While the success of any product is a cross-functional effort, the onus of laying out the product vision with clarity lies upon a product team. Product owners, product managers, product leaders work behind-the-scenes to analyze the market and come up with a unique value proposition for a product that serves a particular customer need. Needless to say, their roles are highly critical to the organization and their job is definitely not easy.
In this episode of One-to-One, we asked Gerd Eberhardt, Head of Product Management at NTS Retail, to share some exciting insights on the various aspects of product management in retail and how this role has evolved in the post-COVID era.
NTS Retail is a smart commerce and retail management software for telco operators and specialist retailers. Headquartered in Austria, the organization helps telco retail brands across 23 countries to optimize their daily retail management, store operations, and fulfillment processes.
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Initially, when the pandemic reached its peak in most countries, the actions taken on the part of telco retailers were dictated by the restrictions put in place by the government. But now, with restrictions easing in most places, retailers should start thinking about a long-term plan to improve the shopping experience. Map out the peak timings to avoid crowds and make provisions to channel store traffic more effectively. These kinds of measures will help retailers make the in-store shopping experience safer as well as convenient for the customers.
Tools that help you minimize direct contact between your teams and customers and make one-to-one interactions safer are going to be key moving forward. The strategy should not be to substitute human interactions with technology but to use technology in a way that lets you automate the process to make retail conversations safer and easier. Solutions like self-service kiosks will make the process of retail interactions less cumbersome for employees as well as customers, ultimately improving the in-store experience.
Those who lose sight of what is best for the customer inevitably fall behind. Work as closely with customer-facing employees to develop a closer understanding of the customer pain points and keep getting regular feedback from them. Your products and services should be not only easy to use for customers but also easy to handle and explain for your employees.
“When it comes to product development, alignment is key. It is not a good idea to build a new product behind closed doors. Product development should happen after taking into consideration all the feedback from the side of customers as well as employees.”
Though the concept of an omnichannel strategy is not new, a vast majority of telco retailers are yet to wake up to its benefits. Customers interact with brands, not with a particular channel of the brand. They expect the same seamless customer service across all channels, irrespective of the first point of contact between them and the brand. Retailers need to invest in unifying customer interactions without differentiating between channels.