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March 17, 2015

Convenience, Meet Technology — 4 Steps

Summary:

We now live in a one-click-to-buy world where customers demand extreme convenience based on deep understanding of their needs.

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With technology rapidly changing, customers now expect simple, fast transactions from companies. These expectations have helped create a one-click-to-buy world, further changing not just how, but why and where, we spend our hard-earned money.

On-the-Go Shopping Goes State-of-the-Art 

A case in point is multinational grocer Tesco, based in the UK, Known in Korean markets as Homeplus, Tesco sought to better understand the dilemma that grocery shopping posed for many time-compressed people there.

Why not bring the store to the people? Why not turn wait-time during daily commutes into time for shopping? Why not use readily available technology to give consumers grocery stores in the palms of their hands?

“Virtual” grocery stores, complete with mock aisles and fridge displays, were placed in mass transit stations. Commuters scanned the QR codes of the products they wished to buy with their smart phones and scheduled a home delivery at a time convenient for them. Tesco’s online sales skyrocketed.

Why did this work? First, Tesco recognized the thing most desired by consumers: convenience. Second, Tesco used the best tools, such as smart phone apps and mobile technology, to give consumers what they wanted.

Hearing Customers, Responding With Useful Technology

It’s not just about having a slick interface (though that never hurts). Companies that are on top of the online shopping game are providing seamless and smart integration of both in-store and online customer experiences.

The use of “virtual” stores by Tesco was a smart move, allowing customers to explore the technology in a setting that was familiar to them, making the acclimation to full online shopping seamless.

The “aisles” and “fridges” brought with them the comfort of a brick and mortar store, allowing for the browsing and impulse buying that we often associate with picking up our groceries. However, the use of the smart phone app upped the ante and scratched other consumer itches: the desire for speed and convenience.

Four Steps to Take: 

  1. Seek to have a deep understanding of your customers’ needs.
  2. Combine that understanding with technology, to build a truly singular and timely customer experience that is both appealing and significant
  3. Integrate mobile and online technologies into the company’s identity and marketing
  4. Bring the best uses of technology to the company and deliver that tech-savvy company to the consumer

Tesco offers us a portrait of what it looks like to utilize technology to stay competitive in an increasingly diverse market. And remember, at this heart of success is a deeper understanding of what the customer wants.

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About the Author

Donna Peeples is chief customer officer at Pypestream, which enables companies to deliver exceptional customer service using real-time mobile chatbot technology. She was previously chief customer experience officer at AIG.

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