Executive Briefings

Digital Experience Innovations Will Be Key To Sustaining Retail, Studies Say

Retail sales rose 0.6 percent in December, according to the U.S. Commerce Department, showing a relatively flat holiday spending period after a 0.2 rise in November. However, online retailers in particular reported better sales, indicating a growing need for the integration of e-commerce and use of real-time data within retailers' customer experience, according to IT consulting company Syntel.

Digital disruption is driving fundamental changes in business models across nearly every industry, presenting a number of major challenges for the C-suite, Syntel says. Near the top of this list is the risk of creating a "digital disconnect" with millennial customers due to an inflexible customer service approach.

Gartner predicts that by 2018, more than 50 percent of organizations will redirect their investments to customer experience innovations. Investing in the customer experience is a key strategy to build customer loyalty — as demonstrated in a recent Walker study, which found that by 2020, customer experience will become the most important brand differentiator.

With new digital native customers entering the market each day, an ever-increasing percentage of consumers have grown up to expect always on, always connected service across a range of devices. Retail businesses must integrate technologies that meet those expectations, says Rakesh Khanna, Syntel CEO and president.

“Retailers are accountable to customers, and their success is measured not just in terms of the quality of the products they offer, but also by the quality and consistency of the customer experience,” Khanna said. “Business leaders need to recognize the impact of digital technologies on their business operations, as well as their ability to help retain and increase market share.”

Automation, real-time data and social media are key, Khanna says.

An automation strategy can free up 40 percent of operations bandwidth, Syntel says, allowing retailers to redirect staff and technology resources to the front end and focus on customer engagement.

Real-time data enables businesses to monitor customer shopping habits, track interest in products across in-store, online and mobile shopping channels, and gain insights into stock levels and supply chain to ensure that the right products are available for purchase.

Social media monitoring and engagement also help companies build customer communities and offer more personalized service.

“Those who invest in these technologies first will have an advantage in tomorrow’s marketplace, and the steps they take now will determine their future success,” Khanna said.

Source: Syntel

Digital disruption is driving fundamental changes in business models across nearly every industry, presenting a number of major challenges for the C-suite, Syntel says. Near the top of this list is the risk of creating a "digital disconnect" with millennial customers due to an inflexible customer service approach.

Gartner predicts that by 2018, more than 50 percent of organizations will redirect their investments to customer experience innovations. Investing in the customer experience is a key strategy to build customer loyalty — as demonstrated in a recent Walker study, which found that by 2020, customer experience will become the most important brand differentiator.

With new digital native customers entering the market each day, an ever-increasing percentage of consumers have grown up to expect always on, always connected service across a range of devices. Retail businesses must integrate technologies that meet those expectations, says Rakesh Khanna, Syntel CEO and president.

“Retailers are accountable to customers, and their success is measured not just in terms of the quality of the products they offer, but also by the quality and consistency of the customer experience,” Khanna said. “Business leaders need to recognize the impact of digital technologies on their business operations, as well as their ability to help retain and increase market share.”

Automation, real-time data and social media are key, Khanna says.

An automation strategy can free up 40 percent of operations bandwidth, Syntel says, allowing retailers to redirect staff and technology resources to the front end and focus on customer engagement.

Real-time data enables businesses to monitor customer shopping habits, track interest in products across in-store, online and mobile shopping channels, and gain insights into stock levels and supply chain to ensure that the right products are available for purchase.

Social media monitoring and engagement also help companies build customer communities and offer more personalized service.

“Those who invest in these technologies first will have an advantage in tomorrow’s marketplace, and the steps they take now will determine their future success,” Khanna said.

Source: Syntel