Consumers have high expectations of retailers, and those expectations continue to get
higher each year. With the marketplace becoming more and more crowded, it is vital for retailers to differentiate themselves as old strategies are quickly becoming obsolete.

According to the results of IBM’s 2016 Global Consumer Experience Index (CEI), retailers of all types and across all industries are FAILING to meet consumer expectations with a meager 40% customer satisfaction rating overall. Gone are the days of physical store shopping being the only means to purchase items. Digital has disrupted the retail world, creating numerous consumer touchpoints for retailers to stay abreast of.

In order to succeed in today’s consumer marketplace, your retail clients must finally lay to rest the classic 4 Ps of marketing. Pure play retailers will always win against this strategy. Instead, your clients need to focus on the 4 Cs of marketing, which focus on exceptional customer experiences.

Many retailers are already aware of and implementing the 4 Cs, but customer satisfaction ratings are still below failure level:

  • Consistency (49%)
  • Content (42%)
  • Context (30%)
  • Convenience (32%)

The CEI shows retailers are facing difficulties in each of the categories. Consistency is hindered by the human element in physical stores and call centers. Content struggles with the quality and availability of decision making information for both customers and associates. Convenience is constantly disrupted by innovative retailers. And, context struggles to apply insights for more personalized interactions.

Your retail clients need help navigating these difficulties, and there is plenty of opportunity for them. Here are just a few consumer expectations revealed by the CEI and the percentage of surveyed retailers that provide the service.

  • Online product availability (3+ channels) – 52%
  • Store level product availability (3+ channels) – 38%
  • Buy online pick-up in-store – 55%, but only 27% provided a good or very good in-store collection experience
  • Product comparisons on website – 29%
  • Personalized name, content and messaging in at least 1 digital touchpoint – 17%

Also of note is that retailers have recognized the importance of mobile with 80% providing basic in-store mobile services. However, only a small percentage are using their mobile services to support their customers’ in-store decision making.

Now is the time to intervene. Help your retail clients determine what their targeted customers’ expectations are. These are the expectations they must focus on better serving if they want to enhance their customer experience and build consumers into brand advocates. And once their new strategy is in place, help your clients create a killer ad campaign to spread awareness of new programs, services and capabilities.