Top 5 Retail Customer Experience (CX) Strategies

December 7, 2023
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Getting customer experience right in retail is a big deal.

It’s the reason why Amazon and other eCommerce companies have been able to grow so quickly. It's the reason why we've seen customer-centric D2C brands expand in recent years. And it’s the reason why your brand will fly or fail in the coming years.

But what exactly do consumers want? How can retailers ensure they deliver on their expectations? And what are the best CX strategies for success in 2023?

In this article, you’ll learn the five key strategies and trends that will deliver great CX in your business.

But first, let’s run through what CX is, and why it matters so much to retailers.

What Is Retail Customer Experience (CX)?

In general terms, customer experience refers to the interaction between customers and a retail organisation or brand. This includes everything from product selection to service delivery to aftercare support. But it doesn't just apply to physical store locations; it applies to digital channels like your website, mobile app, and social media platforms.

In other words, customer experience spans every customer touchpoint.

What’s the difference between customer experience and customer service?

Customer service is about a particular interaction with a customer regarding a specific need. Customer experience is far broader, referring to the entire customer journey and their perception of the brand.

Why does customer experience matter so much in retail?

Aside from the reasons put down in the introduction, improving customer experience has become increasingly important over the past few years. Particularly as more of us shop online.

Here are some stats to support why CX is so important to retail brands.

According to Accenture research, nearly half of all adults say they would be less likely to shop at a store because of a poor experience. That number jumps significantly among millennials who cite poor experience as the top reason they won't return to a particular store.

Another research report cites that a huge 96% of customers believe that customer experience is a key aspect of brand loyalty.

So, clearly, consumer experience matters in retail.

If people aren't happy with your products, services, or the experience that underpins them, then they're not going to buy from you. And if they don't buy your products, you're not going to deliver growth. Growth that ends up driving revenue for your competitors.

So, what can we do to make sure that doesn’t happen? Here are five key things to focus on and consider this year.

Five retail CX strategies you should focus on in 2023

1. Empower your employees with data-driven decision making

The most effective way to improve your retail brand's CX strategy is through data analysis and employee empowerment.

That may sound oxymoronic, but combining the two improves customer experience. By giving your employees the data they need to succeed, you empower them, and this leads to better CX outcomes.                    

By using customer feedback analytics tools such as Chattermill (other tools are available), companies have access to real-time information from every feedback interaction customers have with your brand and products – whether they be positive or negative. And it distils it into meaningful trends that are easy to understand and act on.

Want to see Chattermill for yourself? Try it for free.

As Forrester Research suggests, “the ability to analyze large amounts of data across multiple channels provides organizations with insights into how best to meet consumer needs and expectations.”

Having these insights readily available allows your employees to make better decisions based on actual feedback rather than gut feelings or assumptions. It also helps identify problems before they become major issues.

If your feedback analytics tool is telling you that hundreds of customers every month are having issues with delivery fulfilment, or that there are universal concerns about the environmental impact of your packaging, you know where to improve.

By fixing those problems, you'll build trust among your existing customers, attract more loyal ones in the future, and drive growth.

2. Focus on the consumer experience across multiple channels

One of the biggest challenges any retailer faces today is being not just present everywhere your customers expect you to be, but consistently present.

In 2018, Amazon reported that almost 90 per cent of consumers use two or more different devices while shopping. They want to see reviews, compare prices, read descriptions, watch videos, and even chat live with sales associates via video calls.

This isn’t anything new of course. It's been happening since the dawn of eCommerce. What's changed now is that we've entered an era where technology makes it possible for us to do so to a far greater degree.

Today, we can interact with our favourite brands wherever we happen to be. We can get answers without having to wait hours for someone to call back. And we can share our experiences with friends and family members right away.

While this is great for the consumer, it’s becoming difficult for brands to achieve consistency across every customer touchpoint. Few brands get this right.

And they should. Because as Wunderman Thompson research suggests, 42% of consumers say a seamless experience across all devices and channels is a “top expectation”.

Achieving consistency across your channels should be a key CX strategy.

