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January 15, 2016

Todays retail customers shop on their own termsin store, on the devices they choose, at times that are convenient for them and from locations that are most appealing. They expect seamless value and service, and relevant dialogues (not one way monologues) that engage with them, their social circle and their other preferred brands. They want simplicity and convenience across their everyday journeys.

Digital technologies have given customers more choices and control. They can create their own digital ecosystems of experiences to meet their specific needs. Competing in this always-on, always connected environment can be challenging but very rewarding for the retailers who embrace the trends sweeping the retail industry to seamlessly deliver relevant experiences and information their customer want.

So, how do you create an integrated, compelling, and differentiated experience that drives increased customer loyalty and growth? How can you increase relevance and emotional connect? How do you become a trusted partner across the end-to-end customer journey?

To win in this competitive environment, its important to understand just how much the customer journey has changed. Connected customer are socialthey talk about products and services on the web, sharing informationgood and badabout their experiences. They influence each other and impact purchasing decisions. They operate in a boudaryless world and expect seamless experiences that extend beyond traditional boundaries.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for one retailer to master the connected customer journey alone. Building ecosystems through strategic partnerships can help retailers gain an even deeper understanding of the connected customer journey. A retailer who sees only their own internal and external data is not getting the whole picture. Such a retailer may be bogged down by a legacy mindset and gaps of insight.

Once a retailer masters their own data and integrates it with new sources of information such as city Wi-Fi, weather data, social feeds, they will be better able to share data with another company willing to do the same. All of this newfound, shared insight works to fill in gaps in insight. Both companies now have a better understanding of the customer and can work together to offer services and experiences that improve the customers life. And, these kinds of partnerships can extend to other partners, building ecosystems of experiences that can anticipate customer needs, even before they know they have them.

Retailers who engage with their customers and work with partners to build ecosystems that deliver true customer value are the retailers customers are looking for. And they will be thanked with loyal customers who purchase their products, and advocate the brand.

For more information about delivering customer centricity through real-time insights and seamless integration across channels, read The Secret to Becoming Customer Centric: Analytics-driven Customer Engagement in the Retail Industry.

Kathleen Holm is Marketing Director of the TCS Digital Software & Solutions (DS&S) Group. She has more than 25 years of experience marketing technology software and services to enterprises worldwide. She leverages her extensive background in enterprise software technology to help organizations develop effective marketing strategies, create targeted messaging and positioning, and implement effective go-to-market plans to improve corporate performance. Prior to joining TCS, Kathleen was a Senior Principal of technical product marketing for Oracle Fusion Middleware where she was responsible for defining the marketing strategy based on industry maturity and customer trends. She also held positions at IBM including Market Manager for WebSphere Developer Programs, Market Manager for Tivoli Integrated Service Management and Tivoli Brand Specialist. Prior to joining IBM, Kathleen worked with four high-tech startups.


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