2016 has been the year of customer experience, or CX. This holiday season, retailers will feel the full effects of the omnichannel customer journey focus. Consumers expect a seamless path to purchase, regardless of device or location, and for retailers to compete with online giants like Amazon during the busiest shopping season of the year, brands need to deliver just that.
The secret to a speedy, user-friendly, m- and ecommerce experience is a fully integrated frontend-to-backend omnichannel configuration, but to achieve it retailers need to consider three key factors when preparing their channels – both on the front-end look and feel and back-end support functions – for the holiday rush:
The Customer Knowledge
Do you know who they are? Have they signed into your mobile web or native application? What percentage of customers are known versus anonymous? Consistent customer experiences across all touchpoints relies on knowing exactly who the customer is and personalizing the content to their demographics, buying behaviors and needs.
Targeting simply based on geolocation and time of day may have been enough last holiday season, but this year will revolve around individualized, personal journeys for each consumer. Retailers need to take a deeper look at the data they are collecting about their customers and where they can take action to deliver a more customer-centric and behavior-based experience. Without the deep understanding of customers and their shopping patterns, retailers will be flying blind when trying to create an experience that drives conversions.
The Consistent Experience
Although all retailers have been exposed to the term “omnichannel” by now, most have not mastered what it means to implement an effective omnichannel experience. Communicating and coordinating what experiences will be offered across the different touchpoints will let you identify potential areas of inconsistency. You will also want to ensure that any personalization or product recommendation tool is not specific to just one part of the experience, as you may spend unnecessary time and money creating a pieced-together and clunky UX. The look and feel of the experience is a large factor on the front end, but the back-end functionality plays an equal role in how the consumer perceives the overall interaction with the brand.
Not only does the customer experience need to be consistent, but the data you capture on a given user needs to be clean and consistently retrieved. Data must also be tied together across the silos of marketing, IT and operations to provide a complete view of the customer, and avoid issues of over-representing or under-representing customer behavior. If a user browses from one device and buys from another, it could greatly affect your interpretation of which experience is successful. Actionable data is invaluable to brands, but to ensure the data being collected is correct, testing omnichannel efforts before the onslaught of the holidays is key.
Retailers have to match the convenience and ease of Amazon, while personalizing and storing data to keep consumers coming back and the only way to do that is by creating a better end-to-end user experience that is driven by customer insights. Failure to deliver on this experience will mean leaving revenue at the door – revenue that Amazon will be happy to grab.
Justin Bougher is Vice President of Product for SiteSpect