For physical retailers, success today depends on delivering an exceptional customer experience (CX).

But a recent article on Retailer Customer Experience notes that knowing exactly how to provide this in relation to a brand’s unique consumer base is something that’s escaped many big retailers.

As the sector becomes increasingly forward-thinking and tech-driven, there is no definitive path that guarantees success in delivering an exceptional experience. Consumer demands pop up all the time and brands struggle to keep up. A more sustainable solution is needed.

The solution? Apparently it could lie in brands focusing on operational experiences as much as CX – and to strike that golden balance.

Exceptional CX will always be the main aim; however focusing too much on customer satisfaction can hinder efficiency. It’s too easy to adopt a reactive mindset, catering to demand as opposed to building the foundations to achieve long-term success.

Getting ahead of key trends with AI

Retailers that prioritise better internal decision-making are able to build an operational environment where category, supply chain, marketing and store management teams can create the efficiencies needed to meet future customer expectations. Rather than reacting to what consumers want today, they can predict and deliver exactly what they want both in the short and long-term.

To create this scalable, flexible and smart enterprise, brands must look to layer AI capabilities into their current infrastructure. Why? Because ‘there’s no better way to create a retail experience that customers enjoy than to know what they want even before they do,’ says the author of the article, Kevin Sterneckert.

AI can be integrated into current business processes and assist with evaluating old data and predicting future outcomes. It will help to significantly speed up the understanding of consumer and market behaviour trends, so leaders can make more informed decisions. By anticipating external shifts, they can make internal changes to address them.

Operational excellence supporting the customer experience

All this creates a business environment where every decision maker has the necessary insights to innovate and effect change quickly. Meaning, they’re able to deliver on the promise of exceptional CX more effectively and consistently. When all parts of a business can do this simultaneously, there’s less chance of a brand getting caught out by changing expectations or those changes leading to negative outcomes.

When internal operations are streamlined, brands can be confident that their assortments not only offer exactly what consumers want to purchase today, but that they can react instantly to every unique shift in demand. Marketing campaigns can be tailored to boost sales and revenues, all while protecting profit. Supply chains can move items into stores, to curbside locations and directly to shoppers’ homes without putting a strain on margins. And shops can be laid out and designed in a way that’s intuitive to consumers’ needs and guarantees that their experience continues to evolve along with their expectations.

Brands which commit to establishing an agile and intelligent operational performance, backed by AI capability throughout the business, stand the best chance of running a truly excellent retail business. Consumers will realise that through a better CX and in turn, will reward them with their custom.

If you think your customer experience could do with a boost, either online or in-store (or both), get in touch with Delta Group today.