Retail industry lags behind in customer experience strategy

The retail sector is lagging behind in customer experience (CX) compared with 13 other industries, according to a report by technology services provider NTT.

Only 17.9 per cent of retail organisations have enterprise wide CX analytics, compared to 26.4 percent of its all-industry benchmark, the research found.

It went on to claim that only 34.1 per cent of retail organisations are aligning their data capture needs with desired outcomes, in contrast to 49.7 per cent of all-industry businesses.

NTT said that CX strategies have fallen behind in the retail industry, despite the rapid digital transformation the pandemic has brought on.

The report also said that 70.5 per cent of organisations across all industries cited improved CX as the top factor driving their digital transformation, and while 75.6 per cent of retailers have some personalisation available, only 4.8 per cent of these proactively personalise CX.

In addition, the report said that 61.5 per cent of retailers collaborate only in part when defining customer journeys and designing CX across different channels, and 25.6 per cent don’t collaborate at all.

NTT also highlighted the increasing importance of automation to powering CX, and reported that 82.1 per cent of retailers anticipate more AI, robotics and digital programming skills will be needed in the next two years.

“The so-called ‘retail apocalypse’ did not begin with the recent pandemic but was exacerbated by it,” said Sheila McGee-Smith, founder and principal Analyst, McGee-Smith Analytics. “For over a decade, consumers have fled to e-commerce providers who deliver the digital options they prefer.

She added: “In 2021, traditional retailers need to step-up to the customer experience preferences of consumers or risk further extinction.”

Robert Allman, global SVP customer experience at NTT, said: “Retailers need to remove the barriers between aspiration and action when it comes to their CX strategy.”

“At the moment many retailers are missing an understanding of behavioral patterns that allow them to empathise, contextualize, and better connect with customers.”

He added: “With CX so critical to business success over the next 12 months, the winners will be those who truly understand the customer journey and use these insights to engage their customers by providing valuable personal, proactive, and content rich experiences.”

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