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Cloud Contact Center Solutions Can Help Retailers Succeed with BOPIS Business Model

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Cloud Contact Center Solutions Can Help Retailers Succeed with BOPIS Business Model

December 07, 2015
By Tracey E. Schelmetic
TMCnet Contributor

In the grand scheme of customer support, online footwear and accessory retailer Zappos is often cited as the competitor to beat. The company is famous for its above-and-beyond customer support and hands-on involvement of executive management when it comes to furthering the customer relationship through omni-channel interactions. It’s a hard act to follow, and footwear retailer DSW, which has both an online presence and brick-and-mortar stores, spends a lot of time trying to catch up. DSW, which recently announced third-quarter losses, says it needs to double down on the omni-channel customer support.

“An important part of that plan is our omnichannel strategy, the goal of which is to make our entire assortment available to our customers in a seamless fashion, regardless of how and where they choose to shop,” said DSW CEO Michael MacDonald recently during his third quarter earnings call.

One of the ways the company hopes to catch up is in pursuit of its BOPIS program, or “Buy It Online and Pick-up In Store,” a combination of channels that customers seem to like, and that retailers such as Home Depot have had a lot of success with.

“One exciting new capability we implemented this quarter is Buy Online Pick-up In-Stores or BOPIS and Buy Online Ship to Store or BOSTS,” said McDonald. “We rolled these capabilities out to all stores in the third quarter. And with virtually no proactive marketing, this new program accounted for one percent of total sales in October. The customer reaction was immediate and significant, which proves how much they want and frankly expect these additional capabilities.”

There is evidence that in 2015, even customers who visit brick-and-mortar stores do research online – often on their smartphones through the mobile Web or mobile apps. Sometimes, shoppers even do research online while they are in the physical store, particularly if the on-site employees are scarce or poorly trained to sell a company’s products. DWS believes that its new investments will enhance the company’s ability to compete in a fast-changing retail environment, grow market share, and expand into new markets. This may be so, but it will depend on not only what the customer sees, but how the company configures its core customer support platform. Cloud contact center solutions, which are the foundation of contact centers, need to include integrated omni-channel efforts…even brick-and-mortar stores. If agents or other customer representatives can’t see a 360-degree view of the customer relationship, the same old siloes of information occur, leading to blind spots in the customer experience.

Cloud contact center solutions such as those from Aspect provide users with a complete range of support channels, including inbound, outbound, hybrid and multichannel capabilities as well as self-service, CRM integration and analytics. Because these solutions are cloud-based, they can be used by a variety of customer support workers in different channels, including contact centers, back-office departments and on the floor of brick-and-mortar stores. For those companies pursuing business models such as BOPIS, there can be no gap in knowledge between contact center-based support, self-service and the brick-and-mortar customer experience. Inevitably, the lack of a properly designed cloud contact center solution to tie all these formerly disparate elements together will lead to a flat response from customers, at best, and active harm to customer relationships, at worst.  

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