Retail: 5 Top Customer Communications Challenges and How to Overcome Them

The retail industry is experiencing industry-wide changes in terms of online shopping and customer experience. Online shopping is growing exponentially – retail e-commerce sales worldwide skyrocketed from $1,336 trillion in 2014 to $4,280 in 2020 and is estimated to reach $6,388 trillion in 2024. 

The global online shopping market size hit about 4.23 trillion in 2020 and is estimated to climb a further 16.8% in 2021 to $4.921 trillion. In 2023, 300 million people in the US are estimated to shop online – about 91% of the current U.S. population! Nasdaq predicts that about 95% of all purchases would be via eCommerce in the near future. 

In-store shopping is becoming less necessary for buyers, due to the growing popularity of e-commerce. In fact, according to Statista, the number of online shoppers worldwide increased by more than 800 million! – from 1.32 billion in 2014 to 2.14 billion in 2021.

In-store shopping is becoming less necessary for buyers. © Linqong | Dreamstime.com

Offline Stores May Be Vital, But Future Service Would Still Be Digital

Although online shopping is growing exponentially, in-store shopping would still be a significant part of consumers’ shopping experience in the coming years. US Census Bureau states that offline sales were 86% of total retail sales in the US during Q2021. It is clear that retailers need to keep some offline presence, but simultaneously divert resources to online activity. 

The growing popularity of online shopping requires retailers to adapt and creates new challenges for the entire retail industry.

We’ll take a deep look into these challenges and offer a solution for each. 

Top 5 Customer Communication Challenges in the Retail Industry 

1. Growing Demand for Digital Customer Service

Consumers’ growing communication using digital devices created higher customer communication standards for retailers, who need to provide digital support and service to shoppers. This requires efficient online customer service and digitalization of business processes.

Solution: Drive digital transformation in your business.

Overcoming this challenge requires retailers to go through a digital transformation process that will enhance their business with digital customer service capabilities. 

We recently published a free guide that dives deep into this subject: 

Free Digital Transformation Guide

2. Multi-channel Standards for Customer Communication  

Consumers’ growing use of digital devices created new standards for customer service and communication. Customers expect retailers and brands to deliver service digitally, as mentioned. Still, most of them (71%, according to McKinsey) also expect it to be through multiple communication channels that usually use like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Chat, e-mail, and more. 

Rising customer expectations present a new challenge for retailers, who need to provide customer service in multiple digital channels, which is a complex and time-consuming task. 

Solution: Implement an omnichannel customer communication platform. 

Overcoming this challenge requires retailers to implement an omnichannel customer communication solution that can direct all the shoppers’ queries from any digital platform to one smart inbox and manage all customer communication from a single dashboard. Using omnichannel customer communication would generate a more friendly interaction with shoppers and provide a unified customer experience. 

Find out more about the CommBox smart customer communication solution

3. Slow response time and ineffective service 

Customers are becoming more demanding of immediate response, even within an hour using digital channels. Providing a quick response through traditional channels is very costly, slow, and inefficient in large numbers. 

Solution: Implement AI and automation capabilities in your operational systems.

To avoid extensive costs, improve response time and customer satisfaction, every online business and brand must implement a technological solution that can provide automated customer service from the very first moment. 

Artificial Intelligence © Weedezign | Dreamstime.com

AI service bots can also resolve the slow service delivery and responsiveness issue by immediately replying to every initial request and engaging with customers from the very first moment, without the need for human intervention. These abilities ensure higher customer satisfaction and a unique customer experience. 

Improving customer service through tech can generate profits for the retail industry: about 80% of online shoppers think that new technologies and innovations improve their experience. About 86% of customers are happy to pay more for great service – about 60% more per transaction. 

4. Security and Privacy 

Shoppers trust brands and feel comfortable inserting their credit card details to buy through multiple online websites and apps. This issue requires every retailer to have the most secure systems to withstand every cyber-attack and keep their clients’ privacy. The way to ensure system security is to secure your database and customer service with a secured customer service software of the highest standards, which is also GDPR-compliant.

Solution: Adopt a secured GDPR-compliant customer communication platform 

One minor breach in a brand’s system can leave the information wide open for hackers that can steal it, use it to cause tremendous damage, and ruin years of brand reputation. Make sure you are protecting your shoppers with the highest level of security. 

Online Shopping © Vladimir Stanišić | Dreamstime.com

5. Customer Loyalty 

Consumers have an endless variety of shopping possibilities and can easily choose another brand if it offers a better price or a unique shopping experience. That can affect their loyalty – 96% of consumers say customer service is an essential factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand.

In a world full of gigantic retailers and brands such as AliExpress, Amazon, Next, Shein and more, a brand must be unique and secured to attract more customers. 

Solution: Use technology to establish positive brand-customer relationships and maintain loyalty.

Keep in touch with your loyal customers through a smart customer relations management platform that will automatically inform shoppers of occasional opportunities through digital channels and enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty over time.  

Loyal and Happy Customers © Iakov Filimonov | Dreamstime.com

Overcome Digital Transformation Challenges Using Commbox Smart Customer Communication Platform 

The described challenges for the retail industry require an all-in-one solution, a software that can manage customer communication effectively through every digital channel while maintaining the highest security standards. 

Meet Commbox – an omnichannel communication platform that enhances customer experience and leads digital service, support, and sales teams to success. 

Commbox helps organizations improve customer communication by using advanced AI-based technology that engages with customers and solves issues more efficiently than ever with a smart inbox implemented in a customer communication platform. 

One popular solution Commbox offers is the WhatsApp API service bot that engages with customers through their app and can do so on many other digital platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Twitter, and more. Commbox holds the highest security standards and owns GDPR compliance. 

How Commbox Successfully Transforms Customer Service for Large Retailers 

Commbox’s solution successfully helped transform leading international retailers such as Kimberly Clark and Clarks. Using Commbox, Kimberly Clark diverted 18% of phone calls to SMS and solved 25% of customer requests through Commbox smart chatbot. As a result, Kimberly Clark improved its entire customer experience. 

Clarks, an international shoe retailer, reduced its initial response time to customers (SLA) from 5 days to 1 hour – a 99% improvement! Clarks solved 25% of customer requests using Commbox’s smart chatbot and increase customer satisfaction by 36%.

Commbox Transforms Customer Service for Large Retailers © Brett Critchley | Dreamstime.com

5 Reasons Why Commbox is the Solution For Retailers

  1. All-in-one omnichannel customer communication solution. 
  2. WhatsApp API smart bots that provide friendly and effective service. 
  3. AI and automation features that improve customer experience.
  4. GDPR security compliance.
  5. Proven success in managing customer service for international retailers.

In Conclusion

Digital technologies keep evolving and offer new opportunities for the retail industry. As customers expect purchases and services to become more digital and multichannel, brands must upgrade their customer service and enhance customer experience or get left behind. 

Implementing an omnichannel, AI-based, and secured customer communication solution is imperative for any small or large retailer, now more than ever. 

About Commbox

Commbox offers an innovative solution for customer interactions, creating a holistic customer communication experience. By using the Commbox platform, companies and enterprises can automate recurring tasks that are excessively time-consuming, allowing your agents to focus on more important tasks. Commbox paves the way for autonomous business communication, without losing the quintessential human touch.

Commbox’s mission is to pave the way for companies worldwide to become autonomous enterprises, without losing their quintessential human touch.

Learn why customers choose CommBox for their customer communications.

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