ATLANTA, April 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- InReality, one of the country's fastest growing customer experience (CX) strategy and design firms, offers the industry a CX measurement tool to assess the gaps between brand promises and customer experiences—the Reality Gap Analysis. These gaps can directly affect a brand's bottom line. A recent Oracle study reveals that only 49 percent of executives believe customers will actually switch brands due to poor CX, while 89 percent of customers report that a negative experience caused them to switch brands.
"This type of disparity is just one of countless that contributes to what we have identified as a Reality Gap," says Gary Lee, president and chief operating officer of InReality. "Brands do a fantastic job of elevating the consumer's expectations. Unfortunately, those brand promises can swiftly evaporate with a few bad experiences in the retail space—a misinformed sales associate, a poorly designed or one-dimensional product display, or a malfunction at the point of purchase."
Brick and Mortar's Future Depends on Closing the Gap
Online retail sales have steadily increased year-to-year over the last decade, and Forrester Research predicts they will continue to grow in the U.S. at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 10 percent over the next five years. While e-commerce thrived, Apple, one of the most successful retailers in the last ten years, used a 'genius' approach to create an ownable, in-store customer experience. Conversely, retailers such as Radio Shack, Blockbuster and Abercrombie --and the brands they carry-- have been less fortunate.
Enter the Reality Gap Analysis, which delivers a quantifiable assessment of the gaps between a brand's self-perception and a customer's reality. The analysis is built from consistent field data gathered through various consumer touch points within the in-store experience. These touch points could include the retail sales associate (RSA), product display kiosks, digital interfaces, points of purchase, brochures and mobile interaction.
The methodology distills the perspectives of brand executives, retail sales associates and consumers to formulate answers to fundamental questions such as: Does the in-store presence meet or exceed the customer's expectations? Are RSAs accurately portraying the brand? Are product displays meeting the needs and expectations of customers? These perceptions are then visually mapped to clearly show the Reality Gaps, the differences between perceptions of brand executives and RSAs versus the consumer's reality.
Once the analysis has been conducted, InReality can then dive deeper to strategize and make retail space design recommendations to shrink gaps that have been revealed. Additionally, the company possesses the ability and resources to create and implement those designs and later measure their impact on a cyclical basis to refine and adapt as needed.
"In today's world, if you're not controlling the retail space, you're ignoring significant potential for revenue," says Mark Abbas, vice president of marketing and business development at InReality. "The point-of-retail is the one place in the customer experience where a brand can make the most difference. The days of simply having a presence in a retail environment are gone thanks to e-commerce. Brands must give consumers the kind of in-store experience that warrants getting out from behind the computer."
InReality has conducted the Reality Gap Analysis for brands in a variety of retail verticals, including Home Improvement, Kitchen and Bath, and Furniture and Bedding. To learn more about the Reality Gap Analysis, visit: http://www.inreality.com/what-we-do/reality-gaps/.
InReality is a customer experience strategy and design firm. For more than 18 years, InReality has helped its clients understand and improve how customers experience their brand by identifying and shrinking the reality gaps that exist between their brand's promises and their customer's actual experiences and expectations. Through a unique combination of strategy, design, execution and analytics services, InReality empowers its clients with measurable and meaningful results and builds stronger, more enduring relationships between brands and their customers.
InReality has worked with leading brands such as Tempur-Pedic, Simmons, The Home Depot, LP Building Products, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, Danze and many others. The company has appeared on the Inc. 5000 twice, most recently in 2013. For more information, please visit www.inreality.com.