The way we shop has changed. Internet enabled devices and social media will continue to alter the way we purchase products. Customers now move between channels – from store to website to app – as they browse, decide, buy, receive and resolve any issue with their purchase. This presents a challenge: how can retailers provide a compelling integrated customer experience that grows market share?

Our White Paper, published today, is Head's response to this challenge. We created a qualitative assessment, the Integrated Customer Experience Scale (ICES) to review how well digital and offline touchpoints are weaved together to create an integrated customer experience across the whole shopper journey. We reviewed 100 of the UK's best-known retailers to evaluate their offer and find out which companies are getting it right. Oxford Economics analysed the retailers’ sales performance relative to their ICES score. Our findings demonstrate that there is a correlation between a strong integrated customer experience and sales growth. Between 2007-2010, the retailers studied lost almost half a billion pounds in potential sales by failing to deliver a truly integrated and tailored customer experience.

While worst performing retailers including Morrisons, Dixons, Phones4U and Homebase missed out on tens of millions of pounds due to their weaker multi-channel performance, innovators including Tesco, Boots and John Lewis made up to £314million in additional sales growth attributable to their integrated customer experience strategies.

The key success factors for retailers are; enable customers to choose a purchase path which suits them best, create appropriate links between touchpoints, use mobile websites and mobile apps appropriately and treat customer support as an important part of customer experience.

Our study suggests that the knowledge and experience of creating persuasive experiences in-store is not being fully exploited to create engaging shopping experiences at digital touchpoints. Online retail experiences have to become brand specific, highly relevant and personalised to each shopper. Retailers need to make better use of existing resources, skills, people and technology.

The digital consumer revolution means retailers can no longer afford to stand still. Too many retailers are simply playing catch-up with their competitors. But true service innovation is the primary way to stand out from the competition and maximise the return on investment in customer experience and technology. Innovation requires a slightly different approach to the norm, but it need not cost more or take longer. The way to identify innovation opportunities is to scrutinise customer behaviour, identify customers’ real underlying needs and to design compelling and indispensable retail experiences to meet those needs. 

Customer Experience Deficit White Paper

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