Key to all of this is reducing friction and improving operational efficiency – this is the functional part of his experience definition, and this, he says, is how many retailers want things to be, as we continue to tackle the cost of living. But a two-pronged approach is required, so that we are still using discovery, serendipity and journey as core parts of the reason we venture online or into a store in the first place.
Likewise, as he further explains in his highly insightful Our Perspectives white paper series, we see many retailers using the digital to enhance the physical store environment, but few are using the physical environment to enhance digital experiences. This is a key opportunity for bricks-and-mortar retail to differentiate itself from online retail. It is also important to use the phygital and digital to drive customers between one and the other, and utilising the unique benefits of each channel.
Finally, he says, ‘digital interaction in a physical store can conveniently drive customers online, while the physical store can be used to bring together a brand’s online community in person.’ And community, he insists, is the core objective of all of these actions and activities: building one, servicing one, seeing your ‘data points’ as human, and technology as an enhancer of these communities – especially ChatGPT – but not as a replacement for staff-customer interaction.