The biggest challenge (and opportunity) that retailers face today may just fit in the palm of their hands – The Smartphone.

The challenge we see is two-fold: There are more than one billion smartphone users worldwide demanding an m-commerce experience and service that rivals what they’d get in person, but there is a shocking lack of customer service agents who are equipped to handle this demand.

A fundamental pivot has taken place in the retail industry. The new retail economy is no longer about leveraging in-store and online customer interest and transactions alone. It’s about monetizing customer interactions on every channel and every media. If you haven’t done your research lately to determine where your customers are, you’re already years behind. It is more essential now than ever before for retailers to understand their customers’ buying patterns and to have a team of agents to address them. They could be missing major revenue streams from channels they wouldn’t have given a second thought to.

At this week’s IRCE, we’re anticipating an interesting conversation around Retail’s Pivot Point – from a keynote by comScore’s Chairman Gian Fulgoni on the ways consumers are shopping today and what it will take for retailers to grab their share of the consumer wallet, to the trend of “maximizing the effectiveness of rapidly evolving, consumer-empowering interactive technologies and social media platforms.” These two topics only lend to an urgency for Internet retailers to now pivot (or go beyond) from e-commerce to multichannel commerce. Smartphones have placed every possible communications channel right in the customer’s hand, including phone, email, chat, social and, of course, SMS, yet retailers are still focused on in-store and website customer interactions. These are not to be disregarded, but rather integrated into a multichannel strategy and approach. It’s time to think differently. The question is, are you ready?

The good news is, with the right cloud technology and agent services team, you will be. Our portfolio of cloud-based customer service technologies and services allow brands to look beyond the “shopping cart” as the only channel for bringing in revenue. We’re creating more monetization opportunities through the growth in social, mobile and multichannel interactions with consumers, and we have a team of 20,000+ U.S. based independent contractor agents to support it.

Want to know more about how top retailers, such as Ideal Living, Tristar Products, Telebrands, and the top vacation-rental-by-owner site have accelerated revenue growth, improved customer experience and stayed ahead of the competition? Schedule a meeting with us at IRCE this week or stop by booth #212.

–          Marty Beard, President and CEO

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