As technology advances, so does the way we shop. Today, online retailing has become an important part of everyday life for millions of people around the globe. And as e-commerce continues to grow and evolve, there is increasing demand for new and innovative shopping experiences that will have a lasting impact on consumer behavior. In this blog post, I'll be exploring what's likely to come in the future when it comes to shopping experiences – from interactive elements and virtual reality capabilities to customer service bots and artificial intelligence-driven checkout systems. With all these technologies looming on the horizon, it's clear that now is an exciting time for anyone involved in e-commerce – let's find out how they can use them to create amazing user journeys.
Something that businesses often overlook is that the shopping experience begins before shopping itself. The customer experience begins the moment a potential customer first encounters your brand, and this initial interaction can play a pivotal role in shaping their overall shopping experience. This is because first impressions often set the tone for the ensuing relationship. If this initial touchpoint—be it through a website visit, a social media post, or a word-of-mouth recommendation—is positive, it can spark interest and lead to deeper engagement. Apart from that, it is important to send the right message to the right people through the right touchpoint. How? Market research, analytics, and targeted ads.
The future of shopping experiences is in creating a unified touchpoint experience, one that is seamless for the customer. They see an ad on one touchpoint and can easily transfer to another channel so that they feel most at ease when shopping. This means that your touchpoints need to be carefully set up and connected so that it doesn’t end up as a confusing mess that alienates the customer. In customer service, for example, you might have a multichannel approach which is good but can be hard to track. To mitigate these issues you might use something like Transcom’s Omnichannel solutions which use innovative approaches to make your job that much easier.
The question is how do you get the right people, people who are interested in your product, who are your targeted demographic, to interact with your brand. Through targeted ads and a targeted marketing campaign. After conducting your market research you can use analytics to specifically pinpoint which people want your product and how to get it into their hands. Gone are the days of casting a wide net in order to catch as many fish as possible. With modern technology, you can have the exact lure you need for the audience you want. A specific product, on a specific channel, to specific people.
Expanding on the topic of targeting, personalized ads are absolutely the future of the shopping experience, not because they are a cool additional thing to have in your arsenal, but because they are fast becoming a necessity. The insights gained from analytics serve to enhance the relevance of the advertisement to the individual customer, fundamentally improving the shopping experience. By leveraging data about buying habits, preferences, and interests, businesses can provide a curated selection of products or services that closely align with the customer's needs and wants. This level of personalization often leads to higher customer satisfaction, increased brand loyalty, and ultimately, better sales performance.
This phase is the one most people think about when you say shopping experience. While not the only important one, it may be the key to retail. You can have great marketing to draw the customer in with slogans and ideas, you can have amazing customer service, and perfect customer care after purchase. All of it amounts to nothing if the shopping phase isn't up to par. Websites or apps that don't quite work just mean that the customer will take one look and leave. Bad search means that the customer has to spend more time to find what they want, giving them more time to give up. A convoluted checkout process means that the customer is more likely to feel unsafe giving their details and actually spending money.
As with all aspects of the shopping experience you need to collect data, analyze it, and make decisions based off of the results. You might think your page or app is easy to navigate but the majority of your customers may not. That’s why you need to look at heatmaps of pages that work and compare them to heatmaps of your page.
Apart from that, one also needs to see if the page layout is optimized for searching, finding, and shopping. All major retailers offer the same shopping experience on the basic level. The first thing you see is a huge search bar to find what you need, then general recommendations based off of what people are searching for, and then deals and offers. Also, your filters need to be well thought out and conspicuously placed. Meaning that anyone can quickly and effortlessly narrow down their search to find just the right product. But understanding the customer experience isn’t the easiest thing to do, that’s why retailers look to companies like Transcom for their CX advisory, and AI advisory services, in order to better understand the issues they might have.
Personalized results can be proactive and reactive. Proactive ones are the recommendations that come from the general analytics of demographics and interests. You know that people in this age group, gender, and location have these interests therefore you offer something before they type anything into the search bar. This way you can drastically shorten the time before clicking on a product and increase the likelihood of adding a product to their cart.
Reactive recommendations are ones that show up after typing or clicking on a product. Maybe you don’t have the thing someone searched for, but you either have the next best thing or the better thing. Offer it to your customers. A customer added a product to their cart? Offer suggestions based on what other people bought with that product. A charger recommended for a certain device, a cable for a microphone, and a brush with paints. Quick, convenient, and effective. The future of shopping experiences will be less searching and more clicking.
