Enhancing the customer experience through data
The retail sector is always evolving, always changing. When eCommerce was first introduced, it completely changed how consumers purchase their favourite products. Now, innovative ideas such as voice commerce and AI are going even further to alter the way in which retailers reach shoppers.
However, what hasn’t changed is the need to provide a customer experience that is seamless and simple. In an era of increasingly squeezed margins and the undeniable threat of Amazon, brands must recognise that the customer experience is one of the few remaining differentiators of success.
What does the Future Shopper want?
Our own research recently revealed that consumers now place greater importance on price (64%) and free delivery (54%) over the brand (39%). For sales performance, this means having a great physical product, and a well-established brand, is no longer enough.
However, personalisation is a key way to boost sales and tempt customers to remain loyal to a brand. It is particularly important for mobile experiences, where consumers are typically time poor and will refuse to settle for an experience that is second best.
Amazon has done extremely well to build a loyal customer base by offering a service that is second-to-none. Its Echo and Go platforms offer customers the latest innovations, while Prime has revolutionised delivery so much that next-day delivery is now an expected part of online shopping.
The challenge for all brands is to ensure that every single aspect of the customer journey from click to brick is optimised for the individual customer.
Data is the lifeblood at the heart of the customer experience
Retailers often have access to valuable customer information, but they fail to make the most of it. Repeat shoppers are one of the main sources of sales in retail. But a brand will lose them in an instant if the insight about the customer experience is neglected.
A brand must use previous purchases to suggest tailored deals and products. The smart retailers will ask questions like “does a customer often pick next-day delivery?” If yes, they will then offer them a discounted annual delivery deal. Or “does a customer have a particular affinity for red clothing?” If so, the retailer will suggest a product from the new summer range that fits the bill. It is these simple decisions that can take the customer experience from average to unrivalled.
Prioritising the customer over the brand
It is important to remember that shoppers will always struggle with a retail service, whether it’s online or in-store, if it has been designed with the brand in mind, rather than the customer. Even if a customer journey through the sales pipeline is well planned, the experience they have along the way may still have serious friction points.
For example, we recently worked with a major mattress brand to transform their website from a product-centric experience, to a place where customers can come to understand the benefits of the product. We helped the brand discover what customers want when they search for mattresses online, and optimised their site to offer an exceptional direct-to-consumer online platform that drove sales.
Considering the rapidly changing retail landscape we work in, companies must always keep to the front of their mind, that what works today, might not necessarily work tomorrow. Ultimately, brands must be ready to evolve to meet the needs of the customer.