POST-PANDEMIC RETAIL – According to the latest edition of the survey “Digital Transformation in Retail”, by the Society of Retail and Consumer Affairs (SBVC), investment in digital transformation initiatives grew 87% among retailers in the last year, of which 74% increased their sales revenue. (source: https://conductor.com.br/tendencias-do-varejo/) . According to Deloitte, with the Covid-19 pandemic, structuring a digital business model has proved more important than ever for retail and consumer goods organizations. The crisis has accelerated an ongoing process, in which companies that already have a structured digital operation – that is, that do more than just sell a product through e-commerce – were able to get ahead in this race, while organizations that have not yet digital transformation in their business model will have to do it quickly (source: https://www2.deloitte.com/br/pt/pages/consumer-business/articles/pesquisa-varejo.html). Even with the growth in the use of technologies and despite a pressing need to better understand the potential of technology applied to retail, industry representatives still see human capital as a crucial factor for the success of their business, cites Deloitte in its search.
Deloitte also questioned the brands on whether they believe the consumer would stop doing business because of a poor customer service experience – 98% of respondents fully or partially agreed with this statement.
The survey “State of Global Customer Service Report”, conducted by Microsoft with 5,000 people in five countries (Brazil, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom and United States), corroborates this view. According to the survey, 61% of consumers said they had abandoned a brand because of a bad experience with the service.
If we consider the current pandemic situation, in which consumers find the safest way to make their purchases in the digital environment, if the shopping experience of this customer does not meet their primary goals and needs, such as punctuality, quality of services and security, these brands could lose many customers. And, even when the normality of activities returns, these brands will have to do a strong job of winning back these customers
According to Deloitte, even though digital channels are being widely explored for the promotion and execution of online purchases, there are experiences in the shopping journey in which human interaction should be privileged. Among these experiences, customer service is one of the most critical aspects. When they want to resolve doubts, information and complaints about products and services, the consumer expects to be attended by a person, even if the channel is digital – chat, application, etc. Customer service in these new channels, therefore, is an important aspect to be considered in the training of professionals who will work in this front line.
Thus, the strategy focused on improving the consumer experience must combine three pillars: training and qualification of professionals able to work with the new tools, development of digital communication and sales channels, and creation of relevant content. In the survey, training for sales employees results as the largest investment made to engage customers (48%).
The growth of online commerce has forced retailers to reassess the role of their stores, prompting a reinvention of points of sale. In the post-pandemic, the physical shopping experience will need to add even more value to consumers.
What should happen is the consolidation of an increasingly hybrid model between the digital and the physical. According to the report Pós-NRF 2021 stores should assume the role of logistics and service hubs, serving as fulfillment platforms for digital sales.
The evolution of self-service solutions is also a very important factor for the success of physical retailing, as people are increasingly looking for autonomy, agility and an experience close to that experienced in the digital environment.
According to Deloitte, considering that the synergy between human and technological capital is a critical factor for the success of a consumer-centric digital strategy, the development of professionals’ skills to improve the customer experience, especially in the digital environment, should be a priority for consumer goods and retail organizations.
In practice, the expected profile of professionals in the sector is still focused on knowledge of customer relationships and sales. However, it is necessary that companies invest in improving the skills of their employees for the current context of the digital economy.
The role of technologies in customer service, for example, becomes a critical success factor for retail companies in an environment where digital sales and communication channels are more numerous and more relevant.