What does the retail experience really look like for the consumer?

By Nye Longman
Discussions around providing a positive customer experience are endless and lead to many different opinions about what constitutes ‘quality servic...

Discussions around providing a positive customer experience are endless and lead to many different opinions about what constitutes ‘quality service’. As the ones paying, consumers always get the final say over how quality service is defined and, although preferences can vary from one person to the next, it’s necessary for the service providers get to know their customers’ preferences as best they can.

FJ Miller, co-founder and chairman of Liefery, considers the retail experience through the eyes of the customer and offers advice on how service providers can improve their strategy

Retailers and logistics companies alike have to understand what drives the consumer to make a decision. The question that often goes unanswered is, what is the crucial moment which causes a customer to consider their experience a ‘positive’ one? Or does it come down to a combination of factors?

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In the world of online shopping, technology is constantly evolving. Buy Buttons, retained payment details and personalised re-engagement techniques are just some of the developments that have made the buying process considerably more straightforward and stress-free than it used to be. This leaves delivery as the crucial ‘last leg’ of the booking process. It is essential that the delivery stage doesn’t become a glitch in the process - consumers will not be content with their shopping experience until the item has safely made its way to their door.

It’s no secret that if the delivery process is delayed or causes hassle for the consumer, it impacts negatively not only on the logistics firm but also (perhaps more so) on the retailer, which can brand the logistics partner responsible for its diminished reputation. Therefore logistic firms need to think carefully about how failing a consumer is impacting its customer service relationship, not just with the consumers themselves, but with its business partners.

What’s more, the amount of time people spend on connected devices each day means that retailers now have the added privilege of receiving consumer feedback immediately via social media. This means that if a customer complains about their delivery, the retailer’s reputation will be impacted that much more quickly and publically, so logistics firms can’t afford to provide a sloppy service.

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First impressions are crucial and often unrecoverable, so it’s worthwhile for retailers to prioritise a smooth and seamless booking process over penny-saving in the immediate stages. When it comes to the vital stage of delivery, logistics firms which implement the right technology will alleviate this step for retailers and significantly reduce costs in the long-term.

We’re seeing more and more click-and-collect services spring up across the country to help meet this growing demand. The best logistics firms employ the technological tools necessary to manage a fleet that upholds the partner’s reputation in the eyes of its customers as well as boosting its own consumer perceptions. Any retailer that utilises these on-demand services is actively reducing the risk of receiving customer complaints.

It’s an accepted truth that today’s consumers are trained to believe in convenience and flexibility when it comes to shopping, both on and offline. Ultimately, a negative delivery experience will equate to a negative retail experience, so it’s important that both logistics and retail services are coordinated in their goal to deliver customer service that is fast, flexible and in line with consumer demand.

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