So-called “customer-centric” retailers, companies that focus entirely on the customer, enjoy 60% more profits compared to companies that are not as focused on the customer. It makes sense. Customers like to be engaged with their stores and brands, and like to feel that their business is important to the companies they patronize. Customer-centric retailers tend to have a better understanding of the customer journey than other retailers.
What is the customer journey?
The customer journey is a phrase used to describe the cycle from when the customer first learns of a store or a brand through to the customer making a final purchase or to becoming a loyal, repeat customer. This model, which was introduced 20 years ago by OxfordSM, maintains that the customer journey involves the following steps:
- Out of Market
- Initial Brand Consideration
- Active Evaluation
- Purchase Decision
Some examples of the customer experience include when a customer first sees the layout of your store, when they visit your website, when they interact with your store or customer service team members and how they view the product they purchased from your store.
Making sure that your customer’s experience is positive at all of these stages is the key element to building your brand and increasing customer loyalty. One tool retailers can use to gain knowledge about their customers’ experience is customer mapping.
What is customer mapping?
Customer mapping involves outlining the different touchpoints your business has with the consumer. These can include your store, your website, your social media pages, your print or other advertising and your customer service team. During the mapping process, management tells a story about how a customer interacts with each touchpoint and then brainstorms about how that interaction can be improved.
Enhancing the customer journey
New retail technology can make a huge impact in the customer journey. For example, digital signage can help customers get answers to commonly-asked questions without having to search for a salesperson. Queue management systems, that allow customers to check out without waiting in line or make appointments to shop, reducing crowd size, can also help enhance the customer journey.
Ombori is an innovative technology company that provides a platform for ready-to-use, customizable, modular solutions for interactive in-store screens and mobile devices. The Swedish-based company offers queue management systems and appointment booking apps, as well as digital signage and interactive in-store displays. Ombori is the creative force behind such revolutionary in-store technology as a talking mirror in H&M’s Manhattan store that asks shoppers to take a selfie with it and an interactive window display in Stockholm that lets passersby shop without even entering the store.