by Stephanie Levy | HappyOrNot
Today’s complete shopping journey no longer consists of only an in-store visit. The new phygital (a merge of physical and digital) world means that brands must offer a seamless, consistent, and excellent customer experience in all channels.
Trade patterns have been changing very rapidly. Many have considered the end of brick-and-mortar stores with the explosion of e-commerce and the advent of the omnichannel, however, a study by the Harvard Business Review states that 83% of customer journeys still occur within a single channel, like, for example, clothing and apparel retail which holds 80% of sales within the category (great news for retailers!).
The flip side, is that when it comes to collecting personal data, the digital channel is the clear winner. This is why retailers and brands need to explore and implement innovative ways to improve the in-store customer experience while also incentivizing shoppers to revisit their digital channels.
A new dimension of retail
Thanks to online, customers are smarter than ever when it comes to their purchasing decision. They research the products online – checking availability, reading reviews, searching for best prices – before investing time or money.
This means that the commitment to purchasing takes on a deeper formation where every detail counts: overall experience, personalization, the brand, their story. The shift in buyer behavior represents a unique opportunity for retailers to reposition brick-and-mortar stores to be the epicenter of customer experience, and strategize their digital channels to personalize offerings and drive consumers to their stores.
When assembling this new phygital customer experience, is important to also realize the need to ensuring that the services provided in each channel deliver a consistently excellent experience. To do so, it’s necessary to measure each channel with the same platform.
Measuring the phygital customer experience
The customer experience is by definition human and has a strong emotional character. Each individual perceives with their own filters the interactions they create with a seller, and while the measurement is subjective, it is also at its truest to the actual experience when expressed at the exact moment of interaction, regardless of whether that is in-store or online.
Capturing the customer sentiment is critical for business performance assessment, but the feedback collected from each channel must be real-time and presented in a way that is understandable and actionable by the different stakeholders of a brand.
Deploying an easy-to-use feedback solution in-store that connects to an online data analytics platform can help retailers monitor that the physical customer experience is meeting customer expectations. Additionally, implementing a similar, digital version in e-commerce helps to compare and verify not only if customers are also happy with the online services, but their likeliness to be repeat or in-store visitors.
Measuring the phygital customer experience supports company-wide development, such as the marketing department using the data to evaluate the impact of concepts it has designed (online), and store managers assessing the best and worst times or locations of service performance (in-store).
Knowing which activities and channels work well, and those that don’t, allows retailers to make more focused decisions on actions that will improve the overall service performance and, ultimately, customer satisfaction and profits.
In short, the goal of ensuring that the customer’s experience of their phygital journey boils down to developing long-term customer loyalty and fighting against a high attrition rate.
Retailers must be vigilant about the perception of the customer experience and have clearly readable indicators, because those that place the satisfaction and quality of the customer experience as a their priority will realize much better performance and profits than their competitors.