manages to give their customers a personal experience when they shop in, for example, the store or via the webshop. Club Matas works across Matas' sales channels, which means that if a customer has collected points via repeated purchases on the webshop, these points can easily be used via the app or in the physical store.
It is possbile because 52MASTERPRICER is part of Matas' omnichannel ecosystem. 52MASTERPRICER is a price calculator that ensures that the value of customer loyalty discounts is calculated the same way across Matas' sales channels in real-time.
Be sustainable and transparent
According to ”Kampen om Kurven i dagligvarehandlen – prognose 2031” from Retail Institute Scandinavia, sustainability is placed higher on the shopping list than ever before, and consumers have become extremely aware of the sustainability of products when they shop. In the survey, 45 percent of Danes answer that sustainability has some or crucial importance when they shop. 17 percent want information about the products via packaging or screens in the store, and for generation Z (the youngest consumer group), this applies to 23 percent.
Another study from Retail Institute Scandinavia shows that consumers in Generation Z, in particular, are focused on social responsibility, sustainability and that the products they buy are produced under proper conditions. According to Retail Institute Scandinavia, Generation Z is taking over the retail industry now, and therefore, it is particularly relevant to meet the expectations of this consumer group.
The most important thing for customers is that their purchased product is produced environmentally and climate-friendly (49 percent). Secondly, the product should not be transported far away but instead produced close by (31 percent). Plastic, in particular, is particularly criticized among consumers, who demand retailers to create packaging that leaves a smaller climate footprint on the planet. In addition, 49 percent of Danes believe that the total meat consumption in Denmark should be reduced, why plant-based products and meat alternatives have become increasingly popular.
To meet the customers' expectations for sustainability, sustainability must be considered in all aspects of your business. From the way you handle your waste, what packaging you use, your supply chain, your partners, etc. In addition, you should be transparent about your climate efforts, and all information about the sustainability of your products should be available to customers.