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Article 5 min read

Top 3 things retailers are missing in digital CX

How can retailers create personalised customer experiences online? And what do you need to know to keep up with your customer expectations? Read on for our top tips.

By Erin Hueffner, Staff Writer

Last updated November 2, 2023

Change is the only constant in the retail service industry. That’s certainly been true in the past several years, when a record number of customers flocked to online channels to do their shopping. Almost overnight, retailers big and small had to adapt to a whole new way of serving their customers digitally.

For retailers to compete in today’s crowded market, they need to create excellent customer relationships in all the places people shop—online and in brick-and-mortar stores.

In our CX Accelerator report, we surveyed almost 5,000 CX leaders on what it takes to scale new heights in customer experience. Below, we unpack key takeaways from the report and explore what retail “Champions” are doing to win in CX, so you can go from a retail Starter to a retail Champion.

1. Leading retailers create more personalised CX than their competitors

As stores closed their doors during the pandemic, opportunity knocked for savvy retailers online. People still wanted to shop while they were in lockdown, and they did it from their smartphones. That put customer experience in the spotlight—a poor experience was likely to drive customers away. So, retailers quickly learned that delivering an excellent customer experience is key to creating brand loyalty.

But that’s the bare minimum. Customers want personalised service from the companies they shop with—and they’re okay with sharing their data if it means you’ll deliver it. Our latest CX Accelerator report found that 70% of consumers now expect a conversational service experience with companies. That means retailers need to create tailored, personalised conversations at scale, across all support channels. Retail Champions report using more tools than Starters to get 360-degree views of customers, but this information must be integrated because data fragmentation hinders seamless CX.

Customer story: is the United States’ largest online retailer for receiving, buying and learning about wine. The company leverages Zendesk to drive loyalty with personalised service to its customers through an omnichannel approach. Agents can log in and see customer profiles, including past purchases and customer status.

Visitors to the homepage are greeted by a wine expert via live chat. These non-commissioned wine connoisseurs are dedicated to helping customers select the best wine for their personal taste and needs, a truly specialised service given the 15,000+ wines available.

Despite 23% annual growth in support tickets, agents drove an impressive 55% decrease in first reply time along with a 91% CSAT score, which means is able to drive loyalty with personalised experience—efficiently and at scale.

“Our goal is to ensure that agents can access as much customer data as possible. We love Zendesk because their API allows us to explore ways to get customer data in front of agents in ways that create a smoother, more personalised experience.”
Addie Wallace, director of brand marketing at

2. Leaders create more personal conversations with humans and automation

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Customers expect a relationship with their favourite brands. One of the best ways to create good experiences is being where they want to talk to you: on their messaging channels of choice. Sometimes, they have simple questions (like “Where is my order?”) that could easily be solved with a chatbot rather than a human agent. Not only does that keep customers happy, but it also helps your team gain back time to handle trickier questions.

And if you’re not using chat, you’re already falling behind. Our latest CX Accelerator report found that Retail Champions with chatbots resolved 52% more enquiries without human involvement than Starters.

Customer story: Tile

The Tile support team prides itself on its human-first approach to CX. However, during the holiday season, the Tile team struggled to maintain their exceptional customer experience while managing dramatic inquiry increases. Tile partnered with Ada and Zendesk to help scale their growing support enquiries. Ada's intelligent, conversational AI bot enabled Tile to help more customers more quickly—securing more conversions and generating more revenue.

“With the Zendesk and Ada integration, we were able to not only save costs on seasonal headcount, but we were also able to see revenue growth from customers who were being served at faster rates.”Justin Michaud, senior manager of customer support at Tile

3. Rethink the role of CX to drive profit

No one talks to your customers more than your customer service agents. They know what customers are asking about, what bothers them about your products, and even what time of day they’re most likely to contact you. Each interaction is an opportunity to do more than just solve customer problems. You can also create profit.

Retailers that take a proactive approach to customer service have a chance to turn customer service into a profit centre. By integrating your marketing and ecommerce software with your support platform, you can empower your agents to make customised recommendations. If a customer wants to make a return, for example, your agents can see past purchases and size preferences to recommend a different product.

This upsell opportunity can generate revenue and customer satisfaction. And the success story is in the numbers: Our research shows that 11 times more Retail Champions than Starters enjoy a significant impact on sales success resulting from CX and sales data integration.

Digital CX isn’t a trend. It’s a retail revolution.

Delivering great customer experiences takes more than greeting customers at the door—it requires reaching out across the digital divide. Take your retail strategy to the next level by investing in your digital experiences. Your customers will reward you for it.

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