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Customer Experience is King (1)

Why customer experience is not there yet, and how to get there quickly

What is wrong with Customer Experience?

That seems like a huge question, but the answer in most cases, is straightforward. What is wrong with Customer Experience is that it is most often not an experience. As described in several excellent articles on the topic: brands are looking for a transaction, not a discussion. While, when you ask customers, they openly explain that they value experience over the objects themselves. Retailers are starting to realize that this is already an issue and that the loss of traffic may be due to the disconnect between what consumers are looking for, and what the retailers have to offer.

Strategy and Concepts

Acknowledging that there is a problem, although necessary to its resolution, is not enough to deliver a solution. Searching for answers, some retailers look for an entirely different shopping experience and want to design a new concept, distancing themselves as far as possible from the current shopping experience offered. This action is dangerous for several reasons.

  •  Retailers risk alienating their existing customers base, without acquiring a new base fast enough.
  •  Creating an ultimate new shopping experience is not easy. There are some sound methodologies out there, but they draw from abstract notions difficult to visualize and implement.
  •  Last, but not least, an innovative concept is expensive, and some retailers, unfortunately, don't have the luxury anymore to invest in big, high-risk projects.

Experiencing the experience

How do you help Retailers design their shops of the future? The first step is to visit one of their stores. It is amazing how a shopping experience can be poorly designed, and how obvious it is when going through the motions. A shop visit will highlight all kinds of friction in the shopping experience, that will translate into small conversion, missed sales, frustration, bad brand perception, and loss of traffic.

Before and After

The shopping experience in the physical space is vital, and this is where brands must concentrate a significant effort. Physical retail has an edge on other players. However, the shopping experience most often starts before and continue after. So a complete consumer journey must include a chain of events, triggers and prompts that lead to a shop visit. Moreover, it must include a series of events, follow-ups, reminders and prompts that follow the store visit and prepare the next one.

Summary and analysis

Once a Retailer has a complete and exhaustive map of the customer journey, four types of opportunity can be explored: adding or removing steps, removing friction, adding prompts and collecting data.

  • Adding or removing steps may offer more variety and options to customers. Customers have higher demands for a personalize shopping experience; Retailers must look for a more a la carte experience than set menu.
  • Removing friction should be obvious, but the experience proves, time and time again, that many shopping journey were not designed for the customer.
  • Transaction value and customer experience ca both be improved by adding prompts along the journey. Customer will be happy to know that they qualify for a reward, a loyalty program, a special event, promotion, etc. Giving them prompts at  the right moment can lead to happy results for both parties.
  • Collecting data is a difficult task. Retailers must find a balance between asking for too much data, annoying customers, and degrading conversion ratios with not gathering enough data and just not knowing their customers well enough. Placing automatic and manual data collection carefully along the consumer journey is a good way to limit the marketing pressure and progressively build a relationship with customers.

We can help you

Shops of the Future experts help brands into the arduous task of analyzing their customer journey in a unbiased way. If you would like to understand how your customers experience their journey, please contact us through our contact form or on our homepage.

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