Why Frictionless Matters

In our last post we illustrated why it isn’t enough (or sometimes even prudent) for retailers to obsess over being omnichannel, and why they must instead focus on aggressively removing friction from the customer experience. A detailed point of view with findings and analysis from a survey of 300 global retailers and brands has now been released. While the goal is similar for both retailers and brands – identify and eliminate inefficiencies in the customer experience that may cause consumers to abandon engagement; how they get to a frictionless experience is different. We’ve also published a detailed roadmap for both retailers and brands. With NRF’s annual convention and expo around the corner, here is a quick summary of the 4 key areas for retailers to focus on. These also represent the key technologies we’ll be tracking during the show. Payments & Commerce: The Connective Tissue Payments have the potential to be the unifying tissue of the shopping experience. It already is in the case of pureplay online retailers that offer features such as one-click checkout and secure customer profiles. Extending that experience into the store is the big challenge for brick and click retailers. Recent big-name announcements not withstanding, retailers must shun the tendency to view mobile payments as a way to bypass bank-fees, and instead explore the appropriate application of payment technology suited for their customer experience strategy.  The widely panned and largely unsuccessful mobile wallet and application launched by a who’s-who conglomerate of US retailers (CurrentC) is a perfect illustration of how not to approach payments. Instead, consumer oriented mobile payment platforms and wallets – Apple Pay,...

Omnichannel Isn’t Enough

Somehow “omnichannel” has come to be the de-facto shorthand for the consumer’s greatest good. Yet, in describing the internal transformation retailers and consumer goods manufacturers must go through, it stops short of conveying a true consumer benefit or value. Consumers don’t think in terms of channels. They simply shop. It is no doubt important that retailers focus on “omnichannel” capabilities such as a universal shopping cart, ship from-store, or click and collect. They must do so however through the lens of their business model, customer demographic, brand-promise, expected business benefit and a clearer understanding of the associated cost. Regardless of the “flavor” of omnichannel that works for them, we recommend retailers focus on aggressively identifying and eliminating points of “friction” from their customer experience. Friction refers to customer experience failures that cause customer dissatisfaction and create incentive for consumers to abandon engagement. Abandonment – or losing a customer – is expensive. Customer acquisition costs 6-7 times more than customer retention. Further, companies can expect to lose 65% of a customer’s share of wallet the year after a customer experience failure. Causes of friction in the customer experience EKN and IBM conducted a global survey of 300 retailers and brands to understand each industry’s maturity across the key elements of a frictionless customer experience. The findings from the research combined with insights from qualitative interviews with retail and consumer goods executives are available as prescriptive “Industry Playbooks”. Each Playbook delves into details of each of the 4 pillars of a frictionless experience, including identifying key organizational and technology enablers. We delve into more detail about why retailers and brands need...

Creating a Frictionless Customer Experience – Brand’s Playbook

Friction – or customer experience failures that cause customer dissatisfaction and create incentive for consumers to abandon engagement – leads to lost sales, loss of loyalty and a diluted brand experience and has a far-reaching impact. Brand owners need a holistic gameplan to aggressively identify and eliminate points of friction. The Brand’s Playbook for a Frictionless Customer Experience illustrates the value of being frictionless and provides recommendations across 4 key areas for suppliers to focus on. Download Full...

Creating a Frictionless Customer Experience – Retailers’ Playbook

Friction – or customer experience failures that cause customer dissatisfaction and create incentive for consumers to abandon engagement – leads to lost sales, loss of loyalty and a diluted brand experience and has a far-reaching impact. Retailers need a holistic gameplan to aggressively identify and eliminate points of friction. The Retailer’s Playbook for a Frictionless Customer Experience illustrates the value of being frictionless and provides recommendations across 4 key areas for retailers to focus on. Download Full...

Creating a Frictionless Customer Experience – Why Retailers and Brands Must Go Beyond Omnichannel

Friction – or customer experience failures that cause customer dissatisfaction and create incentive for consumers to abandon engagement – leads to lost sales, loss of loyalty and a diluted brand experience and has a far-reaching impact. Retailers and brands must go beyond omnichannel to remove friction from the customer experience. Download Full...