New Data Shines Light on Black Holes of Retail Customer Experience

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National survey from Square Root reveals key opportunities to fill the gap between customer expectations and experience

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Square Root, creators of CoEFFICIENT®, an enterprise SaaS platform that unlocks the power of data for the world’s leading automotive and retail brands today announced findings from a new study that uncovers the growing importance of the customer experience and the challenges retailers face in keeping pace with increasing customer expectations.

The national survey of more than 300 U.S. retailers explored brands’ approaches to customer experience strategy and programming, from ownership within the organization to the tools, technology and metrics used to gauge success. Among the findings, the study revealed that while 96% of retailers say customer experience is a core priority, 75% believe their organization has room for improvement. What’s more, despite 89% of retailers believing long-term success hinges on customer experience, nearly 40% of brands still lack ways to measure the impact of their efforts.

Keeping Pace with Increasing Expectations
Thanks in large part to the explosion of ecommerce, customer expectations are at an all-time high, with shoppers demanding fast and easy access to products and premium service, every time. In the age of Amazon, retailers are racing to keep up with fast-changing demands and increasing competition -- both digital and brick and mortar -- and many find themselves falling behind, with 78% citing keeping up with the speed of change and customer expectations as one of the biggest challenges they face today.

“As retailers are increasing their focus on customer experience, our study uncovers that finding success really starts behind the scenes,” said Chris Taylor, CEO of Square Root. “There’s an exciting path forward for today’s brands. With better alignment, collaborative action plans, and the right tools for measuring success, today’s customer experience pain points can easily become major opportunities for growth.”

Filling the In-Store Void
According to the study, 79% of retailers agree that physical stores are where brands really come to life, citing the in-store experience as the primary influencer of the overall customer experience. Yet, while retailers have countless ways to track and measure the online experience -- from click throughs to customer service transcriptions -- when it comes to understanding the experience in stores, the data available to retailers is nearly non-existent. In fact, nearly 50% of retailers say they have no way of measuring the in-store experience beyond sales, and 56% agree that their organization under-invests in collecting data about the store experience.

Coming Together: Teams and Tools
While customer experience tops today’s retail priority list, the study revealed that a fragmented approach to everything from strategy and execution to ownership, tools and technology is ultimately limiting the impact of today’s customer experience investments. Creating the foundation for that flawed approach, 44% of retailers say their organization lacks a clear, consistent definition of customer experience in their organization.

The study uncovered that across organizations, nearly every department -- from customer service to marketing to HR -- is working on customer experience initiatives. Despite this, 42% of retailers say their efforts are not well-integrated across the business, with nearly 4 out of 5 respondents saying there is room for needed improvement when it comes to sharing customer experience data and insights across the organization. With so many isolated initiatives, it’s unsurprising that retailers cited using an average of nine different tools to track and measure customer experience efforts. With 59% saying their organization has no single, shared tool for measuring success across the organization, retailers are left with a piecemeal view of both initiatives and impact. And while 78% of retailers agree that improved back-end tools and technology would help them better understand and improve the customer experience, technology investments are still largely misplaced, with 71% saying their organization continues to instead invest almost exclusively in flashy customer-facing technology like in-store touchscreens or interactive displays.

Retail’s pace of change and shopper demands show no signs of slowing, so the pressure is on for brands to deliver experiences that win customers and keep them coming back. But with improved alignment, clear definitions and metrics for success, and the right tools and technology, retailers can better bridge the gap between expectations and experience, unlocking incredible opportunities for growth and long-term success.

For more information and to download the full report for additional insight, please visit:

About Square Root:
Square Root unlocks potential for some of the world’s leading brands. Their enterprise software, CoEFFICIENT®, breaks through organizational silos, uncovers stores’ unique needs, and helps achieve business goals to improve customer experiences. Founded in 2006 and headquartered in Austin, Texas, Square Root has an award-winning culture, receiving recognition from both Inc. and Fortune Magazine as one of the best small companies to work for in the U.S. For more information, visit

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Molly George
Kickstand Communications
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