You don’t need me to tell you that customers shop differently now compared to the early 2000s. At ResponseTek, we have seen changes in customer behavior, more than ever before, customers research and deliberate their product choices. This is a phenomenon we’ve noticed with our clients in telecommunications and finance, and Nielsen Research is also reporting the same.

Source: Nielsen (2016)

With the advent of digital technology, customers can be more discerning with the content retailers are providing, perhaps they are watching how-to videos, reading customer reviews or researching prices across brands prior to their purchase. Despite the rise in retail options with an increase in retail stores and more products available for sale, customers are making less grocery trips, meaning the trips they do make are all the more important. The retail environment has increased in complexity for many big businesses.

As retail becomes more accessible and comparable for consumers, how are retailers differentiating themselves from the competition? When customers could as easily order the same product online for a similar price, which brand will they choose? We’ve seen some retailers use their customer journey as a differentiator on both analog and digital streams. I’ve seen companies use mystery shoppers, focus groups or loyalty cards to measure their customer experience and understand each customer’s journey. But what I don’t see is how customer monitoring has adapted as the retail landscape has changed. Today’s empowered customers are looking to provide feedback on their own terms, when they want to and expect immediate change – focus groups and mystery shopping programs don’t cut it anymore. We’ve seen success with our clients in other industries who have switched to real time, customer feedback initiatives and suspect that a similar program may solve this problem. Regardless of the strategy, it’s clear that retailers must both listen and act to remain competitive as shopper behavior changes.

I’d love to hear your feedback on how you make your consumer choices and if you are a retailer, how you monitor your customer journeys.