This is no simple endeavour, of course. The best (and perhaps only) way to achieve this is to bake CX into your business’ entire operations. In 2023, you need to move towards becoming a customer-centric company – not just in name, but in reality.

3. Deliver more personalised experiences

Creating personalised experiences is nothing new in the world of CX. We all know that if we’re to attract and retain loyal customers, and deliver growth, our customers’ experience of our brands needs to be both memorable and personal.

The data backs this up. Research conducted by Forrester reveals that 77% of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalised service or experience.

There are many ways to go about delivering personalised experiences. These include using personal names in customer communications, for example.

Rewarding customer loyalty is another go-to tactic.The problem is: every successful brand is employing these tactics. And if you’re not, then this is definitely the first thing you should do.

But to deliver personalised experiences memorable enough to turn customers into fans, you need to look beyond these tactics. Leveraging customer data is a good approach.

75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognises them by name, recommends options based on past purchases, or knows their purchase history. (Accenture)

The only way you can achieve this and deliver personalised, memorable experiences is by leveraging your existing customer data – information on previous purchases, conversations, tracking, and CLTV, for example.

To access this data you must look to use customer service software that can collect this data from multiple channels, and present it quickly and clearly to your customer support and service teams.

4. Use Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning to improve your CX strategy

Artificial intelligence and machine learning have already transformed many industries over the past few years. Today, we’re now seeing great leaps forward in the world of CX.

AI systems (like the NLP technology that underpins Chattermill) can analyse vast quantities of free text from reviews, surveys, and other customer interactions at scale to decipher patterns in what your customers are saying.

It then presents meaningful insights into customers’ preferences and behaviours.

As a CX leader, this enables you to spot trends, make informed decisions about what to improve in your business, and deliver better CX.

This technology can also be applied to customer support interactions, which is something we’ve recently introduced at Chattermill.

By combining the two sets of insights from customer support interactions, and customer feedback (whether these are fromTrustpilot, NPS surveys, chatbots, or app store reviews), CX leaders can use this new AI-powered technology to give a complete, holistic oversight that delivers a more proactive CX strategy.

For 2023, this is a strategy that all CX leaders should consider.

5. Ditch the surveys, embrace predictive analytics

A recent McKinsey report on The Future of CX suggested that predictive analytics may take over from traditional survey-based approaches to CX.

This is a huge potential change in our industry. After all, as McKinsey suggests, 93% of CX leaders currently measure the CX success using survey-based metrics like Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) and Customer Effort Score (CES).

So what’s the issue with the survey-based approach to CX?

Well, the report reveals that just 16% of CX leaders that believe the current approach think it allows them to uncover root causes of performance. Does this mean we’ll all flock towards predictive analytics in 2023?

Things are definitely moving in this direction, but in my mind, it’s still debatable whether the quantitative data from predictive analytics systems is really enough to fully understand our customers. As we all know as CX leaders, qualitative data is important.

A combination of both is key. A blend of predictive analytics and analysis of qualitative data collected through real-world customer interactions (whether they be from customer support or customer feedback) is where the real intelligence lies.

And to the 84% of leaders who believe that a form-based approach to CX doesn’t yet uncover the root causes of CX performance, we’d suggest looking at the approach discussed in the previous section. Speak to any of our customers and you’ll see there’s deep customer intelligence in support and feedback data if you use the right tech!

The future of customer experience in retail

Move over product and service quality, these days it’s all about great customer experiences. Customers want to be looked after well and 86% of shoppers are willing to pay more for a better shopping experience.

Insightful research shows that quality customer experience is more important than product and price and needs to be the number one priority for retailers. By so doing, there’s potential to double revenue. Yet another reason to make CX your highest priority now and in years to come.

Today’s customer is far more clued up and demanding than in previous years. So retailers must adopt data-driven marketing strategies to understand and meet their demands. Data will drive the future of retail CX. Retail businesses need to leverage that data to ensure every interaction with the customer is a positive experience is and contributes to a meaningful relationship between customer and retailer.

Improving in-store retail experience

Your brick and mortar store should not work in isolation from your online retail offering. In-store retail works as part of your omnichannel retail experience, not separate from it. Your CX strategy needs to reflect that. Instead of treating in-store as a stand-alone customer journey, it should be viewed as one of many potential digital and physical (online and offline) touchpoints.

