It is a truly exciting time for retailers as they seek to capitalise on the massive changes in consumer behaviour driven by digital technology and mobile devices.  

Consumers are demanding more flexibility, an improved experience, better service and more channels to engage with more frequently.

All of this while demanding everything quicker and cheaper at the same time.

A new report from Econsultancy, The Digital Retailer: Trends, Opportunities and Challenges in association with Marketing Week Live, puts the spotlight on the changing landscape for retailers and how they can deliver outstanding customer experiences.

The report draws on various pieces of Econsultancy research in order to give a snapshot of the retail sector in the digital age, while also offering a glimpse of the future with numerous case studies from forward-thinking brands that are already capitalising on the technology available.

Disney's MagicBands allow customers to unlock the door of their Disney Resort hotel room, enter the theme parks, check in at FastPass entrances, connect Disney PhotoPass images to their account, and even charge food and merchandise purchases to their resort hotel room.

Starwood, Hyatt and Hilton hotel chains have all been testing initiatives allowing guests enrolled in their loyalty programmes to check in via their apps and use their mobiles as room keys in order to avoid wait lines at the front desk.

Airports are finding new ways to use technology to reduce customer waiting time. Food chain Yo! Sushi is trialling a mobile ordering system in its T2 outlet in Heathrow so that people can order their food on its smartphone app and have it brought to their table. 

Retail marketers see customer experience across all touchpoints as the single most exciting opportunity in 2015, while the vast majority are already using it as their point of differentiation.

A retail cut of our data from the Digital Trends 2015 report shows that making the experience as "personalised and relevant" as possible is where retailers are placing the most emphasis in order to improve the customer experience.

Meanwhile Econsultancy’s Customer Experience Optimization report, produced in partnership with Ensighten, shows that businesses need to sharpen their focus on delivering outstanding customer experiences as a key requirement for achieving business success.

According to responding companies, customer experience optimisation leads to higher conversion rates and greater loyalty.

Almost all (94%) companies see "higher engagement and conversion rates" as benefits of a commitment to customer experience, compared to two-thirds (66%) who cite "better brand perception" as part of the resulting upside. 

The emphasis on customer experience coincides with rising consumer expectations, which has led brands to focus on customer satisfaction and an aim to delight at every touchpoint in an attempt to foster loyalty. 

Initiatives relating to areas such as personalisation and mobile are all part of a bigger quest by brands to improve the customer experience in an age when customer-centricity is more important than ever. 

For more insight, download our full report: The Digital Retailer: Trends, Opportunities and Challenges.

Lynette Saunders

Published 4 June, 2015 by Lynette Saunders @ Econsultancy

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Dan Parker, CEO at WiForia | WIfi Marketing

Interesting to note the ever increasing importance of personalisation. I think this couples well with the recent report from Deloitte which showed that 64c in every dollar spent in-store if now influence by digital, with mobile being paramount. Personalised relevant in-store digital communication is the big opportunity.

almost 3 years ago

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