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Mind the Gap – The Rise of Intelligent Guided Selling

In essence, Intelligent Guided Selling enables retailers to become truly omnichannel-ready, by comprehensively unifying every element of the customer engagement experience. It is the combative force for retailers in a perfect storm…

As we touched on in our last two posts, poor productivity and diminishing consumer spending represent significant hurdles for retailers. When combined with disruptive influences, including the power of titans such as Amazon, alongside a need for retailers to evolve further before they can truly meet the omnichannel demands of consumers, this represents something of a perfect storm of challenges for the sector to solve. To reach a rapid resolution, retailers need to employ fresh approaches and tech that are able to kill two birds with one stone: effectively, a solution that encourages higher and more frequent customer spending by helping them make better, more tailored buying choices, while also raising internal productivity.

This is where intelligent guided selling comes to the fore.

A lowdown on intelligent guided selling

In today’s digitally-focused world, consumers expect their omnichannel shopping experience to be dynamic, personalised and informative. Inundated with choice and without a guiding hand, consumers suffer from paralysis of decision. To this end, providing them with advice and support throughout their journey as a customer is crucial if a retailer is to make headway in such a fiercely competitive environment.

Intelligent guided selling works by gently prompting and guiding customers in a step-by-step process through a logical sequence of decisions that eventually lead to an informed purchase. By leveraging insights from data gathered through methods such as lifestyle assessments or behavioural data analysis, the technology uncovers key needs of customers and works out how to meet them. This information intuitively makes purchasing easier and more personalised, helping drive higher conversion rates, larger order values, more frequent up-selling and cross-selling, and improved customer satisfaction.

A renaissance for consumer spending

Perhaps the most striking benefit of intelligent guided selling is the impact it can have on a retailer’s bottom line. To differentiate in a cut-throat market, organisations need to show that they are being innovative enough to make consumers confident in spending money.

The comprehensive, holistic nature of a guided selling platform means consumers can receive all of the information they need from the retailer, reducing the chances of them leaving a store or abandoning a basket because they didn’t have the help they needed to make a final decision.

Having an intelligent guided selling solution in place also gives consumers a much greater deal of control over the buying process by making the customer engagement experience more dynamic. Customers have freedom to choose how they want their needs to be met, including whether they want to use a self-service facility or would prefer to speak to a human member of staff.

Note: Intelligent Guided Selling is NOT about replacing your people with tech – instead increasing their access to tech without scrapping the human element.

A light at the end of the productivity tunnel

Intelligent guided selling, by its very nature as an enabler of smarter, more informed purchasing, has the power to help narrow the productivity gap in the retail sector. When employed in the right way and used to the full extent of its potential, the productivity benefits can be seen throughout the organisation, including across operations, sales, customer service and IT departments.

FOR OPERATIONS TEAMS, the automation of cumbersome internal processes frees up staff to spend more time on driving innovation. Processes such as transaction speeds and average handling times can be sped up, and the efficiency of contact centre and store staff can be improved by enhancing their knowledge of the company’s product offering.

FOR SALES TEAMS, having tools to tailor purchases to the needs of the customer and identify up-sell and cross-sell opportunities empowers staff to create consistent and efficient experiences for consumers This expedites the launch of new offers and products, enabling sales staff to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to taking advantage of consumer trends, which is of vital importance in the pursuit of a productive workforce.

FROM AN IT POINT OF VIEW, intelligent guided selling avoids burdening staff with the time-consuming responsibility of implementing and adapting new infrastructure and processes, due to the fact that it can be easily configured and integrated with legacy systems. Pre-built modules and the option for software-as-a-service (SaaS) payment plans are also instrumental in ensuring that the full benefits of the technology are achieved and pricing strategies are flexible, without leaving IT bogged down with administrative tasks.

FINALLY, CUSTOMER SERVICE TEAMS – so often the heartbeat of the customer engagement process – will glean tangible productivity advantages by embracing intelligent guided selling. Joining up all elements of the customer journey saves precious time by, for example, making an automatic decision on whether a customer query is one that is best dealt with via self-service, or requires a human agent to solve. At the same time, using the technology to ensure the right products are being sold to the right customers reduces propensity-to-call, which helps customer service teams to do their jobs more efficiently. The technology enables customer-facing staff in help prospective buyers make quick decisions on what may have traditionally been a complex, drawn-out selling process. Unifying the customer engagement experience also helps customer service teams to deal with clients across different channels in a smooth, trouble-free manner, further saving valuable time in the pursuit of repeat purchases and customer loyalty.

Breaking down the barriers

Retailers need to be mindful that there are various things they need to do before they can make a success of the technology.

WINNING HEARTS AND MINDS: intelligent guided selling will only work effectively if there is buy-in from all parties at an organisation. The benefits of the technology, as well as the ease with which it can be implemented, need to be communicated comprehensively to every employee by leadership teams.

GETTING A HANDLE ON CUSTOMER DATA: intelligent guided selling is most effective when a retailer has an effective structure in place for managing customer data. If an organisation meticulously records data on areas such as purchasing, loyalty and average order value, this can then be fed into the guided selling platform, bringing a high level of personalisation for each customer. Additional concerns such as GDPR are bringing data management to the top of the agenda, so finding a way to manage data from a single location should be front-of-mind for any retailer.

BRINGING THE CUSTOMER ON BOARD: the power of intelligent guided selling needs to be subtly yet effectively communicated to the customer as part of a retailer’s wider efforts to promote itself as a champion of tailored service. Guided selling has the potential to be immensely powerful in meeting the challenging demands of the modern consumer, and if a company has such technology in place, it should be celebrating this ability to go the extra mile.

Technology is already well-known for being a great enabler of business productivity, and it has truly revolutionised the way retailers communicate with their customers. However, to address the slump in both consumer spending and worker productivity, retailers need to think about how newer, more agile technologies can make a difference.

Intelligent guided selling is the perfect way to round off our three-part ‘Mind the Gap’ blogs, because it has the ability to have this required impact for retailers, by enhancing the customer journey through a greater level of personalisation and an added element of theatre

Don’t forget to read our other two Mind the Gap blogs if you haven’t already, or download the full Mind the Gap whitepaper for retailers for FREE, here.

To discuss any aspect of your guided selling strategy and technology, get in touch with our team here at Conversity

The Conversity Team

 

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