Technology is expected to play its biggest role in this Black Friday’s customer shopping experience over any other prior holiday season. Iphones, Ipads, apps, etc. will all be luring customers with their special deals. If the technology is used smartly, it can enhance the customer experience and take it to a whole new level. Four critical factors that affect the “shopping experience” will be:

Looking through the lens of the customer – Even though technology can be very helpful to speed things through, typically when a problem occurs, technology in itself cannot solve the issue. A human being must become involved. Looking through the lens of the customer means identifying with his emotions first, then meeting his needs. This takes the automation out of the experience and brings the personal care and concern into the equation, which is what builds customer loyalty.

Everything Speaks – For those customers that come into the store, their experience will still be impacted by how it looks, smells, and feels. Organized, spotlessly clean, cool temperature, lighting, pleasant smells make an impression many times before the customer ever meets an employee. For those customers ordering by phone, wait times, voice mail trees, and easily navigated ordering sites will send either a positive or negative message.

Create a WOW – People will remember how they were treated far longer than they will remember how fast the line they were in moved. Customers want to feel valued, not processed. Employees must give eye contact, actively listen, identify with customer emotions, and show determination to help the customer, in addition to the use of whatever technology is being used.

Make Easy to do Business – The purpose for using technology should be to enhance the customer experience by identifying opportunities to streamline the shopping experience and make it easier for the customer to make and find the “right” purchases. By looking through the lens of the customer vs. the lens of the organization in designing how the technology should be used, will help keep the focus on the proper perspective.

Black Friday is a great opportunity to win new customers who with a great experience will want to come back after the holidays, and also an opportunity to reinforce the relationship with past customers to build stronger loyalty.

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