This holiday retail season is likely to break a number of records, boosted by consumer confidence on one hand, and continuing supply chain woes on the other. For retail brands, the competition for the hearts and minds — and wallets — of consumers is fiercer than ever. Today’s customers increasingly research, shop, and engage with brands, yours included, over a growing list of always-on digital channels, from social to chat apps to review sites.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated this digital transformation, compelling brick-and-mortar retail stores to embrace e-commerce and adopt omnichannel strategies. Other competitive threats loom large, as well, like the rapid rise in digitally native direct-to-consumer brands (DTC) that has forced traditional brands to adapt or risk losing their customers.
Understanding these trends, as well as when and where your competitors are leading or lagging, can help you better understand the voice of the customer, and enable you to create a distinctive customer experience that helps your retail brand stand out and thrive.
3 competitive benchmarking strategies for retail brands
Retail brands increasingly need a unified approach to understanding and acting on CX data to maintain a competitive edge. Unifying your approach ensures that actionable insights from your CX data flow freely across your enterprise, from marketing to customer care to product development. And if you’re not doing this, other brands are — according to recent research from Forrester, 86% of CX decision makers indicated they are likely to implement a unified customer experience management (Unified-CXM) platform to unite their business goals.
A unified platform with advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) can help you make sense of this huge volume of data in real-time and at scale. For example, 80% of companies are using AI to create more personalized experiences across the customer journey. But, how quickly you can act on those insights can mean the difference between customer delight and disappointment.
From tracking consumer trends and preferences to deriving insights that fuel innovation to growing your customer base, here are three ways your retail brand can better engage with your customers.
1. Reduce your response times
Today’s customers expect nearly immediate responses when they engage with brands. According to the research, the top 60 retail companies, by revenue, respond to their customers within 155 minutes on average.
How long does it take for you to respond when a customer reaches out? The frequency and speed of responses when customers contact your company on public channels are vital.
Leading retail companies invest in technologies such as AI and hiring the right talent to reduce their response time — and increase engagement with their potential and existing customers. When combined with the right talent, AI-powered social publishing and engagement solutions can help you reduce your response times and engage more effectively with customers.
AI-powered solutions also make it possible to prioritize, automatically route, and take action on those messages at scale by automatically categorizing them based on parameters of your choice and detecting intent in real-time.
2. Reevaluate the channels you focus your listening efforts on
The way the world communicates has changed: customers have moved to modern channels. When it comes to tracking organic public online conversations or social listening, retail companies rely heavily on established networks, including Facebook (95%), X, formerly Twitter (74%), and LinkedIn (53%).
Today, however, customers engage on dozens of other channels, such as Reddit, Yelp, and TikTok. It is crucial to reevaluate which channels you focus your listening efforts on in order to identify new consumer conversations about your brand on channels you may not have previously considered.
In addition, the more access you have to those primary and unfiltered forms of CX data, the better you understand your customers’ needs. These organic, real-time exchanges can surface powerful insights critical to informing and driving successful strategic initiatives, as well as finding out where your customers are located both online and offline.
3. Pay attention to strategic metrics instead of vanity metrics
To measure customer engagement, brands consider ‘likes’ and ‘reactions’ on their company’s brand posts as key performance indicators (KPIs). Although they might make you feel good, these “vanity metrics” do not give you an accurate picture of performance.
As a retail brand, you should measure and track more strategic metrics such as sentiment, frequency of engagements, and call-to-action completion. This helps you gain an understanding of the impact of digital presence on your ability to attract, retain, and convert prospective customers. In addition, it enables you to understand whether your marketing efforts are paying off.
Sprinklr’s Digital Unified-CXM Benchmarking Report for the Retail Industry expands on measures taken by leading retail brands to engage with their customers and build brand loyalty. It lets you measure your performance against your competitors, your own brand(s), and past campaigns — and utilize that data to navigate threats and identify strategic opportunities.
Download the full report to see how your retail brand compares to your peers in the industry.