The world of retail and consumer packaged goods is changing at breakneck speed. Customers want a seamless shopping experience, and retailers are looking for ways to achieve that by experimenting with several technologies to create new and enriched customer experiences. So much that customer journeys have become a hot topic in recent years as retailers and CPG brands try to understand better and enhance customer experiences.
Thanks to digital transformation, CPG industry now has access to tools and technologies that support the enhancement of business processes and operations. Proper usage of these solutions can lead to uncovering massive amounts of data which can then be used to understand customer behaviour.
This blog will explore the concept of customer journeys, how it applies to CPG companies, and what technologies they should consider enhancing their customers’ journey.
Evolution, Complexity, and Importance of Customer Journeys
Customer journeys are complex as they are no longer linear. As customers spend more time researching, they start, stop, start again, retrace their steps, and finally may or may not decide to purchase. Hence, one stage may or may not lead to another stage, as before the widespread CPG channels. Furthermore, the post-purchase process makes CPG journeys more complex.
However, one good customer experience almost always earns another one still holds for retail and CPG brands. A prolonged and complicated CPG journey may seem frustrating, but it provides ample opportunities for retailers to enhance their overall customer experience. This entails eliminating friction and making it easier for customers to discover, engage, purchase and return products and get good after-sales service.
With that said, CPG brands need to collaborate with retail partners to manage their customer journey effectively. They must realize that customer is the new channel, and customer engagement is relevant from demand to delivery.
Enhancing customer journey via technology
Technology can help us manage the customer buying journey through CRM, analytics, IoT, e-commerce, AI, and back-office ERP integration. In the past, retail, CPG, and ecommerce industries have been ahead of the curve in adopting the latest technology solutions. Digital transformation aided via cutting-edge technologies such as AR/VR, IoT, AI/ML, and cloud solutions can be continued only if retailers stay innovative and take initiatives.
Here are some of the major technology solutions that are playing an important role in enhancing the CPG customer journey –
ERP Solutions: An ERP is a valuable business asset to improve customer interaction, cash flow, and supplier engagement. Pieces of data collected via ERP feed into a customer experience solution that helps convert all possible touchpoints with customers into positive experiences resulting in increased profitability and better long-term relationships – increasing loyalty and retention at no cost!
AI and Machine Learning – AI and machine learning are like an imperial queen who reigns over all things in retail and CPG indsutry. From chatbots, chat channels and self-service portals to NLP, which helps understand the free-form messages sent by users, AI and ML are being used in CPG and retail to enhance CX like never before.
Machine learning helps retailers understand the hidden patterns in large chunks of data ( structured and unstructured ), enabling them to consider a user’s UX preferences and tailor the ecommerce experience as per their individual needs and tastes. This way, technology has made faster time-to-insights possible, adding new levels of personalization and services in an affordable and scalable way.
Cloud Solutions: Cloud services plays a key role in helping the consumer-packaged goods (CPG) industry drive crucial changes in their customer journey. Cloud based digital and analytics solutions are used for agility and granularity of decision making at scale. The cloud provides a 360-degree view of customer interactions across touchpoints and helps retailers use that information to tailor customer experiences. For example, for planners and merchandisers, cloud solutions help with real-time data analysis to drive product assortments, demand-based pricing, and understanding customer demographics for new product development.
An effective customer journey is becoming a vital part of CPG businesses and optimizing it will help increase customer loyalty and sales. Today’s technology solutions help you put your customers first, no matter what the business you are in. This article has given you the knowledge and tips to successfully enhance the customer journey with technology solutions like ERP, AI, machine learning, and cloud for retail. Get in touch with us if you want to know how technology solutions can help enhance the customer journey.