While retail spaces have been transformed through the use of new technology, one of the biggest developments has been the experience around the customer, mainly the likes of personalised sales and customer service.
For Coman Burke, the software practice lead for Ergo, these developments and many others have been all done with the customer journey in mind, especially since there’s demand for greater efficiency
“It’s all around omni-channel sales where mobile solutions are really coming to the forefront to improve customer journey,” said Burke.
“Customer loyalty is a big thing and engaging with the customers to give them the self-service they expect in this day and age so they can manage bookings, retail can then open cross sales and then leverage opportunities around that.
“The [clients] we deal with now is all around personalised targeting . . . so it’s giving customers the continuity that they expect. You’re giving them the right digital solutions for ease of use and then the ability to reach out for help if they need it.”
Before they even set foot in the store, it’s likely that customers are well into the journey of buying goods in that they’ve done research into your store, and competitors, and weighed up the pros and cons. By the time a retailer sees the customer, chances are that they came after spending time researching the various choices out there.
Because of that, Irish retailers need to become savvier and more conscious of the different ways to appeal to these customers or risk losing out to their competitors. Burke says that to their credit, Irish retailers are pushing forward with adapting new technology into the retail experience.
“The technology adoption rates are definitely accelerating in the Irish retail market,” he said.
“A lot of retailers are becoming very conscious of omni-channel sales, whether it’s online sales or mobile app sales, and are all pretty much focused on improving the customer journey.
“They’re very much aware of what the customer expects, what they want and to a cercertain extent how best to serve the customer with information through the right medium at the right place and time.”
As a result, Burke is seeing a lot of Ergo’s clients becomingaware and focusing in on the end-to-end ecosystem powering this experience. Aspects like refining the ordering and supply system to include automation, analytics and other tools are possible options and Burke says that more retailers are now “conscious of the bigger picture”.
“What you really notice is with a lot of retailers that have a lot of modern business models is they’re set up ready to cater for changes in the market,” he said.
“They’re becoming lean, they’re becoming efficient and effective and if they’re not, they become irrelevant and they lose any hold that they had in the market that they’re operating in."
“There’s a huge focus on introducing automation and automated approval. Essentially ust quicker turnaround times and having the automated trail to ensure the consumer information is stored securely
in the business applications that they’re using.”
When working with retailers, Ergo engages in a customer journey where they start by looking at things from the customer’s perspective and then working back. That way, it can look at all the processes and solutions required to make them “as lean and as productive as possible”.
For the foreseeable future, the focus will be on the customer, an obvious choice but with more comprehensive retail technologies out there, ensuring that personalisation isn’t a pipe dream, it’s reality.
“Organisations in Ireland really need to see the business from the perspective of the customers,” said Burke.
“Looking at their needs and working backwards and reaching the new digital capabilities to satisfy them all through our customer journey mapping . . . essentially putting yourself in the shoes of the customer and looking at processes.
“Then in terms of technology to enable that, I’d see more solutions based around chatbots,” said Burke.
They’ve become a priority for a lot of retail organisations. Beacon technology is quite a mature offering in the States, becoming more and more prevalent in the Irish market.”
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