Retailers plan to get all customer-centric this year by focusing on customer service initiatives, upping investments in IT, e-commerce and mobile. That's the conclusion of a new report, Benchmarks for 2011, Forecasts for 2012, from the National Retail Federation Foundation and KPMG.
According to a survey of retail executives, 67 percent listed customer satisfaction as their top strategic goal of the year. Eighty-two percent said improved customer service will be their top priority for the year, up from 75 percent in 2011.
"Though customers are always a company's top priority, customer satisfaction will get a huge facelift this year. From increasing their brand visibility through cross-channel initiatives to providing unique, personalized shopping experiences through every channel, retailers have indicated 2012 is all about the customer," said Matt Shay, president and CEO of NRF, in a press release.
An increased emphasis on e- and m-commerce was clear from the survey's results. Eighty-five percent of respondents said they would emphasize increasing online sales versus 83 percent in 2011. The percentage of companies putting a greater focus on mobile jumped from 29 percent last year to 38 percent in 2012. Fifty-three percent said they would look to personalize digital commerce with "location-based services and tracking methods unique to shopping habits."
Moving into stores, retailers planned to make greater use of mobile point-of-sale.
"Retailers have turned their attention to growth acceleration, with an emphasis on improved customer engagement strategies and tactics," said Mark Larson, KPMG's global head of retail. "Harnessing the vast amounts of customer data they have at their disposal to create unique consumer interactions will be critical, especially as digital sales grow. Clearly the retailers who master the one-to-one customer approach, and who also leverage the full potential of e- and mobile commerce platforms, will be in a much stronger position to gain wallet share."
Which channel offers the greatest opportunity for most retailers to use improved customer engagement to add incremental sales?