Customer expectations change dramatically. With every new media, technology or innovation, they are already waiting for the next level of service.
Expectations are changing so fast that they go beyond the same technologies that keep retailers on their toes. At the heart of the customer, he does not want to think anymore. The customer does not want to worry about slow loading times, clumsy payment experiences, shipping and longlines. The customer only wants to think about the product – and he or she wants it immediately without distractions.
No industry is immune to these changing dynamics. While retail has seen the most change from every angle of the business model, grocery stores are facing the urgency of payments, the mobile checkout and scanning technology and analysis. The banking and financial space also catches up with bad customer experiences and easy payment transfer options that Venmo has pushed into the minds of customers.
But the retail business still seems to take these changes the hardest. It consistently takes advantage of point-of-sale experiences, simplified payments, automated reordering, machine learning logistics and now even voice control.
Let’s focus on some of the most influential areas that affect customer expectations.
Evolution of the point of sale (POS)
Customers do not want to queue. In fact, they do not even want to check. They want to get their products quickly and go out.
The grocery industry is one of the worst offenders. Let’s be honest: grocery shopping can be a bad experience, and most of these problems happen at checkout, with long queues and irritated customers. Self-guided crates have helped alleviate some of these problems, but they are still awkward and sometimes cause more pain than going to a cashier. Online ordering combined with in-store picking is another solution that is gaining momentum.
Like most changes, Amazon is pulling the rest of the industry with its Amazon Go stores, an experience with the scan-and-go model to move customers through the checkout quickly and efficiently. But Amazon Go stores are not yet national devices.
Customers who do not have this option expect big changes in their grocery stores, and the current model that has not evolved in decades is quickly becoming more frustrating for them. big chains. Kroger feels the heat, and it’s a positive move to see them evolve their payment options to include the option Scan, Bag, Go. Expect retailers to follow their example. While the store traffic continues its vertiginous fall, retailers may take big new technologies to bring back customers.
Macy’s is already banking on this new technology to bring back traffic to the stores. The problem is that the brand has been running the technology in the most “Macy” way possible. After scanning, customers must always go to a special line where associates check them and remove security tags, thus nullifying all the benefits of the technology.
Even so, it’s a step in the right direction, and other retailers will follow suit, hopefully with a cleaner experience.
Delivery and Delivery
The first things first. There are still retailers who do not offer free shipping forms. Their financial teams are dependent on the flow of revenue from the expedition, and they will not abandon it, even if the big picture clearly shows that it hurts sales. Most retailers have an evergreen shipping threshold (at a minimum), and others, like Walmart and Amazon, offer free shipping, putting them in a space style battle to be the king of logistic.
Free shipping is a fruit at your fingertips. If retailers do not offer it, they are already doomed. Customers expect not only free shipping, but also ultra-fast delivery. Logistics is no longer a backroom problem; This is a major facet of the customer experience, and it is an integral part of customer expectations in terms of immediate gratification.
We often talk about machine learning and artificial intelligence in purely marketing terms, but the most important impact of machine learning is in logistics, with deliveries predictive and predictive models for distribution centers.
These components are paramount for customer alignment and tracking of Amazon and Walmart, which can outmuscle other retailers with their massive distribution networks.
Experience after purchase
The shipping of a product is no longer the ultimate goal of the brands, and it is an area that is beneficial. The experience does not end; it just takes a new path to bring the customers back into the consideration set.
Customers expect a few key elements. The first is an after-purchase email to confirm that they like a product and to see if they have encountered any problems. It’s just a good deal, and this also gives brands the opportunity to increase the frequency of purchase by targeting recently purchased products. Active customers are likely to buy back within 30 to 60 days of their most recent purchase, so that sending a lifecycle email to recent buyers is no only waited by the customers but also very lucrative.
Another customer expectation is the ability to be heard by the brand. They believe in the customer’s voice (VOC). Customers want to give their opinion through reviews and opinions, social engagement and surveys. Brands must understand that this voice is out of their control – customers own it. Again, this is a benefit to the brand as it increases engagement, and customers who interact with the brand are more likely to be recurring buyers.
Think Like Your Customer
As marketers, strategists and analysts, we are often so drawn into the brand that we forget to think like a customer. Yet we are all part of the same cycle. Sometimes the simplest solution is simply to achieve what you would like if you were shopping.
Some of the most important changes in the customer journey are – at their base – the simplest ideas. And this evolution does not stop, it accelerates. Customers will soon be waiting for automatic reclassifications to be available with accurate and efficient voice-controlled purchases.
If retailers and grocers remember to put themselves in the shoes of a spoiled client from time to time, they can satisfy customers and offer mutually beneficial experiences.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. The authors of the staff are listed here.