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24/7: An analytical approach to serving the non-stop customer

By aligning your goals with the digital retail customer and leveraging analytics, you can deliver the seamless experiences your customers seek.

Digital natives in an always-on world, today’s retail customers not only own the shopping experience—they can also reconfigure it, manipulating myriad devices across multiple channels, pretty much at will. Most retailers struggle to keep up with them. But Accenture research and experience suggest that they could do better—by deconstructing the “24/7” paradigm that defines non-stop customers’ lives.

Let’s start with the “2” goals of any investment designed to meet non-stop needs. Firstly, it should increase the desire for a product or service; and secondly, it should lessen the pain involved in getting it to the customer. Ideally, it should satisfy both aims at once.

Your goals should also align with the “4” pillars of the seamless customer experience that Accenture research has identified: Know Me; Inform Me; Make It Easy And Engaging For Me; and Get It To Me.

Then, with goals and pillars aligned, you can start to leverage the “7” building blocks that we believe will be fundamental to success:

  1. Unlock Big Data
    To really know your customer, you need a 720-degree view of that customer, where the “second lap” is all about what you do on a daily basis with the insights generated. Only then can you make more effective decisions around how products, prices and promotions influence an individual’s buying behavior.

  2. Double Down on Analytics
    The non-stop customer is always evaluating—before, during and after purchase—and sharing those evaluations with others. That means you too have to continually re-evaluate (and re-prioritize) where and how to invest, per customer, per day. Only then can you discover what resonates best with each individual.

  3. Offer 100% Inventory Visibility
    Customers expect to be fully informed about what’s available. Which means you need to give them access to truly reliable inventory, right across the enterprise, and in real time.

  4. Provide Engaging Content
    In a search-driven world, high-quality content, extendable to encompass enriched and creative contexts, is critical.

  5. Thoughtfully Designed Experiences
    Follow Apple’s benchmark-setting example by creating a dedicated design platform for new seamless services that will allow you to imagine, pilot and scale thoughtfully designed customer experiences rapidly and effectively.

  6. Re-imagine Your Supply Chain
    Customers expect to get their product their way. By leveraging Big Data and analytics, and revamping your supply chain on the basis of the insights generated, you can fulfill a multiplicity of customer delivery needs.

  7. Rethink Your P&L
    The price transparency enabled by the digital revolution is changing every aspect of the retail value proposition. As a result, retailers urgently need to redefine their cost structures for an inter-connected and inter-dependent enterprise.