The retail industry is more dynamic than ever and retailers must evolve to keep up with today’s consumers. Most organizations are in some state of digital transformation. Close to 90% of companies are realigning technology and business models to more effectively engage digital consumers at every touch-point in the customer experience value chain.
Retailers that don’t embrace this digital transformation will fail to achieve winning marks in the game of customer experience needed to earn and retain customers.
1. The e-Commerce landscape has changed
Once an open field where anyone could participate, online retailing has grown-up into a professional sport for professional marketers. Our stakeholders, who once told us that we needed to be online at all costs, now want to see return on marketing investment (ROMI) analysis for the significant items in the marketing mix. It’s no longer just our online channel but it’s also the source of customer knowledge and wisdom that has a huge strategic value to the organization.
Today’s e-Commerce brands are using many tactics to impact results such as: PPC/SEO, UX and site redesign initiatives, 3rd party site add-ons, and testing and personalization solutions. This can lead to a lot of chaos in terms of staying coordinated and being able to see the results from each initiative and the learning about customer preferences. Knowledge about what is working for customers and what isn’t can make all customer interactions more valuable when applied to the larger digital and marketing strategy.
2. Digital strategy is being subsumed by larger CX strategy
As many retail brands got started with e-Commerce, they built separate teams to manage the online business. That was before web and mobile became the way brands engage with their consumers.
Retailers looking to create a more unified customer experience are now integrating those teams into the larger marketing, CX and digital intelligence strategy. Who in your organization owns the larger digital strategy?
3. Marketers need to measure the business impact
One of the cornerstones of modern marketing is being data-driven. That means we have to understand what we are putting in and what we are getting out. To run our marketing with financial rigor we need a site-wide, end-to-end way of measuring the impact on results for our marketing initiatives.
Armed with the ability to identify directly measurable revenue results, we can use return on marketing investment (ROMI) as a method for prioritizing the marketing mix. It’s a straightforward indicator that represents the money multiplier effect of our marketing investments. How much revenue we get divided by how much we spend on the initiative. There is a kind of rule of thumb that suggests a ROMI of 5X or more is worth consideration and 10X is a home run.
In an effort to improve performance, retail sites have become chock full of 3rd party applications such as: product recommendation, reviews, security badges, live chat, etc. It’s important to understand which business partners are producing results and which ones might be hurting results.
4. Encouraging innovation through experimentation
Technologies are available that free digital marketers to experiment with site treatments without having to wait for IT to make physical changes to the website. This creates a much more accessible canvas to try out new ideas and measure the results, and it speeds up the innovation cycle.
Rather than periodically launching significant site redesigns with the hope of improving results and addressing all known issues, the most sophisticated marketers are innovating by evolving their sites methodically over time. By choosing to only permanently implement well-tested optimizations that have been validated by user behaviors to consistently produce better performance.
5. New thinking vs old
The traditional cost avoidance or reduction IT attitude is too focused on making what we are doing now more efficient. It lacks the customer-centric attitude that helps us focus on increasing the value of the customer experience and how that translates to improvements in results.
6. Data as a strategic asset
Another aspect of new thinking is that the web is the greatest usability lab in the history of mankind. It tracks everything about users and their preferences; allowing you to connect the dots with customer insights. For example, knowing that a particular value proposition is improving results might be of great value to the product team, to consider product packaging or display. It also should be shared with the demand generation team for use in pay-per-click ad copy or marketing emails.
The retail industry is being recast by the way that the web and mobile have altered consumer behavior. Now is the time for e-Commerce brands to evolve to keep up with consumers.