In Connected Intelligence Platform, Retail

Within the TCS Digital Software and Solutions group, we are obsessed with helping our customers deliver connected experiences. You may have seen Seeta Harihan’s post from 2017 where she declared that the Moment of Truth has been replaced by the sum of connected experiences.  She urged retailers to embrace the digital, connected consumer. She rightly pointed out that retailers need to stop obsessing about selling a product, and instead obsess about the ecosystem they need to create to deliver what the customer is really looking for – an experience, an aspiration, the fulfillment of a deeper need.

Connected customer experiences are more satisfying, they create deeper connections. Focusing on connected experiences as a retailer means your customer is more likely to see a retailer as a partner, rather than a vendor. One is considerably more likely to want a long-term relationship with a partner vs a vendor.

If you haven’t read Seeta’s blog, or haven’t read it in a while, it’s well worth it. Her message is particularly relevant right now. My colleague recently wrote about why customer experience is so important today, read it here: Customer Experience Imperative

What does any of this have to do with Mother’s Day?

Most treat Mother’s Day as a moment of truth – the one day that is meant to be “all about mom”.  Go to your favorite store and you will inevitably witness a mad scramble to find the perfect gift for mom. According to the National Retail Foundation (NRF), $23 BILLION will be spent on Mother’s Day this year.  About one-third of these buyers will shop in a physical store, another third online, and the rest will go for the specialist retailer (flowers, jewelry, etc.).

“Moment of truth” marketing (and gift-giving) is focused and measured at a single point.  If that moment is successful, the gift-giver (and retailer) declare “victory”.  For those that are looking to deliver memorable, connected experiences – that kind of victory isn’t enough. They look beyond that one moment and assess victory only when the experience as a whole is successful.  Those kind of victories drive deeper loyalty, higher NPS scores, positive social sentiment, and more.

One way to distinguish a “moment” from an experience is by considering the context. Knowing what context will create a lasting impression takes a lot of insight. Retailers, for example, need the right kind of analytics that will reveal current and predicted shopping patterns, attitudes, and propensities. Gift-givers need a deep understanding of the mom — one that goes well beyond the “top 10 gifts for mom” emails that clutter the mailbox and social media.

For example, last year I received a beautiful hanging plant.  I needed a hanging plant and the colors were just right. Unfortunately, while I love plants, they need to be hardy and either get watered by someone or enjoy long periods of draught (the hanging plant didn’t make it).  It was a nice gift and I enjoyed it while it lived.  I still have the pot.  The giver knew me – but not well enough to connect the dots and create what could have been a connected experience. It was a moment.

Contrast that with a perfect in-context offer my son made. He woke up early(ish) to help peel five pounds of potatoes for brunch, and in the midst of a break in peeling action, revealed a “just-right” card that he bought and signed. He delivered a connected experience using nuanced insight into me as an individual. He knew that before I would enjoy the card, I needed to get through preparations and so he paved the way for me to enjoy his gift properly. Using that same deep insight, he was able to match a card to a mom who typically laughs and satirizes sappy cards.

When you are out looking for your mother’s day gift, consider mom’s multi-dimensional life. NRF found that mothers are starting to look beyond out of context gifts – 30% would prefer an experience, and I would wager they are looking for a connected experience.

Retailers, take note. To create lasting loyalty you need to remain focused on the customers and their needs. Look beyond the obvious and apply deep analytics to uncover future needs and hidden behavior patterns.  In other words, put yourself in the mind of your customer – as individuals, as micro-segments, or as personas – whichever works best for you.

TCS can help. TCS Customer Intelligence & Insight for Retail (CI&I Retail) was built to help retailers plan for and deliver exceptional connected customer experiences. It is a future-ready solution that provides deep analytics, machine learning, journey management, and more. Learn more here and – Happy Mother’s Day!

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