In an increasingly digital world, brands know they depend on a unified experience. However, this is only possible when consumer experience in retail focuses on designing and orchestrating a single insight, ensuring consumers receive the exact value repeatedly across all touchpoints, products, and services. It is the diversity of these experiences that determines the quality of consumer relationships.
What is Unified Consumer Experience?
Unified consumer experience can be defined as consumers' perceptions (conscious and subconscious) of their relationship with the brand during the entire life cycle.
The American research and consulting company Gartner, in its definition, explains quite well what unified experience is about, "The practice of designing and reacting to consumer interactions to meet or exceed their expectations and thus increase their satisfaction, loyalty, and promotion."
Moreover, it's about getting to know consumers so completely that you can create and deliver personalized experiences that attract them to stay loyal to the brand or company and "promote" it to other people. That's the most valuable advertising tactic that exists.
Why is a Unified Consumer Experience Necessary?
The concept of unified consumer experience may sound idealistic or poignant, but anyone who rejects it is woefully out of context. Consumers have become a competitive differentiator in today's hyper-competitive and hyper-connected global marketplace. There is tangible business value in maintaining an effective consumer experience which can:
- Strengthen brand preference through omnichannel experiences
- Increase revenue with existing consumer sales and new sales from word of mouth
- Improve loyalty (and build advocates) through meaningful and memorable consumer interactions
- Lower costs by reducing customer churn
With the execution of any plan, some challenges may cross your way. The same goes for creating a unified consumer experience in retail. You have to be prepared for the upcoming difficulties that may lead to some problems in one way or another. Therefore, you must identify those challenges to be prepared for them. The following can help.
Create consistent brand experiences across all channels
While consumers may be willing to accept different service levels across different channels, they expect the brand value proposition to remain consistent. But the proliferation of channels makes it difficult to ensure consistency across all of them.
Integration of brand and channel experiences
An integrated channel experience is highly desirable but challenging to achieve. Technology inherited processes and organizational territorialism can be barriers to integration.
Consolidate consumer data in a single view
Having a single view of the consumer across interactions, channels, products, and time would facilitate coordinated, unified communications with the consumer. Departmental silos, fragmented data, and inconsistent processes make this challenge seem insurmountable.
Benefits of Unified Consumer Experience
It is best to offer a unified solution that allows conversations to be managed from a single interface to facilitate the best consumer experience in retail. The objective is clear—to guarantee consistency of responses across all contact channels. A unified consumer relationship strategy must be based on multi-channel interaction management designed around a centralized knowledge base.
With that in mind, here are the top five benefits of investing in a unified experience.
Improve word of mouth marketing
One of the biggest benefits of having a unified experience is delighting the consumer, who will certainly spread their satisfaction with family, friends, and colleagues. Word of mouth marketing is by far the best way to boost your results.
Improve consumer engagement
A satisfied consumer will engage with the brand more often and will certainly become a loyal consumer. In the age of social media, it's easier to share information online. Suppose a consumer decides to buy something while running through your feed. In that case, a unified experience will ensure they have the same shopping experience throughout their journey, no matter where they are.
Analyze feedbacks and increase loyalty
Having a unified experience makes it easier to analyze consumer feedback throughout their entire journey and optimize marketing, service, and purchasing strategies. This will undoubtedly promote more enchanting and loyalty-building experiences.
Interact in real-time and provide consistent service
Today's consumer is highly informed through a unique experience. It is possible to supply them with new information in real-time through the most convenient channel, including SMS, voice, social and chat. Having multiple channels is, therefore, essential to ensure efficient service.
Surveys indicate that 88% of consumers read product reviews to determine the quality of the consumer experience offered by a brand. By ensuring your current consumer satisfaction through a unified experience, competitiveness gains are also inevitable.
Every stage of achieving a unified experience is essential, from initial consideration to functional evaluation, time of purchase, and even the post-purchase experience. Each stage is an opportunity to improve the consumer experience in retail, and each phase is an opportunity to obtain more information that can give feedback into the marketing processes and take advantage of the next time.