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    The problem with retail is the lack of clear and proactive communication throughout the customer journey: Infobip

    Poor customer experience, including impersonalszed communications, lack of diverse delivery options and tracking options, are top friction points among the four shopper personas identified by the report

    The biggest problem faced by retailers and merchants today is the lack of proactive and clear communication from retailers, resulting in multiple friction points for customers throughout the customer journey.

    So finds The Problem with Retail: Solving consumer pain within the customer journey, the latest research from Infobip published today, which explores the complex retail landscape and contemporary shopping behaviours amongst UK consumers.

    Using proprietary data from Retail Economics and a survey of 2,000 nationally representative UK consumers, the research sought to understand critical pain points in the customer journey, while leveraging on the four key shopper personas identified to help retailers avoid the one-size-fits-all trap, and better understand shopper needs and preferences.

    Download The Problem with Retail: Solving consumer pain within the customer journey report here  

    Introducing the four shopper personas

    In the age of multiple retail channels ranging from in-store, e-commerce, apps and social channels, retailers are under pressure to provide seamless, personalized customer journeys across all. However, this is not an easy task if retailers fail to first understand how shoppers are interacting with the brand, from initial awareness and research, to purchases and returns.

    By identifying four key shopper personas, retailers can ideally tailor their strategies to better meet the needs and preferences of specific groups, ultimately providing much more personalised and satisfying customer journeys.

    • The Exacting Shopper: Highly engaged and loyal, the Exacting Shopper is the most demanding consumer persona. They value digital propositions and personalised recommendations
    • The Busy Shopper: Always on the go and juggling commitments, Busy Shoppers switch between retailers based on their immediate needs. They prioritize digital channels and seek hassle-free experiences.
    • The Social Shopper: Social Shoppers balance online and in-store shopping. They value data protection and ethical practices. As a result, they have a high appreciation for safe, seamless, omnichannel CX.
    • The Laid-Back Shopper: Favouring in-store experiences, Laid-Back Shoppers show loyalty with minimal digital engagement. They’re forgiving of mistakes but appreciate good communication.

    Avoiding the trappings of income and age stereotypes

    The research found it short-sighted and limiting for retailers to make assumptions about shopper traits based on income and age, and the four personas avoided the trapping by factoring in demographics such as age and income.

    For example, the lines are blurred between income groups, with the results showing that higher incomes don’t always mean lower tolerance, nor do lower incomes guarantee greater leniency. While affluent individuals show a similar proportion of Laid-Back Shoppers as middle-income groups, challenging assumptions about financial status and retail expectations.

    Key strategies to build trust with the customer base 

    Earning customer trust is essential to tackling pain points in the customer journey. But how do retailers achieve this?

    • Clear and consistent communication across the various channels: The research found that two in three (59%) shoppers appreciate consistent messaging across channels, while seven in ten (68%) expect seamless communication between the multiple retail channels. Clear and consistent communication is particularly important when delays occur, with 82% ranking it the highest, above receiving status updates (79%) and real-time tracking (77%).

    o   For retailers looking to build consumer trust and manage customer expectations, clear and consistent communication can go a long way, especially when 22% of Exacting Shoppers say they are likely to stop shopping altogether with retailers that don’t offer this.

    • Balancing human and technologies for effective two-way communication:Understanding consumer preferences in communication channels is crucial. While automated alerts and AI-driven predictive customer service enables retailers to communicate proactively, currently only one in four (27%) shoppers say they are comfortable with chatbots and AI-enabled communications, with digital natives (35%) slightly more in favour than other age groups. This is further supported by 2 in 5 (40%) desiring more effortless access to human support, highlighting the preference for human interaction when it comes to fostering trust and loyalty.

    o   While AI technologies are effective in improving targeting, 24/7 availability and efficient access to information, retailers must balance the human touch and technological efficiency through a nuanced approach to customer service, where the extent of human interaction aligns with market segment expectations. This can be done through the development of conversational AI that is flexible, has a personality, and knows when it is time to hand over to a human agent.

    • The power of data in consumer personalization:Over half (56%) of shoppers feel their CX lacks personalization, revealing that even on fully digital consumer journeys, omnichannel platforms will be left behind if they don’t personalize their communications.

    o   This is where Data comes into play. Data stands at the forefront of transforming CX. Retailers need to shift their focus from mere data collection to insightful utilization. For example, leveraging loyalty schemes and customer interactions can unlock valuable insights into shopping habits and preferences, allowing retailers to personalise offerings and elevate the customer journey. From customized product recommendations to targeted marketing efforts, the goal must be to nurture loyalty and long-term engagement by making customers feel valued and understood.

    James Stokes, Head of Enterprise, UK, at Infobip, comments: “The findings highlight key considerations for retailers in understanding the multifaceted pain points throughout the customer journey we have today, as well as how they can enhance consumer satisfaction and loyalty. Armed with these customer insights and strategies, retailers are well-positioned to transform these challenges into opportunities by mitigating these pain points and elevate their brands by embracing a data-driven approach and using insights to focus on building trust and meeting consumer expectations”

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