The store is still the best place to ‘work all senses’

What is the biggest potential differentiator of store-based retailers compared to online-only retailers?  It’s the social human touch and the impactful experience involving all the human senses: hearing, feeling, seeing, smelling…. I am a very regular online shopper, but still I very much appreciate the experience of being served by friendly staff, that is helping you in a relevant manner and making you feel valued and respected. This turns store-shopping into pleasant and delightful events, even for digital shop-a-holics like myself.  

Unfortunately, current practices in many stores do not live up to that promise. A large number of store interactions that occur today are frankly flat, uninspired, automatic, and mechanically transactional. There are many store visits that don’t create sales and do not build a relation between the store and the shopper.

In most cases I have completely different instore experiences compared with the digital interactions with the same retailer outside the store. Or with the digital services I get from other (online) retailers. And these digital experiences have raised the bar of my expectations.

The key question is: what will trigger people to go to stores? What makes stores more than just ‘nicely decorated warehouses where they are expected to do their own product-picking’? Why would they not orient, decide and buy via digital channels – since this is often far more convenient, and can be delivered quick at a lower price ? Store-based retailers need to deliver a new level of service and experience to meet these new expectations.

Clienteling is a great way to improve the customer experience with ‘the human touch’ supported by digital technologies in the store. The key is to build the capability to manage personal customer engagement in a way that drives traffic to stores, provides an exceptional in-store shopping experience and keeps shoppers coming back for more.

Capgemini’s ClientAssist is offering a way to make this happen. Starting from a relevant and differentiating shopper experience, mapping this to the role of the store and store staff and translating that into a new way of serving shoppers in stores, enabled by digital technologies. Like for example in this video

Wouldn’t it be great if you could get more people into your stores and improve their  interactions, so they are not flat, but be valued as personally engaging, caring, relevant, convenient, consistent, respectful and inspiring experiences?

PS – Capgemini will be sponsoring the Forrester Forum for Customer Experience Professionals from 17-18 Nov in London. Come and chat to us on our stand. More details on the Forrester website.