One of the biggest challenges facing retailers today is centered on their ability to better manage customer relationships even as new touch-points emerge, while improving productivity to combat rising costs. As Pratik Pal – Global Head of Retail at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) - points out, “Consumer choice is exploding and consumer loyalty is becoming increasingly fickle. In such times, customer centricity is more than just a buzzword – it can be the difference between retailers that thrive and those that struggle to survive. The different aspects of the retail sell-side value chain, including customer acquisition, customer service, profitability, and retention are the critical enablers that help transform customer-focused strategies into results. For retailers, the value lies in turning the consumers to “prosumers” and using their inputs to manage the business efficiently.”
Even as competitive pressures rise, retailers today have an increased opportunity to create competitive advantage by providing a unique, differentiated experience to customers. They need to adopt very specific customer-centric strategies, supported by the right technology and enabled by appropriate business process alignments. Below, we delve into a few specific examples of strategies and solutions we are seeing leading retailers adopt increasingly aggressively.
Targeted merchandising with an emphasis on SKU rationalization and assortment localization can help better satisfy customer demand while reducing wastage. Business Intelligence and Analytics turn data into valuable insight that can help improve operational efficiency, increase personalization, and enable multi-channel integration on digital platforms. Store-based loyalty solutions can help influence the in-store shopping behavior of the ‘digitally native’ customers of today (use SMS, MMS and e-mail messaging to target customers directly with paperless offers).
Recently, we have seen a surge in the number of Customer Data Management implementations that serve as the backbone for future initiatives on customer engagement. We have created a web-based solution integrated with different POS to capture customer information and to manage the electronic accrual and redemption of loyalty points for a leading retailer.
When asked what specific areas TCS customers are focusing on, Pratik says “Some of the more technologically advanced retailers we work with are using TCS solutions to manage and evaluate assortment rationalization programs, store clustering, digital advertising, store-based loyalty, and personalized marketing based on consumer propensity models. Another critical focus is enabling last mile visibility and optimized inventory through the supply chain by tying the forecasting, replenishment, allocation, and vendor relationship management processes to the customers’ requirements.”
Gauging the need for an Integrated Solution which would help retailers take their customer engagement to the next level, we, at TCS have invested in a proprietary Customer Program Management Solution (CPM) which is capable of leveraging information across channels to provide a personalized and seamless customer experience. TCS has also invested in its proprietary Mobile Accelerated Commerce Service which helps retailers bring interactivity to shoppers' experience, increase in-store revenues and reduce promotional costs. These solutions boost loyalty and enable our Retail clients to gain a competitive advantage by providing a differentiated shopping experience.
The TCS Retail and Consumer Goods Practice has unique expertise in helping retailers adopt customer-centric strategies and technologies to help them provide a differentiated experience to their customers and create competitive advantage.
We would love to hear about the customer centricity initiatives you are adopting in your organization. To share your thoughts, comment on the above article, or learn more about how TCS is working with leading retailers in their effort to be more customer-centric, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.