2014-02-04 21:42:42 - Many high street retailers have reported disappointing Christmas season trading figures and with the current ultra-competitive trading environment set to intensify in 2014, it will become essential for retailers to get closer to their customers, and improve their shopping experiences, in order to enable higher recall and retention.
February 4, 2014 - As the mounting toll of unsuccessful High Street brands has proven, retailers that lack intricate knowledge of their customers run the risk of failure. One of the major trends in 2014 will see organisations investing heavily in technology to aid them in identifying customer consumption behavior. This intelligence will then be leveraged to boost customer engagement and enhance the overall experience.
Successful organisations across various industry sectors are recognizing Customer Experience Management as a key component in their overall strategy and are consequently channelizing major resources into this focus area. While the financial sector sees customer engagement as key to elicit trust and loyalty from a disillusioned customer base, heavy industries like airlines also view customer
engagement as the key differentiator in a highly competitive market.
Confirming this view, recent research from London-based consultancy firm Ovum suggests that 90 per cent of organisations are at risk of becoming irrelevant to customers unless they can learn to adapt to their tastes and behavior faster. The research states that even where state-of-the-art customer relationship management (CRM) systems are prevalent, businesses are often being held back by slow decision cycles, lack of workforce engagement, operational and channel silos and a ‘serendipitous’ attitude toward innovation, relying more on chance than on deliberate strategy.
Retailers in this situation require a partner who understands their business, and who can shoulder the technical and support burden of these crucial, yet sophisticated and massive data base systems.
Hardeep Singh Garewal, Europe President of IT services specialist ITC Infotech explains. “In the high-pressure and dynamic retail world, retail formats need to be able to adapt, change and position themselves to meet their customers’ developing needs. This has to be done in a targeted and responsive manner, so that retailers are adept at anticipating future aspirations of customers and are ready to fulfill them. As we get into 2014 retailers will have to leverage all the customer intelligence they can lay their hands on in order to stay one step ahead of the competition. Only by choosing technologies and partners that allow them to focus on being adaptive to customer requirements can retailers succeed in the current ultra-competitive climate.”
Customer Experience Management (CEM/CX) has become the new differentiator for success. Organisations are also increasingly using analytics to help determine how they can improve their approach to CEM and get significant business benefits. Operational analysis is becoming increasingly essential as companies move from an ‘inside-out’ focus (on internal operational constraints such as production, capacity, etc.) to an ‘outside-in’ focus (on customer-centric delivery). With this scenario in mind, ITC Infotech offers cutting-edge CEM solutions across a number of business areas including retail.
Explaining the challenge Hardeep said, “Failing to respond to the customer’s preference; their likes and dislikes, can lead to a bad customer experience, or at least something that is far from optimal. Retailers simply cannot afford to do that in the tough and competitive business environment of today. In addition, new channels of expression like social media are allowing customers to share their experience whether good or bad, potentially causing more damage to the hard-pressed retailer. Many of the factors that affect the customer experience negatively can be tracked back to an inability to recognize customers across channels, and across lines of business. These are areas that intelligent use of CRM should be able to address.”
Hardeep concludes, “A radical approach is needed to handle burgeoning data from overlapping sources such as mobile, social, in-store, e-commerce sites, and to use this data to enhance customer experience management. Skilled IT service partners like ITC Infotech can optimize CRM performance to enhance CEM while eliminating responsibility for massive and sophisticated enterprise CRM database systems. This will allow retailers to devote more energy towards improving their relationship with customers and utilizing their CRM in a way that truly adds value to their business.”
About ITC Infotech
ITC Infotech, a fully owned subsidiary of USD 7 billion ITC Ltd, provides IT services and solutions to leading global customers. The company has carved a niche for itself by addressing customer challenges through innovative IT solutions.
ITC Infotech is focused on servicing the BFSI (Banking, Financial Services & Insurance), CPG&R (Consumer Packaged Goods & Retail), Life Sciences, Manufacturing & Engineering Services, THT (Travel, Hospitality and Transportation) and Media & Entertainment industries.
For more information, please visit www.itcinfotech.com
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