By Sridhar Hariharasubramanian

Today’s customers expect more from their entire shopping experience than ever before.

They still want high-quality products, but they also want a seamless, consistent experience that begins before they buy and ends long after. Customers also use multiple channels to complete their shopping journey and stay connected with their favorite brands (ranging from websites and social media channels to e-commerce aggregator sites, transactional SMS and email). I’m here.

For many customers, the in-store experience is as important as online retail to meet their needs. Therefore, retailers need to find ways to make the consumer experience convenient and enjoyable across both online and offline channels.

Delivering Connected Phygital Experiences

Customers expect connected experiences across multiple touchpoints, both in-store and online. They also want the freedom to start their buying journey at one point and complete it at another. The challenge for businesses is that customer data is often spread across departments and systems that do not communicate with each other. These data silos create a fragmented view of the customer and make it difficult for teams to deliver the connected experiences customers demand.

This creates a need to consolidate customer data across both online and offline sources into a single, shared, 360-degree customer view. This gives brands all the data they need to deliver a smooth phygital experience no matter where and how their customers interact. Cloud-powered platforms combine back-end data (inventory, pricing, etc.) and front-end data (customer information, loyalty programs, etc.) from different departments to deliver a personalized online shopping experience. Helpful. This allows your team to see customer interactions, orders, and inventory in one unified view and seamlessly pick up the customer conversation where you left off.

For example, if a web store customer adds a few items to their cart and walks away without making a purchase, the data is captured in a single source of truth and made available across teams. Later, when the same customer visits her in one of the brand’s brick-and-mortar stores, the salesperson can immediately pull the data to show the unpurchased items in the customer’s online cart. The rep can then refer the customer to the same product in the store or recommend similar products that the customer likes. This makes the customer’s entire journey from online to offline smooth and personalized.

Engage through preferred platforms

Customers today interact with brands across multiple channels. This opens up new opportunities for retailers. Because customers expect to engage with each of these channels in different ways, at different times and in different formats. The way customers interact through these channels is also changing rapidly, driven in part by ever-evolving algorithms.

Brands need to continuously test and measure the effectiveness of their campaigns to know which channels to focus on. This is not only to see which channels are most effective, but also to optimize marketing messages and formats and timing. Understanding the best marketing channels for your business can help you allocate resources to the right places and maximize revenue.

Hyper-personalized customer experience powered by AI

Personalization isn’t just about correctly displaying a customer’s name in emails and service calls. Customers expect personalization at every stage of their journey. They also want their purchase history to inform product recommendations. For retailers, it’s no longer about having a wide range of products, it’s about having the right products based on what customers want.The retail experience should make it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for. I have. For example, the “Also Viewed” tab or “Customers who liked this also liked this page”.

Brands are also leveraging AI to deliver highly customized product recommendations based on shopper behavior. Predictive sorting allows businesses to quickly connect customers to the products they’re looking for. AI also helps improve searches by automatically adding popular search terms to the dictionary and recommending appropriate synonyms to show relevant results every time. Brands can use AI-based APIs to deliver the same level of personalization across all possible touchpoints. Personalization simplifies shopper decision-making and encourages them to shop more with specific brands.

Make shopping in-store more enjoyable

As consumer behavior continues to evolve, retailers must rethink how bricks-and-mortar stores add value to the overall customer experience. Many stores are already transforming physical stores to embrace creative store concepts such as experiential shopping, beyond just browsing and buying products.

Today’s customers demand personalized and connected experiences. They are knowledgeable, tech-savvy, and have limited patience with brands that can’t keep up. Providing an exceptional experience is no longer a luxury, it is an expectation. And brands that do it well are rewarded with customer loyalty and repeat business.

The author is Senior Director of Solutions Engineering at Salesforce.

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