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The Digital Business Kit for Retailers

Learning Outcomes

Retailers will identify the online Customer Support strategies that can best suit their business. [printfriendly]

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Customer Support will play a key role in attracting, retaining and supporting customer sales as the online environment becomes increasingly competitive.
Social Media

Social media will continue to be a growing part of the customer support environment. Here is an example of a business owner using a series of Social media tools to engage customers.


In this example a runner tweeted to a running-shoe store about soreness in one calf. Gleason (the owner) began a conversation with him, just as he might with a customer in a physical running store. When Gleason asked to see the runner’s current shoes, @MichaelRunner responded with a photo and more information:

The owner goes even further to use Social and Rich Media to support the shopper by making a quick video (which could be re-used later on the website and on his video channels etc.)

Use of the Cloud
By maintaining customer support tools in the Cloud, retail organisations can ensure that all staff and systems can access customer data 24/7 from anywhere with an Internet connection.

This includes CRM (customer relationship management systems) which can support your Customer Support program at every stage of customer interaction. For example:

A customer enters information on your website in order to participate in an email marketing contest. The customer data can be entered directly into the customer relationship management system adding to the customer account if it already exists or creating a new one if required.

Assuming you have permission boxes on the content entry form where the customer indicates if you can email them, you can send relevant eMarketing to that customer.

When the customer contacts the company, any service person answering the call or greeting the person in the store will have relevant information about that customer in the CRM.

If the sale does not close immediately staff can enter customer information in the CRM for future use to ensure other staff and most expediently help the customer.

Once the customer purchases an item, the information about the purchase can be stored in the CRM system. This supports ongoing customer support for future sales; help with the product or any other customer support issue related to either the product or the customer.

A Cloud-based CRM system ensures all this information about your customer, product and the sale, is available to every staff person 24/7.

Trends in CRM:

    • mobile friendly
    • integrated to Social media
    • portals for clients to access/share some aspects of their own profile
    • integration with business intelligence platforms

Top 3 CRM by use:

  1. Salesforce
  2. Zoho (fee up to 3 users)
  3. Swiftpage

Click here for more on the Cloud and on CRMs.


Omni-Channel aims to unite all available channels to ultimately produce a seamless customer experience no matter where the customer touches your brand. Retailers can use eSolutions to give customers the flexibility to browse inside the store, then purchase online and vice-versa. Shoppers can have their products shipped, or they can choose to pick it up. Staff can have tablets which they use not just to process payments, but to assist shoppers when checking sizes, styles, availability and send product information to the customer if desired. If a particular item isn’t available in the store, the staff can even use tablets to help shoppers place orders online. In Omni-Marketing videos lead to apps, apps to website shopping interfaces and more.


Variety of support options

Customers are increasingly expecting options such as live chat, support forums, Social media support and a 1 800 number option to get answers immediately whether pre, during or post sale.

Tablet use on retail floors

Tablets can be used on retail floors as POS as well as product knowledge for staff and shoppers. This can support shoppers in satisfying all of their product knowledge needs as well as supporting staff who may be dealing with large inventories.

Virtual changing rooms and app technology
Here is an exciting upcoming technology for retail that allows customers to try on clothes virtually. These virtual change rooms allow online shoppers to try on clothes online using an avatar constructed from their measurements and photos.

Another change room eSolution includes fitting room service apps downloaded by shoppers that shows current inventory; shoppers can send messages to staff for a different size, color, item etc. while the shopper is still in the change room.

Upcoming trends

Other exciting upcoming trends include near field communications, augmented reality, image recognition, location based technology. If you are interested in seeing how these work for retail businesses visit the Case Studies page.