As these Canadian findings from PwC’s Global Total Retail Consumer Survey show, today’s retail customers are all about “what have you done for me lately?” They want value, choice and to interact with retailers on their terms. And if you don’t give it to them, they’ll go to someone else who will. Disruptive digital technologies are making them more empowered, emboldened, informed and discerning than ever. Here are some stats from BrandSpark’s 2015 Canadian Shopper Study, looking at Canadians’ shopping habits: 60% of Canadians own a smartphone device and more than half “often use” their devices while shopping in-store 48% compare prices across different retailers 20% make different purchase decisions because of information they accessed on their smartphone while in store 13% of household shopping trips involve Canadians using their smartphones Fragmented across a number of devices and platforms, customers’ attention has become a hot commodity, and, a share of their wallets has too. Needless to say, that makes their loyalty hard to come by. If you want to attain and retain it, your business needs to be nimble in adapting to changing needs, both yours and theirs, and good at managing customer relationships. If it isn’t, you risk being left behind and losing business to your more agile competitors. In fact, a recent article by the CBC News’ Laura Wright documented the plight of a few Canadian retailers who were forced to close due to intense competition and their failure to adapt to a changing market. Wright quoted Farla Efros, the president of retail consultancy HRC Advisory, who put it bluntly: the retailers had “ignored their current consumer base and stopped reinventing.” The good news is if technology is increasingly driving the modern customer journey, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t drive your business. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. When it comes to nimbly responding to customer needs, digital data can give you a fast-acting cheat sheet. Cloud-powered Customer Engagement Solutions can help you efficiently collect and circulate the right customer data throughout your business — stuff like transaction records, online comments, brand sentiments, and social-media likes and dislikes. With those, you can come up with actionable insights that inform all your customer interactions and help you better understand your customers’ behavioural, attitudinal, demographic, and financial info. You’ll come to know them almost better than they know themselves — how they usually interact with you, how they feel about you, how old they are and where they live, their purchase history, whether or not they’re profitable (you get the idea) — and then you’ll be able to proactively address their needs, and even identify new markets and opportunities. The good news is if technology is increasingly driving the modern customer journey, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t drive your business. Multichannel mastery is also important. You need to understand how, when, and where your customers want to be engaged so you can manage your customer interactions across all channels, both online and offline, to create and engaging, seamless, modern, mobile, market-defying omni-channel solution. That’s some powerful customer engagement. But success in retail today doesn’t just stop with managing your customer relationships. It also involves enabling your business to operate more intelligently. That’s where cloud-based Intelligent Operations Solutions come in handy. They can help you galvanize your business by pairing your complete, customer-centric retail experience with enhanced end-to-end capabilities — everything from modern point-of-sale, store operations, merchandising, e-commerce, call centres, marketing, and customer care, to supply chain and financials, all of which you’ll be able to deploy in the way that makes the most sense for your business. The right tools working together open up a number of possibilities for your retail business like: Reducing support costs Moving tools and processes to the cloud to boost responsiveness and agility Using business intelligence to make data-driven decisions, evaluate different markets, and track business growth and store performance Utilizing data to empower your salesforce Fostering quick and easy collaboration across your entire organization Better controlling your supply chain management with a real-time view of your business and products So, don’t wait. Use technology to transform your customer experience and your organizations’ processes to be an even more agile, successful business. You don’t want to be left behind. Got questions? Chat with one of our representatives today, or learn more about our Microsoft Dynamics CRM products here.