Why using customer feedback is vital to navigating today’s competitive retail space

Retailers are in agreeance that the right customer experience is so important in building a thriving brand. Despite this, one in three retailers still feel like they are lagging in their ability to provide superior customer experience in-store and online.

To remain competitive in a dynamic and evolving retail environment it’s essential to stay on top of what people expect by getting customer feedback. The good news is that large numbers of Australian retailers are getting it right and Australian businesses can be cutting edge in their retail execution. According to the recent CommBank Retail Insights Report, 76 per cent are seeing increased sales as a result of customer experience strategy.*

Australian retailers however, must not let their guard drop. They need to be customer-centric in their approach, especially when TruRating data shows that 66 per cent of in-store customers leave unhappy with the value they’ve received.

We’ve all seen the headlines recently, stalwart Australian brands like Marcs, Howard’s Storage World and Dick Smith struggling in an increasingly competitive environment as international bricks and mortar and web presence grows. Increasingly, organisations need to impress customers as soon as they enter their store or website, as this may be the one chance businesses have with customers to go above and beyond competitors. If retailers can succeed at the chance to impress and “wow” their customers, not only will they win the customer but their bottom line can be improved too, because customers will spend 10 per cent more when impressed by service.**

When retailers are fiercely vying for customers’ attention, being able to collect and analyse feedback directly from them becomes a valuable way to leverage against competitors. Many are looking at data driven insights as a way to better understand their customers then putting these insights to work within their business. In fact, data collected by TruRating, shows that customers who say they are fans of your business will spend 12 per cent more than disappointed customers.

There is no excuse for ignoring the age of data we are in. Gathering data via customer feedback these days is something all businesses can do, not just the biggest players. Despite the misconceptions, collecting data doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming. While “big data” may not be feasible for all retailers, technology is opening up options and an opportunity for data collection that caters for smaller budgets. Businesses are now able to use the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of new technologies to gather insights and feedback from their customers in real-time, and understand it using simple dashboards and reports.

With businesses increasingly looking to data driven insights to enhance their operations, and consumers demanding a best in class retail experience, organisations need to embrace technology and use customer feedback data – not only for the benefit of their customers, but also to protect and improve their bottom line.

* CommBank Retail Insights Report

** TruRating data – September 2016

*** CommBank’s Retail Therapy Research – April 2016

Sophie Jillings, Head of APAC, www.trurating.com