How technology allows the customer to influence companies and the purchase of their products and services.
Keeping a shop open isn’t about raising the shutters every morning: the continued life of the shop means having full awareness of what occurs between those walls after you’ve opened it. Making a proper analysis of collected data (offline and/or online) and leveraging it to extract valuable information is of key importance, as is doing it in good time. But how?
We hear much talk of customer experience in store and certainly, the use of new technologies to make the store a services and information exchange hub is the best way to really enhance customer experience. However, the most important technology right now is the one found in the customer’s pocket or purse – and it’s called a smartphone. Thanks to their mobile devices, it is now possible to monitor the three customer purchase phases: pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase. Each of these steps is a challenge we need to explore, learn and then improve: not just to gain new customers, but to conquer their loyalty. Our Smartphone is a litmus test for purchases and it doesn’t matter what role it plays in those phases. That’s why we need to work on « mobile seduction »: « Seduction » or more accurately, persuasion, is what we are all prey to and what almost all of us are seeking through our devices. It is the habits, interests and priorities of customers that directs the market and the people who work in it: So, to avoid what the Americans called a retail « Apocalypse« , we have to accept that technology allows the customer to directly influence companies: whoever buys influences prices, production times and product styles. It is the customer’s purchase experience – or at least the expectation of it – that determines the standard approaches of Retailers. This however mustn’t be perceived as a « sentence » that curtails our freedom, because technology is making great strides forward and offers platforms that not only bring customer experience to vivid life, but also allow businesses to collect the “hot” data we mentioned above. Research conducted by Altroconsumo came up with some of the technologies most appreciated by consumers (and therefore by companies). They are: self-service checkouts, time-saving barcode scanners, contactless payments and click&collect.
In conclusion, it seems that the advantages are there and that they work for both parties: the customer gets the Brand experience and saves time, while the company gets the kind of data it needs to get advance knowledge of what those aforementioned experiences and expectations actually are and which in fact shape the market.