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4 ways CX is central to digital transformation in retail

Digital transformation initiatives in businesses can help drive sales, increase customer engagement and retention, and improve the customer experience.

Providing an exceptional customer experience can go a long way toward creating competitive advantages in the business world, where many organizations rely on technology to gauge and positively influence CX throughout the customer journey. This is known as the digital customer experience.

Digitization of other business processes is also necessary to bring out the best in what a digital CX platform offers, and CX plays a big part in a business' overall digital transformation roadmap.

Positive customer experiences can significantly increase sales revenue. Happy customers spend more money and share positive experiences with others, which translates into even more customers. To track a customer's experience throughout their entire sales journey, business leaders rely on digital CX technologies such as digital CRM, omnichannel contact centers, customer engagement management and customer success analytics platforms.

A digital CX platform is only as useful as the data it collects and analyzes, but it can become even more accurate and efficient when all aspects of the business are digitized. This is referred to as digital transformation, and it revolves around the ability to extract relevant business data from business tools using APIs. Digital transformation is also closely related to the internet of things (IoT), which enables businesses to collect data using various intelligent devices and sensors. Organizations can then use this data within a digital CX platform to assist with providing insights into how to deliver better customer experiences.

Digital transformation elements chart

Here are four examples where a retail store chain can use digital transformation processes and data to monitor and positively affect the customer experience.

Digitized heating and cooling systems

A retail store's digital CX platform could collect customer complaints regarding temperatures in certain store branches that are uncomfortably cold during the spring months. As the CX platform collects this customer data, it would be nice to match complaints to the actual temperatures monitored and collected at each store throughout the course of the day.

If that business can digitize the store's heating and cooling system to the point where temperatures can be collected and analyzed, it can also configure CX analytics to automatically tune each store to the ideal temperature for most customers at various times during the year.

Smart shelving

Digital CX platforms within a retail store may also receive negative feedback data when certain products are out of stock. This can cause frustration with customers, potentially leading them to shop elsewhere.

Smart shelves -- a wireless inventory control system -- can help alleviate this problem. These shelves are equipped with weight sensors that tell back-end systems the amount of product on store shelves and alert employees when something is running low.

Digital transformation is also closely related to the internet of things, which enables businesses to collect data using various intelligent devices and sensors.

A business might also correlate the complaints collected by the CX platform using one or more digitized customer feedback tools. Information about a shortage of items at each store with the actual inventories of each location can then be used to better balance inventory at each individual store. It's possible that one store sells more of one item than another. Based on the CX customer data and the real-time automated inventory, businesses can shift products around to better match demand at each store location.

Smart surveillance cameras

Businesses might also integrate smart surveillance cameras or similar IoT devices into digital CX platforms. Many smart cameras use intelligent video to count customer occupancy and monitor their behavior as they move throughout the store. Businesses can collect and analyze data such as:

  • how often and long customers view displays;
  • the path taken when moving within the store; and
  • how various sale and promotional items generate traffic.

Combining this data with customer experience feedback can help businesses optimize and organize display layouts in the most appealing way -- as well as show what types of sales and promotions customers prefer.

Overall checkout data

It's common today for retailers to offer online and phone ordering options. So tying website checkout and catalog order data into a CX platform can provide additional insights to the overall customer experience.

For example, businesses can collect phone hold times, abandoned e-commerce shopping carts and other metrics and match it with customer feedback to create more efficient and pleasing online/phone ordering experiences.

If CX is a central part of an organization's overall roadmap, it must also consider what other business processes to digitize. Thus, digital transformation should closely follow the needs of the digital CX architecture.

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