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The Power of Place: Leveraging Location to Create Phenomenal Customer Experiences

JordanWhitmarsh

After many years of being dazzled by digitally dominant online retailers, businesses with customer-facing assets in the physical world are starting to appreciate and exploit the very real advantages of place. Droves of brick/mortar firms are offering digitally enabled delivery, and doing it very well in many cases. Amazon itself has staked a claim in the storefront world with Whole Foods and Amazon Go. Banks, worried by the declining use of their branch offices in recent years, are starting to see their high-street presence as a brand asset and are considering options like turning them into business hubs, complete with hot desking areas for customers.

E-commerce platforms can provide a great customer experience, but they don’t let you feel or touch the product and get that immediate, physical connection to the brand. And they struggle to provide the reassurance and engagement you get through face-to-face interaction with a human being.

Customer experience is everything, and companies are looking for ways to unlock the power of place with new technologies to drive customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy. And it’s not just retail and consumer businesses. Any organization with buyers or clients who interact with other people in a physical space has an opportunity to shape that experience in ways that delight the customer, creating competitive advantage in the process.

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It’s a big world, after all

For those of us who spend much of our time in the digital world, it’s easy to forget that the physical world is much, much larger and more varied. It offers vast opportunities to drive contextual value, for groups of people as well as individuals.

A mobile digital service generally targets an individual at a particular point in time, with relatively low geographical context; when you’re buying something online, you’re engaging one-to-one with that company and your location (apart from your delivery address) may not matter. But as soon as that individual’s digital presence meshes with an intelligent venue that serves a community or groups – a museum, for example – all kinds of local value moments become available. Digital signage, navigation services to the bathrooms or the gift store, apps that provide loyalty rewards … they all deliver the kind of rich experience that drives patron engagement.

Or imagine the stress-free, efficient outpatient experience that a hospital could provide with the right technologies. As you drive onto the campus, a wayfinding app helps you locate a free parking spot. The system checks you in automatically and gives you directions to the clinic or facility you’re headed for. It provides live wait-time updates and wirelessly charges your device.

Or, at a higher user density level, imagine a smart sports stadium experience. As you walk up, the stadium detects your presence, tells you where the lines are moving fastest and starts sending you relevant digital content. It turns out that today, not many season ticket holders have come to the game, so the VIP bar isn’t getting as much custom as usual. The stadium knows you’re not a season ticket holder, but it sends you a notification: “You've been selected to come and join us at the Platinum Bar." A way to lift spending, maybe – but for sure, a way to make the fan feel special and the whole game experience more memorable. (Take a look at how HPE is partnering with Tottenham Hotspur Football Club to make their new venue the largest football stadium in London and the most technologically advanced stadium ever built).jordan customer experience blog.png

Spatial intelligence for exceptional customer experience

Another way to drive exceptional customer experience is by developing a better understanding of customer behavior. Analytics platforms can turn contextual data and information from sensors, customer relationship management systems and other systems into real insights about how visitors interact with the spaces they occupy. You can use that intelligence – on people flow, dwell time, occupancy, conversion rates and more – to better serve and advise customers. And you can do it while ensuring rigorous protection of customers’ privacy and compliance with data protection regulations.

Let’s say you’re a shopping mall operator, for example. With insights into people flow, you can identify bottlenecks in the facility and consider strategies to deal with them. Maybe you’ll need to do some construction to remedy an issue in the building itself. Or maybe you can work with what you’ve got, and put a concession stand or a coffee shop there. Whatever you decide, you’re using that spatial intelligence to create a smoother, more enjoyable experience for your shoppers.

Be a market innovator. Get started now.

HPE Pointnext can help you design and implement intelligent spaces and venues that can drive phenomenal customer experience and competitive differentiation. To learn more, visit our Mobility and Workplace Services Consulting webpage.

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About the Author

JordanWhitmarsh

Jordan Whitmarsh is a global solution strategist and digital advisor for HPE Pointnext. He focuses on helping customers accelerate their digital transformation journey in an edge centric, data driven and cloud enabled world.

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