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Designing for customer-centric shopping experiences

Many retailers are divided organizationally by channel or other internal structures that keep them from focusing on the entirety of customers, said Robert Hetu, research vice president and agenda manager for retail at research firm Gartner.

To overcome this, retailers should identify, prioritize and design the customer experience use cases most suitable for digitalization, he said.

“Retailers need to apply design thinking to these four basic customer processes, the intersection of which is the focal point of a customer-centric experience,” Hetu said. The four processes are:

Browse: This enables customers to find what they need, as well as discover new and different products and services that will enhance their lifestyles. This is provided by stores, online channels, mobile, social and Internet-enabled devices, artificial intelligence and augmented reality working together to deliver an immersive shopping experience.

Transact: This enables a seamless capability for the customer to transact within and across channels, regardless of the product or the combination of products and services, without inconvenience or delays. This is provided through modern, interconnected POS applications; mobile applications; and the excellent customer-facing execution of these processes.

Acquire: This enables the customer to acquire goods and services with a variety of methods, including physical shopping, click and collect, in-home delivery, automated replenishment and lockers, as well as partnerships with external organizations. This is provided by executing such highly flexible fulfillment models as traditional, in-store shopping and many last-mile delivery options.

Consume: This enables customers’ enjoyment and enhances their consumption experience, which is provided through enhanced information and services, connected devices, auto-replenishment, and voice-enabled interactions.
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