Karin Ballestrazze
June 3, 2014 | Customer Relationship Management (CRM), eCommerce , Email Marketing , Fulfillment/Shipping | Karin Ballestrazze

7 Predictions for the Future of Customer Experience

Retail is evolving at a speed that may make it seem impossible to keep up. Online wine sales may play a more significant role in the near future for many wineries. It will be important to competitively differentiate your business as consumer expectations continue to rise. Here are some predictions for the future of retail:

1. Products will never be out of stock
As online merchants continue to offer more options to customers, individuals will be less tolerant when products are sold out and you could lose sales. With the emergence of big data and smarter supply chain technology, customers may not have to discover something they want to buy is out of stock, according to SAP Business Innovation. Winery websites can consider adding an inventory feature that displays a notification when stock levels are running low.

2. More flexible ecommerce fulfillment options
Amazon, eBay, Zappos and even Google continue to offer customers more choices of ways to receive purchases at a lower cost. Retailers will strive to offer quicker, more affordable and flexible shipping options to meet consumer preferences, Entrepreneur magazine stated. Some companies will consider options such as preorders, home delivery for in-store purchases and in-store pick-up. Consumers won't be willing to pay significant expenses for shipping, but they also don't want to wait for orders. Wineries will need to offer speedy options at a low cost. 

3. Higher degree of customization
Custom products are dramatically increasing in popularity, SAP Business Innovation reported. In a similar vein, retailers that offer customers limited options - whether in terms of products or delivery choices - will be left behind.

4. Personalized product recommendations
Consumers are willing to share some of their data in exchange for more targeted product suggestions. Mobile technology has taken off in the past few years, and smartphones give retailers a way to engage with consumers. Some companies will develop mobile apps to send relevant recommendations to shoppers, according to Entrepreneur. Taking it a step further, some brands will reward customers for sharing information, SAP Business Innovation reported. Over time, this collection of data will result in a better retail experience overall because there will be less of what customers don't want.

5. Customer reviews will play a more significant role in purchasing decisions
With the explosion of social media, consumers are less likely to keep quiet when they have a bad experience with a retailer, and this could make other shoppers decide not to buy from you, according to LinkedIn. Despite the prevalence of ecommerce, you need to emphasize the emotional side of the shopper interaction. This is an important consideration for your wine marketing efforts.

6. Automation is becoming more important
In the interests of offering an online experience that's more convenient for customers and streamlined for businesses, many companies are turning to automation, SAP Business Innovation stated. Especially as consumers continue to express a preference for self-service channels, it will be more important thatretailers implement automation to deliver high-quality service. For wineries, this may mean considering new wine inventory software that tracks stock levels across all touch points.

7. Consumers hold all the power
Perhaps unsurprisingly, shoppers are driving the decisions many brands are making, Entrepreneur reported. Mobile technology has empowered customers by giving them access to real-time information. This has made them want an increased degree of visibility into the retailers they purchase from. Brands that focus on providing a top-notch customer experience through every purchasing channel will win in the long run. 

Contact a sales representative to learn more about how WineDirect's marketing solutions can help you boost online sales.


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