As with most things, change can be difficult for consumer-facing industries. Creating new expectations, or requesting customers to change their behaviour can be scary for industries who are so beholden to fluctuating trends, demands, economies, and more. But there is one “trend” that is not going anywhere, and if you want your business to have a future, it’s crucial that you start thinking about your strategy now: improving customer experience.
There are many ways that consumer-facing industries such as retail and hospitality can make experiences better for customers in a way that motivates loyalty and increases spending. A major consideration should be how your business can improve processes, and digitise as much as possible. Part of this can be introducing digital receipts to your customers.
Where to focus your customer experience strategy
While the concept of customer service isn’t new, the strategy around building customer experience has really only emerged within the last ten years, and significantly picking up attention in the last five.
As markets become saturated and competition grows, businesses are now having to be more creative in how they differentiate themselves within their industries. One of the main differentiating factors often falls into two categories: the front-line employee engagement, and online/offline cohesion.
Knowledgeable, helpful employees can often be an important factor in the experience that your customers have at your establishments. Education, encouraging a proactive approach, and instilling brand values throughout the organisation are the keys here.
For online/offline cohesion, customers must get the same experience wherever they interact with your business. Often times, consumers will engage with social media, check out websites, or in the case of retail, use phone or email for customer support channels. This connection of offline and online experiences is becoming increasingly scrutinised as all types of businesses are praised for their product offerings, and condemned for their terrible service, and consumers take notice when an online experience differs from an in-person one
Why digital receipts should be part of your online/offline CX strategy
As contactless and mobile payments become standard in many markets, consumers are increasingly expecting further digitised processes which create smoother, faster, and more enjoyable transactions.
Not only are digital receipts a natural next step for businesses deploying smarter technology for transactions and their point-of-sale systems, they can close the loop when it comes to customer experiences.
Today’s consumers spend a significant amount of time researching a store or cafe/restaurant before ever venturing inside the front door. Social media accounts, online reviews, e-commerce shops, and websites all provide valuable information to potential customers that can motivate visits and purchases.
The problem is that many businesses struggle to get a handle on consistency amongst their online and offline presences, and most often do not have complete information about their customer interactions both in-store and online to get the whole picture.
Digital receipts can both improve transactions by digitising the last analog step, but also ensure that direct consumer engagement and follow up can occur before and after purchases are made. By digitally tracking consumer behaviour and individual purchasing habits through digital receipts, you can obtain a more complete picture of your customer. This also translates to ensuring that the patterns in in-store behavior correlate with online engagement, and that performance and experiences online and offline are not just similar, but support each other.
In fact, digital receipts can be a great way to personalise experiences with consumers, including making offers, and leveraging previous purchases to inform and help motivate subsequent location visits.
When businesses have online and offline presences (as almost all do these days), it’s crucial that the focus is put on customer experiences to beat out competition and spur loyalty. But even more so, is the importance of consistency amongst online and offline experiences. Digital receipts can help merchants to underscore both better customer experiences, and improve online and offline consistency.
Written by: Lydia Nicoll