Keep it consistent. Whether a customer is in your physical store , on your social channels, or your website or app, they should feel similarities in experience. This increases customer satisfaction and brand loyalty, as well as building trust between your brand and your customers.

Get to know and understand your customer better through data collection and analysis. Tailor marketing strategies and product offerings to deliver high customer satisfaction.

Utilise modern technology to improve the in-store customer experience. Make it experiential. Customers need to feel something in-store via a creative, innovative and personal experience. It gives them a reason to make the journey to your retail store rather than shopping online from home. A memorable customer experience will build customer engagement and loyalty.

Offer some personal levels of service - styling services, fittings, demos or deals that are only available in store.

Improving digital retail experience

Post-pandemic, it’s been harder to encourage customers back into stores. Retailers need to adopt different initiatives to drive old and new customers to travel to a retail store.

Personalised experiences are important offline as well as in physical stores. Develop personalised insights that promote one-to-one relationships with your customer.

Augmented reality allows people to try before they buy. See how a sofa would look in your living room or try on a hot new lipstick shade to see if it suits your complexion.

Listen to the voice of customers and learn from that customer feedback. Data analysis is a game changer for the retail industry. You’ll be making decisions based on robust data rather than gut feelings.

Empower your teams. Customer service employees in-store and online will feel more motivated when they’re informed and engaged with your customer strategy. This employee engagement and enthusiasm will result in a better user experience and customer retention.

Focus on overall satisfaction

Investing in your customer service team and empowering them to resolve issues confidentlty is hugely important. These three initiatives can improve the retail experience.

Close the loop with detractors

Turn a negative into a positive experience. The way you deal with customer feedback will determine your customer’s future relationship with your brand. By engaging the customer in a conversation about their feedback, taking time to listen, empathise and resolve the issue, you can leave the customer remembering the positive experience of the interaction rather than the negative issue that they raised initially. That customer is likely to share word of mouth recommendations, advocating your brand afterwards.

Leverage your loyalty program

Your customer loyalty scheme is a goldmine of powerful information. This database of your most loyal customers reveals demographics, buying behaviours and preferences. Those insights can form the basis of your retail CX program. Use that data to target customers with stuff that will interest them.

Use a single integrated CX management platform

Your customer experience management platform needs to collect, analyse and act on data from across your entire business, but distribute it to the right people at the right time. Chattermill produce dashboards to do just this - highlighting the important data to specific teams so that they can base their decision-making on it.

How do you measure customer experience for retailers?

There’s myriad ways to measure customer experience so they can be tailored to your business needs. Examples include:

  • Customer feedback surveys
  • NetPromoter Score (NPS)
  • Social media
  • Text analysis
  • Online reviews and ratings
  • Website data.

Retail customer experience example

Five Guys

The restaurant chain engaged with Chattermill to deliver industry-leading customer experiences across the UK, France, Germany and Spain with the aim of increasing customer loyalty and retention.

Paul Hamilton, Brand & Customer Director at Five Guys said:

“To continue delivering exceptional experiences for our customers, we need insights that inspire action at a store-by-store level. To accomplish this, we needed a single source of customer truth.

Chattermill enables this by unifying our CX data, analysing it at scale using deep learning AI, and delivering insights that help us understand the Five Guys customer experience at a granular level.

With Chattermill, each of our customer service and operations teams now have the insights they need to improve CX day to day, week to week, country to country and store to store.”

Find out more


The importance of CX for retailers can’t be overstated. In the coming years, brands that fail to improve will fail to grow. It’s as simple as that.

But we need to move beyond what we’ve done in the past if we’re to take things to the next level. We need to be forward-looking, and better to gain competitive advantage.

Looking at the five strategies we’ve put down in this article is a solid place to start. Doing so will empower your employees, give you new insights into your customers’ preferences and behaviour, and ultimately deliver better CX.

Of course, these aren’t the only strategies. You still need to get the basics right, after all. But they’re a mighty good place to start.

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