Today your customer is in control. And “best price in town” just doesn’t cut it anymore. So how should retailers and brands manage these fragile relationships with their customers?
How should retailers go about maintaining consistency in an ever-changing landscape of devices and technology and elicit the most valuable thing of all – loyalty?
We’re all well aware that if retailers are serious about sales, their marketing focus has to move from selling to building relationships. Customers no longer buy things because they need them – they buy them because of how they make them feel. It’s not a customer purchase; it’s a customer experience. And how they feel about a purchase starts well before they click “Buy Now”.
A great customer experience, that is – the holistic experience of the entire customer journey, is proven to build stronger customer relationships, increase advocacy and referrals, foster loyalty, decrease frustrations and give you a competitive advantage while also boosting sales.
This all sounds good in theory, but how can you make your customers feel good? By putting them first.
Customer Experience: Putting the Customer First
If each visit to your brand is consistent in design, message, promise, and offers – then trust is born. If this trust is then nurtured by individual attention with smart personalised content and messages tailored to specific behavioural and contextual data, then a relationship is ignited. And if their experience of your brand is personal – free from friction, memorable, time efficient and makes them feel remembered and valued – then loyalty flows forth.
Luxury fashion brand Burberry has invested heavily in activities that foster personalised brand experiences. By asking customers to volunteer data through loyalty and reward schemes, they are able to offer tailored recommendations both online and in-store. Sales assistants can use tablets to offer buying suggestions to identified customers based on their buying history, their social media activity and the buying histories of similar customers.
To engage with their shoppers, Burberry’s social and engagement marketing includes a channel on Apple Music promoting British music artists, special in-store booths where customers can make TV ads of themselves alongside celebrities and Facebook “chatbots” to share updates, deliver customer services and even book Uber rides to the store. The company also leverages Snapchat’s Snapcode feature to deliver exclusive product and collection information. Such has been the success of Burberry’s investment in personalised customer management programs, that the company experienced a 50 percent increase in repeat customer purchases by 2015.
In addition to working on building individual relationships with millions of users across an ever-growing list of channels and devices, brands need to make themselves available for that “zero moment of truth” at which the need-to-buy and the decision-to-buy to buy collide.
Shortly after leading cosmetics brand, Dermablend, saw their promotional video “Zombie Boy” go viral, the company leveraged the sudden increase in interest in their brand by launching a YouTube masthead campaign, taking over the YouTube homepage for a day. Meeting their visitors at the zero moment of truth, Dermablend saw substantial increases in site traffic, subscribers and sales. They even saw Dermablend outpace Zombie Boy in searches for the first time.
So, the key is to be ready, to be listening and to be everywhere.
But how can you be anything if you’re not supported by the right technology? How can you analyse or get a clear picture of anything when your information is all over the place? How can a disconnected team of employees create a seamless customer journey? How can your message reach customers if it’s not already deeply ingrained in every corner of your business?
Customer Experience: Putting Yourself Before the Customer
Most companies have taken the trend towards customer centricity seriously and have specialists dedicated to social, web and mobile. For today’s customer-oriented organisations, the Net Promoter Score (NPS) is fast becoming a central KPI.
But trying to deliver consistency through disparate technologies each with its own content and data storage system can result in cumbersome integrations, inconsistent branding and silos of valuable customer data.
With messages going out and information coming in via so many channels, the concept of consistency is all but lost. Often customers aren’t remembered from one channel to the next, their journey is clunky and frustrating, and the lack of holistic thinking across all touchpoints is painfully evident.
By not tending to the root of the chaos, companies are overlooking their biggest glitch in the customer journey: themselves.
The digital world is a connected one, and to navigate it we need joined-up thinking, joined-up planning and the technology to match.
Not only has Domino’s Pizza Inc. invested millions in the perfect pizza delivery vehicles while testing drone and robot delivery, but with over half their orders being placed online and most of those via mobile, they now take orders through Facebook, Twitter, Twitter with emojis, Apple Watch, voice-activated, “zero click,” and their own wedding registry site. Some locations allow pizza tracking and others monitor self-pickups by GPS so the pizza is hot when the customer arrives.
But customer-facing technology only improves customer’s lives when the in-house technology is doing the same for your team.
Omni-Presance Requires Omnithinking
Retailers today need to focus on delivering content for multichannel (even omnichannel) consistency and ensuring that they have the right technologies in place to meet the demands of a multichannel world, such as a centralised hub where all content can be created and managed, and then pushed to any environment, channel, or device.
So creating amazing and holistic customer experiences means putting the customer first. But creating those experiences requires brands to take holism to a deeper level and consider themselves as being part of the whole. Only then will brands truly connect with their customer and be everywhere they want at any time they need; where they can find a brand time and time again. That’s consistency. That’s trust. That’s loyalty.