In today's digital world, the customer journey is all over the place -- literally. A shopper may start by browsing products online. Then, she might pick out a few items she likes and go to a store to try them on and purchase. Or, she may start in a store, narrow down her selection to a few favorites, but make the final purchase from her laptop (or phone) at home. How can retailers provide high-quality service within these types of multi-channel customer journeys?
After more than two decades in operation, Craigslist is getting its own mobile apps. The online classified website, founded in 1995 in the San Francisco Bay Area by Craig Newmark, earlier this week had apps arrive in the Google Play Store and Apple's App Store. Since those app stores launched in 2008, many third-party apps have arisen to help shoppers and sellers navigate Craigslist. "Like the website, the mobile app is extremely simple – no frills, bells or whistles," tech news site Gizmodo wrote about the new app. "The app's overall design mimics the website as well, meaning its mostly just text and a clean interface."
If you follow retail trends, you know that department stores are in trouble. As shoppers have headed online and to discount stores, traditional mall department stores are struggling to define their niche and halt falling profits. Many are now focused on creating a better in-store experience in hopes of motivating customers to shop in person. One of the most interesting customer experience initiatives is coming from Macy's, which also announced last week that it is closing 100 of its stores. In 10 of its U.S. locations, Macy's shoppers can now use artificial intelligence through their mobile devices to help them navigate the shopping experience.
"We've got to think about how the store can work in the future," says Liberty tech director Martin Draper. The rise of mobile commerce means traditional opening hours are a thing of the past and successful retailers must provide great services and experiences across multiple channels, both online and offline. "We've got a longer period to interact with our customers now -- and that's 24 hours to get it right or get it wrong," says Martin Draper, technology director at luxury retailer Liberty, speaking at a recent CIO roundtable event held by technology specialist HSO. Independent research consultancy Martec International reports mobile commerce now accounts for as much as 46.1 per cent of UK retail sales. Yet Martec managing director Brian Hume suggests a shift towards mobile commerce is still "a five- to ten-year journey" for most retailers.