Creating a seamless retail customer experience
The Economist Intelligence Unit
People have changed the way they shop. Rather than going to the nearest store to research and make a purchase, many will now research online and buy in-store, or vice versa. Moreover, especially with mobile technology becoming more popular, people expect to be able to shop whenever they want and wherever they are. Retailers have little choice but to react to behaviour that has already changed, and to consumers who are increasingly intolerant of being told that they must fit in with a seller’s choice of time and location.
In practice, this can mean some major changes for retailers, whose operations are often organised around a physical store network, with separate businesses covering areas such as online and telephone sales. Companies need to reorganise to abolish the distinction between individual business units. Staff incentives and targets need rethinking, so that they take account of wider sales, including online, rather than simply measuring the performance of an individual store or sales channel. And there needs to be investment in information technology (IT), so that all the various platforms are unified from a user’s point of view.