Key CX Challenges in the Retail Industry

In response to pressures from e-commerce, retailers are struggling to unify experiences across channels. But brick and mortar experiences are still important to many shoppers.

Woman Using Mobile to Browse While Shopping showing omnichannel retail customer experience and omnichannel vs. multi-channel

Retailers are facing immense pressure due to the expansion of e-commerce, especially when it comes to online retail giants. Understandably, many retailers have spent the past few years enhancing their e-commerce offerings. Let’s take a closer look at the retail customer experience.

Digital and in-store must offer a unified experience

However, savvy retailers have realized customers don’t want to do their shopping exclusively online – what many shoppers really want is an omnichannel experience that includes brick and mortar stores. Studies show that 85% of consumers want to do their shopping in a store, preferring to touch and feel products before they buy. But even though your customers may prefer to come to a store location to make a purchase, they’re going online before they do. Blending experiences across channels is a must to stay competitive.

It would be risky to underestimate the power of the in-store experience, and it’s vital to seamlessly integrate in-store and online interactions to deliver a cohesive retail customer experience. Unfortunately, many shoppers’ are still encountering an inconsistent experience between digital and brick-and-mortar, and even between individual stores. This is largely a result of a disconnect in technology and processes impeding corporate’s ability to track customer issues across all store locations.

How retailers can succeed at omnichannel service

Brands that are able to connect experiences across the entire customer journey—including in-store—offer something that pure e-commerce retailers cannot. By giving your customers a consistent and personalized experience, whether they are on your site, using your app, or standing in your store, you’re eliminating barriers to purchase and building loyalty.

A critical component of bringing consistency to the retail customer experience, regardless of where interactions take place, is making sure all front-line employees have accurate information—whether they’re store associates or contact center agents. A unified hub for customer information and company knowledge ensures everyone can provide correct and personalized responses to customers and enables corporate to glean best practices from individual locations and communicate them organization-wide.

Customers want that consistency to extend to self-service, and leveraging a unified CRM allows virtual agents and chatbots to pull answers from the knowledge base and tailor responses using each customer’s personal information, purchase history, and other data. The technology also creates easy transitions from self-service to speaking with a contact center rep via voice or video, and equips the agents to seamlessly continue conversations, instead of asking customers to start over.

Gathering first-party customer data for deeper insights

Every customer interaction creates an opportunity to capture first-party data, which can be used to understand customer sentiment, trends, purchase behavior, barriers to purchase, and more. Retailers on the cutting edge are collecting and leveraging this data to make decisions and get ahead of potential problems.

For example, top questions asked by customers via a self-service chatbot on your website could indicate product features or promotions that they may find confusing, or present opportunities to change messaging or features to better fit what customers are looking for. Or, a sudden influx of calls and emails to the contact center around a specific product or store location could be a warning sign of potential problems that need to be addressed.

The technology solutions that drive the retail customer experience

Astute empowers companies to deliver omnichannel retail with consistent, seamless customer experiences with our smart CRM, knowledgebase, and self-service software.

Contact center agents use a single case management CRM interface to manage all customer interactions, such as email, social, phone, live chat, and video. Rich customer context, and integrated knowledgebase, and suggested next best actions allow agents to deliver personalized, accurate, and optimized customer interactions—every time. Intelligent escalation lets agents seamlessly pick up the conversation where self-service leaves off.

Unified CRM data collection and social media management across all store locations allows corporate to track customer issues, communicate best practices organization-wide, and identify trends and insights for future improvement. Robust business intelligence reporting tools allow you to distill insights from all interactions to uncover key issues and patterns in customer behavior.

Astute’s self-service solutions power virtual agents and service bots with this same customer context and smart knowledgebase, providing your customers with relevant and tailored responses while deflecting calls and emails from your contact center.


Learn more about Astute's customer care solutions.