Customer needs in digital retail – after-sales

The after-sales phase is a central phase for the retail to ensure long-term customer loyalty. The perception that the consumer has in this section of his shopping has had a fundamental impact on his long-term loyalty. In the increasingly digitalised retail, the re-purchase is the phase in which the object is finally used and evaluated. It offers retailers the opportunity to intensify and strengthen customer relations through good service and targeted communication. However, some aspects that were particularly important to the focus group surveyed must be taken into account.


Complaint and return

The return of purchased goods is one of the most important factors for the long-term retention of consumers. However, despite positive examples such as Zalando or Amazon regarding online complaints and returns, the focus group found it too complicated and uncertain. The topic of goodwill on the part of dealers in particular caused uncertainty. While stationary debates can still be held in order to enable a complaint of the goods, this possibility is only partially available when purchasing via online channels. There is a risk of getting stuck on defective or incorrectly delivered goods.



The participants of the Fokus Group essentially divided the service offering of the retail sector into two dimensions. On the one hand, they saw the service that directly affects the products and is intended to ensure that they continue to function for a longer period of time. On the other hand, they wanted an “add-on service” from dealers, in which the functionalities of the product can be extended individually by additional functions or modules on request. Depending on the product category concerned, this service category represents an extension in cross-selling or up-selling form.


Feedback function

The last requirement in the after-sales phase is to offer a feedback channel of dealers to customers. No matter if you want to praise, complain or write a product review. Stationary retailers, similar to online retailers, have to use new communication channels to enter into dialogue with them via e-mail, social networks or other channels.

Small and medium-sized retailers in particular have a clear advantage in the after-sales phase. Thanks to their flexible business structures and faster service channels, they not only enable customers to receive feedback on all channels, they can also develop product enhancements in partnership with customers according to their wishes. This results in tailor-made services that win and retain the customer for you in the long term. In the opinion of the discussion participants, such offers in small and medium-sized retailers would represent a significant added value compared to monopoly retailers and would motivate participants to make their way into local shops or their virtual channels.


Conclusion of the trend research “after-sales”

The consumer needs identified in the Media Trend Research show that the digitalization of the retail plays a major role in the customer’s shopping experience. Not all channels of the Omnichannel Retails are equally suitable for meeting all consumer needs. Dealers must therefore carefully consider the priorities of their target group and which approach is best suited for their own segment.



Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker is an innovation profiler, future strategist and media expert who helps companies understand the opportunities behind technologies such as artificial intelligence for the next five to ten years. He is the founder of the consulting firm "Alexander Pinker - Innovation Profiling", the innovation marketing agency "innovate! communication" and the news platform "Medialist Innovation". He is also the author of three books and a lecturer at the Technical University of Würzburg-Schweinfurt.

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