Optical analysis: its importance for retailers

In .Consumer Products & Retail, .Customer Experience, Blogfest-en, Industries by Baufest

The discussion between online channels versus physical stores seems to be a thing of the past. Today, retailers need to optimize the various sales channels and integrate them in the most consistent way so that they enhance each other

Thursday 15 - June - 2023
Mujer feliz realizando una compra en una tienda física

They must put the customer at the center and develop the relevant actions to ensure an exceptional retail experience, whichever channel the customer chooses to operate or contact in.

It is worth recalling that customer experience (CX) is a key differentiator in today’s business world. In a recent study 77% of brands said they believe CX is a key competitive differentiator. In other research, 86% of consumers said they would leave a brand after just two bad experiences. And a third survey found that 74% of consumers are at least somewhat likely to buy based on experience alone, while 83% of executives face moderate to severe revenue and market share risks due to unimproved CX. 

Under these circumstances, retail chains can no longer afford to allow their customers to receive generic and unattractive offers, be forced to wait in long lines at stores, or experience difficulties in making exchanges or returns.

Going forward, ecommerce is likely to continue to gain ground. Although opinions vary, some believe that it could substantially increase its current share to between 20% and 30% of total retail sales. Butachieving the best combination of online and in-person shopping is the premise for retailers. And in this scenario, the optimal channel (or optical channel) approach, involves optimizing all channels in play, is emerging strongly.

This new approach to customer engagement in the optimal channel refers to the ability to communicate and support the customer journey using the channel that is most appropriate for them depending on their overall objective.

Optic analytics combines the desire to optimize channels and to operate with an “optical aim” in order to detect the best way to interact with customers.

Basically, it is a question of simplifying the consumer’s life: no longer of offering him more channels that are properly synchronized, but by directing him to the ones that will work best for him according to his objectives and needs.

One step further

For retail chains, it is no longer enough to be everywhere at all times. This premise is losing some of its meaning. They must now be in the right place at the right time. This optical analytics is positioned as the evolution of the omnichannel approach.

Recall that omnichannel aims to solve the multichannel disconnect by orchestrating the customer experience across all channels to be seamless, integrated and consistent. But this synchronization across all channels can generate unnecessary costs by having to maintain channels that may not be entirely relevant.

While omnichannel customer service involves serving the consumer across different channels and integrating them all at the same time, the omni-channel approach seeks to simplify: it focuses on managing real-time interactions with fewer channels to reach and guide shoppers ‘with laser precision’ to the next best action for a specific use case.”

With optoChannel, the effort is placed on detecting and deepening the development of those channels that show positive and considerable performance, those channels that best solve the customer’s need or those that can be optimized to improve customer interactions.

It is then a matter of achieving the optimal performance of these channels with a uniform customer experience. This does not necessarily imply limiting the number of channels used but focusing on their optimization and using them with greater precision. However, depending on the case, it could also involve a process of discarding some channels.

This change in approach is not just for the sake of it: it responds to the changes observed in the actual behavior of customers in recent years, and to the development of new types of relationships with them, at a time when companies were installing or strengthening new channels, and discarding others. It is also based on the observation that making more channels available does not necessarily mean generating more value for customers.

In this way, optic analitics gives rise to a channel strategy that makes it possible to deliver services through the best channel (and not through all channels), based on the needs and preferences of consumers.

In other words, it is necessary to fine-tune customer touch points based on hyper-personalization processes. Retailers must develop the ability to connect with customers in the best channel for their needs and preferences in real time. And to achieve this, they must be able to identify not only the transactional and historical behavioral patterns of customers, but also the contextual information they have about them. Indeed, the omni-channel experience is driven by context, combined with location-based services, artificial intelligence, and real-time data.

Technologies and processes

In fact, this new approach requires analyzing the performance of the different channels. And it is made possible by mapping customer journeys and tracking their touch points.

This development is now possible thanks to the opportunities opened up by technologies such as big data, machine learning (ML), geolocation and other available solutions, as well as Wi-Fi connectivity.

For example, the most effective omni-channel marketing strategies leverage artificial intelligence (AI), ML, big data and predictive data analytics to make the optimal channel available for every interaction, providing a more relevant and personalized experience with the brand. This strategy allows them to react to behavioral changes in the moment and provides precise targeting to invest in the best channels for shoppers with the highest propensity to convert.

It should also be noted that personalized, contextualized, relevant and timely communication is a key aspect to develop the optic analysis strategy. And to develop it, it is essential to know which communication channels are preferred by customers at each stage of their journey; to understand their decision-making process and adapt to their requirements. This will also help to understand which channels should be changed or modified.

Thus, in determining the optimal channels for each stage of the customer journey, retail chains should understand their preferences, analyze their response rates across channels and carefully study the customer journey.

For example, customers’ e-commerce shopping patterns could influence where physical stores will be located.

Improving conversion

Obviously this evolution will not be done for the sake of it, but with a focus on ensuring better conversion rates and higher levels of customer satisfaction. This in turn will result in increased sales, the acquisition of more new customers and the achievement of greater loyalty from existing customers. Other benefits that can arise from a well-implemented optic analysis strategy include the following:

Better customer experience

  • Better performance in promotions and campaigns.
  • Customized demand forecasts by customer and store.
  • Optimization of stock and streamlining of the purchasing process.
  • Greater understanding of consumer preferences and behavior.
  • Insights of value to innovate.

At Baufest, we believe that omni-channel is the future of retail. And we have the capabilities to support retail chains and help them develop the necessary capabilities. We help them to grow the integration of their digital and physical channels to create optic analytic experiences that are effectively supported by technology, processes and people. Through our Retail Phygital Growth service, we design an omni-channel retail experience and implement the technology needed to successfully integrate the digital and physical worlds, driving hybrid, hyper-personalized and value-driven customer interactions at the right time.