We are fast moving towards a world where almost anything will be accessible at the touch of a button. The rapid evolution of technology over the past decade has not only seen a shift in consumer expectation of the speed in which they can transact, but an increasingly personalised retail experience – be this in store or online.
With exponential growth in online food delivery over the past few years, our industry offers some important learnings for the entire retail sector. In order to thrive in this ‘always on’ world, retailers must adapt their approach and tailor the customer journey to the individual shopper.
Customer Experience at the Heart
Regardless of how a business evolves, being customer-focussed should remain the constant for any retailer. Technology innovation is key for retailers to find new ways to engage with and support their customers, wherever they are.
Innovation in online food ordering and delivery technology has driven a shift that enables us to meet consumers where they are. While smartphones have been the leading channel in this space, other innovations such as voice technology platforms and even features on gaming consoles are providing retailers with more opportunities to engage with customers. Our parent company, Just Eat’s integration with XBox means customers can now engage with local food retailers without interrupting their game and its partnership with Alexa facilitates a convenient way for customers to order their favourite meal.
An Individual Experience, Every Time
Personalisation extends beyond catering to existing customer preferences. As Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning continues to advance, retailers will be able to provide a highly tailored, individual experience, regardless of channel, by helping customers find and select exactly what they are looking for, using data from tracking preferences and buying patterns.
A world-class example is Amazon Go’s Artificial Intelligence-powered, ‘checkout-free’ store in the U.S., which offers an integrated, digitised and personalised in-store experience. AI technology can be applied at varying scales, to personalise the customer shopping experience across all touchpoints. For example, it enables our restaurants to ‘get to know’ their customers whilst Machine Learning allows us to tailor suggestions of restaurants and cuisines.
Technology innovation is not only driving an easier customer experience, its making business operations easier for retailers. Smart technology is enhancing the way businesses manage everything from inventories to employees to payments, with data enabling better business practices.
The introduction of chatbots for retail businesses have the dual benefit of enhancing customer experience and streamlining operations. By directly improving customer service, bots can reduce resources retail businesses invest in customers service, as well as the risk of inconsistent communication with multiple customer service agents.
With technology evolving at an increasing rate, one of the biggest challenges for retailers is to be able to stay ahead of trends and implement technology solutions that are going to drive the biggest result for their business. Ultimately, it is important for retailers to work with technology providers that offer products and services relevant for the retailer’s customer base and that will enhance the customer’s experience.
Alistair Venn, Managing Director, Menulog Group.