Delivering excellence in retail experiences requires a blend of art and science. Unifying master data, operational data, and experience data helps view drivers that contribute to customer interest, conversion and post-purchase feedback. Still, merchants have a great feel for what resonates with customers. Combining this art with the science that comes from experience metrics can explain how a customer came to to buy as a part of their customer journey.
RIS’ recently published “The Art & Science of Experiential Retailing” special report to explore leaders in experiential retailing.
To uncover how to blend old-school retailing techniques with new-school data based approaches, Rick Chavie, the CEO of EnterWorks, sat down with RIS for an exclusive Q&A on the topic.
RIS: Which experiences do customers truly desire that can be implemented today to build lasting and meaningful engagement?
Chavie: A consumer is truly engaged when their interest intersects with discovery in the form of an experiential moment. But in order for them to discover a product that meets their needs, a retailer must have the right search words presented in the right online vehicles, the right visual display that helps a customer envision how they might use a product, or the right sales associate to guide them as a consumer tries to learn how this product best meets their needs.
Lasting engagement means a retailer can store and monitor the effectiveness of their delivery against those experiential moments: Could the customer find the product? Did we have it in stock so they could see it in the store? Did we have people available online or in a store to handle their questions prior to purchase?
The key to extending a customer affiliation with the retailer’s brand also requires post-purchase engagement. Whether there was a great experience or one that came up wanting, the retailer needs to measure the outcome that goes beyond purely transactional sales results. It is the social feedback, the referrals to friends and family, and yes, the complaints that all need to feed back to the merchant to provide insights into the key factors contributing to successful engagement.
RIS: There is a host of technology on the market designed to foster an experiential retail environment. Can you point to a couple that you believe are must haves?
Chavie: We consider a cohesive Multi-Domain Experience Management (MxM) platform to be essential, one that enables eCommerce, mobile, and physical store content in a consistent and compelling manner. MxM includes Master Data Management (MDM - those master data elements that are common and shared across applications and include the domains of data such as product, customer, location, asset, supplier, location), Product Information Management (PIM – all the content, attributes, descriptions needed to support omnichannel content), and Digital Asset Management (DAM – digital assets such as videos, audio, images, and more to enable a customer to imagine a product as it comes to life or its ultimate use).
The other components for enabling an end-to-end connection to internal and external customers includes modules such as portals (supplier portals, sales and service portals) and excellent workflow capabilities to enable the cross-functional team collaboration.
Finally, the centralized hub that MxM offers in the integration point for seamlessly connecting a host of systems that are otherwise too siloed to contribute to great experiences, systems such as ERP, planogram solutions, POS, logistics and more.