Insight

4 Essential Ways to Retain Business in the Retail Sector

by Steven Forrest 21.06.19

We’re living in a consumer’s world. One that must shape and shift to adapt to their ever-changing needs instead of calling the shots. Today’s digital generation is empowered, impatient and demanding. Brand loyalty hangs by a thread and the smallest oversight can break it entirely. A 4-second website load time could be enough to lose your potential customer. In fact, according to Google, 53% of mobile website visits are abandoned if a page takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

Traditionally, the retail business model struggles to be flexible - tending to react rather than innovate and drop prices rather than build in-depth customer relationships. So, whether your customer experience isn’t seamless enough, you’re struggling to engage with your audience and keep up with their ever-evolving needs, or your website is a second too slow – retaining business in an era of digital disruption is no easy feat.

There’s no doubt that technology is changing our industries at a pace that most long-established companies are struggling to compete with. But although change can be overwhelming, it’s also incredibly exciting and should be treated as an opportunity to re-connect with existing customers as well as appeal to new ones.

1. Creating an Omnichannel Experience

The digital buyer’s journey is no longer limited to one channel or a solitary brand touchpoint. Multiple brand experiences will need to come together coherently in order to capture your customer and gain their trust.

An effective omnichannel experience will require relevant and insightful levels of personalisation, but more importantly, it will rely almost entirely on the harmonising of your company’s online and offline customer experience. Providing a consistent and integrated experience, unifying processes and ensuring that your teams and systems are working together efficiently will more than likely require the updating of existing business models. And the companies who have the correct tools in place to accommodate the modern buyer will be the ones who gain a competitive edge and increase their conversion rate.

This may seem like a daunting process and the idea of keeping up with disruptive, online-only start-ups might feel futile. But in fact, creating a seamless experience for the digital native all starts with getting the fundamentals right. Don’t ignore the invaluable importance of your network. In 2020 and beyond, you will need to invest in your back office to succeed.

2. Optimising Your Workforce

Modernising your back office isn’t just about investing in technology to facilitate integration, it also greatly depends on evaluating your internal processes to identify areas for improvement.

Are your departments communicating effectively with one another? Are the brand messages you’re sending out to your customer consistent at every touchpoint? Moving to the cloud will not only centralise and streamline your operations but having the right IT infrastructure in place can also free up your staff to focus on adding business value instead of continually striving just to keep systems running.

Automation tools are reducing administrative costs, as well as helping companies adhere to increasing GDPR compliance demands and making more time available for productive, strategic tasks rather than ineffective and laborious manual spread-sheet systems that are preventing you from delivering optimum customer experience.

Replacing manual steps with a deep level of orchestration and automation can drastically reduce the time to provision new applications and workloads. Saving time and money as well as reducing the likelihood of human error by working smarter with workloads and resource.

Digital users have a relentless sense of urgency, making automated experiences and quicker response times more important than ever for improved customer engagement and competitive advantage.

3. Realigning and Integrating Your Business

Transformation cannot be achieved in isolation. The only way for organisations to safeguard themselves from disruption is to wholeheartedly incorporate agility, creativity and innovation into their workforce.

Companies that embrace digital workplace technology will facilitate an agile working culture that will be more readily able to adapt to change and realise the true potential of their employees.

Creating a collaborative workspace may include the incorporation of social channels, multi-media messaging platforms, voice, video and web conferencing to enable your internal and external teams to work together from anywhere. And while realigning your business may seem like an entirely internal undertaking that should only be addressed when your company has some downtime – in fact, your business retention depends on it.

The incorporation of the right productivity tools for your business will help you to achieve the seamless integration of your back-office applications including desktop, finance, project management, resource management, CRM, service contract management and ROI management. Network alignment will be crucial to support your business as it scales and the demand for fluid end-to-end processes becomes necessary. It will also ensure that customer-centricity permeates throughout your entire business.

4. Personalised Brand Experiences

Business is no longer traditional and transactional. It’s inherently personal. Enabling your IT teams to collect meaningful data can bolster your business with powerful knowledge for your sales and marketing teams, as well as your customer service agents.

With so much data at our fingertips, being able to draw actionable insights and realign business strategy with intelligent findings will help to create personalised brand experiences that resonate with your audiences, as well as make meaningful improvements to internal processes.

Organisations will require technology that can effectively collect and analyse data, as well as a data centre that can manage and process massive amounts of information.

Retaining business in the age of digital disruption won't rely on building your own robot. But it may hinge on modernising the legacy systems that are holding your organisation back from realising its full potential and keeping your customers fulfilled. 

Forfusion works with retail clients to take advantage of the ever-changing digital landscape. To arrange your IT consultation and discuss your requirements, contact us at hello@forfusion.com, speak to our Newcastle office on 0191 500 9100 or our Romsey office on 0196 289 2920.

 

Are you ready to transform your business? Arrange your IT consultation today to discuss your requirements.

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