The after-shopping phase is an often overlooked but crucial component of the overall shopping experience. It encompasses all interactions and experiences the customer undergoes post-purchase. This phase includes elements such as the effectiveness of the product or service, the process of product return or replacement, customer support, and the communication extended to the customers after their purchase, such as thank you emails, personalized offers, and satisfaction surveys. The primary goal of the after-shopping phase is not only to ensure customer satisfaction but also to establish a relationship that encourages repeat business and fosters customer loyalty.
Customer feedback plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of the shopping experience. It not only provides retailers with valuable insights into what customers appreciate but also highlights areas that require improvement. By actively listening to customers, businesses can tailor their services to meet evolving expectations, ultimately enhancing customer satisfaction and fostering loyalty. Moreover, it acts as a catalyst for innovation, enabling retailers to stay competitive in the ever-changing market landscape.
When retailers prioritize customer feedback, they unlock opportunities for growth and discovery. By analyzing and acting upon customer insights, businesses can identify unmet needs and tailor their offerings accordingly. This customer-centric approach drives innovation and helps retailers create unique value propositions that resonate with their target audience. By continually seeking and implementing customer feedback, retailers can then undergo digital transformations with the help of trusted partners like Transcom. This means that actively seeking out and listening to customer feedback will dictate how the shopping experience looks in the future.
Customer reviews and content moderation of these reviews are increasingly becoming the cornerstone of the shopping experience. In the digital era, customers are drawn toward transparency and authenticity. As such, reviews from real users add a layer of trustworthiness, guiding customers' purchase decisions and providing a more well-rounded shopping experience.
Effective content moderation, like the one that Transcom offers, ensures that these reviews remain fair, genuine, and free from harmful or misleading content. This ensures a safe digital space where customers can openly share their experiences and opinions. Consequently, businesses can benefit from these insights to improve their products and services, thus shaping the future of shopping experiences.
When it comes to creating an outstanding shopping experience, retailers often overlook the incredible power of customer support. It's not just about helping after a purchase - customer support plays a vital role in so many ways. Customers, who are the heart and soul of any business, reach out for information, share concerns, and even give compliments. By going above and beyond to provide exceptional service, retailers can meet and exceed customer needs, skyrocketing satisfaction levels and creating an unforgettable brand perception.
Imagine a customer who is browsing online, unsure about a product's specifications. With prompt and knowledgeable assistance from customer support, they can make an informed decision, building trust and confidence in the retailer. Similarly, when a customer encounters an issue with a purchase, an efficient and empathetic resolution from customer support can turn a potentially negative experience into a positive one.
All of this means that customer support is becoming an integral part of the shopping experience and that its future is customer-focused and service-centered.
When talking about better agents, we don’t necessarily immediately think of AI. Far from being just a buzzword, AI can help usher in the future of the shopping experience by helping train better agents. Tools like Transcom’s agent development accelerator - ADA, are soon to become indispensable. ADA uses AI to mimic countless complex and nuanced personas so that future CSRs can train in lifelike situations without any real risk, and it’s as simple as calling a number. Another way AI like ADA can help agents is by using analytics to evaluate performance, showing exact areas in need of improvement.
Apart from their professional well-being, it’s important to look after your agents’ general well-being with things like T:Perform and T:Buddy which focus on making sure perform and feel their best.
The next aspect of the future shopping experience will be in providing personalized and customized customer support. Customers are starting to demand to be able to contact you in any way they want. This is fairly easy to implement but hard to keep track of, leading to customers having to repeat themselves over interactions and between channels of communication. These issues turn this multichannel approach from a boon into a curse. To tackle this issue we have created Omnichannel solutions which are designed to give agents all the information about the call, customer, and problem they could need, all at a glance. This means that the customer spends less time repeating their issue and the agent doesn’t have to waste time establishing the nature of the call, but instead can jump straight to solving the query.
Another way of personalizing your customer support is by having it in the native language of your market. This is easy if the language in question is English or German as there are a lot of people who speak them while still being in competitive hiring markets, or if you’re hiring locally for other languages. This can quickly turn into a problem in markets with higher costs of operation, especially in terms of hiring. You are then presented with a choice: either increase your TCO or decrease CSAT by using a lingua franca. To combat this, Transcom has created Automated Translation. It is a real-time translation solution powered by AI, which can be integrated into virtually any platform in order to provide near-perfect translation in both text and voice. This approach decreases costs by allowing you to hire in more competitive markets, and increases CSAT by allowing your customers to talk in their native language.
Lastly, the future of the shopping experience is in the use of bots to predict and intercept issues that customers might have. Implementing digital solutions like Transcom’s chatbots can create a perfect customer service solution. By using bots you can decrease the load on CSRs, increase customer satisfaction by speeding up query handling, decrease costs, and improve the general flow of your service in one fell swoop.