Changing consumer behavior, new market entrants, and technological disruptions frequently alter the status quo of the retail industry. In anticipation, retailers are responding by embarking on a transformation journey that prepares them for the long term. Retail players remain focused on customer experience and improving operational efficiency to attract customer loyalty and profitability. An established quality engineering practice can mean the difference between the highest levels of customer engagement and the average experiences that drive customers to switch.
Retailers and brands are finding ways to create a lasting impression in the minds of their customers. By improving the end-to-end customer journey, brands can expect consumers to choose them from attractive new choices offered by established and new competitors.
- Digital apps – Excellent customer experience is achieved through corresponding changes in the operation of digital platforms and applications. Modular applications with API-driven transactions and collaborations require a well-designed, quality engineering approach. It helps to view applications from a customer lens to maintain a high level of customer satisfaction.
- AR/VR: Retail players using augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) have the added benefit of giving customers a better idea of the product and how it can fit into a particular environment. AR/VR helps match actual product specifications and customer expectations; it can also reduce product return and exchange cycles. A robust, AI-driven quality engineering process can improve the overall reliability of AR/VR applications and integrations.
- Hyper-personalization: Past purchase data, shopping cart history, and user behavior may be used to design tailored recommendations, “bundles,” and default payment choices for users. Machine Learning (ML) plays a huge role in processing user data and crafting personalized options. This can go even further with artificial intelligence (AI) engines which, after receiving user consent, can be used to make decisions such as slightly delayed delivery options but which reduce the carbon footprint client. These advanced apps need to be backed by experts – Qualitest Group has been at the forefront of improving the trust rating of apps and experiences delivered by global retailers.
- Lead management: Tracking and measuring partner performance, the number of leads they generate, and earning appropriate partner commissions will help retailers better manage their opportunity funnels. In conjunction with a robust quality validation mechanism, retailers can explore new avenues for leads and gauge their effectiveness
- Supply chain and future technology: Last mile delivery, shipment tracking and item inventory are managed using supply chain applications or warehouse management system (WMS). Sophisticated retail companies are exploring the use of robotic operations and the adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) to achieve seamless operations management. Success in this area requires strong internal departmental collaboration and seamless integration of their IT systems.
- Climate awareness: With the effects of climate change evident, companies are reassessing their operations to reduce their carbon footprint and increase sustainable business practices. On the consumer side, retailers are seeing increased demand for used/refurbished/recycled product offerings. Effectively integrating this line of business with the existing sales and operating cycle requires recalibrations of existing applications and the adoption of comprehensive quality engineering
Finally, timely reviews lead to timely interventions. Retailers should consciously incorporate review mechanisms to assess the effectiveness of the customer experience and business operations. Retail transformation is a business that involves watching for the next big wave and being agile enough to respond and thrive. Quality engineering partners conduct unbiased reviews, improve business confidence in IT applications, and help retailers navigate through different phases of disruptive change – they are indispensable in today’s retail – and in the retail of tomorrow!
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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