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Creating inspired experiences
Many retail brands have digital customer experiences that lag—they are (for a multitude of reasons) unable to adapt and evolve quickly. Some—especially brands without colossal budgets like Target and Walmart—can feel behind and constantly playing a game of catch-up to provide customers with the digital experience they expect.
If your digital customer experience strategy falls behind, or worse, remains stagnant, the hard truth is you will lose customers to competitors that are doing it better. You have to fully understand your customers’ digital experience and continuously address common pain points they are facing. And the only way to do this is to refine your digital customer experience to an always-on approach—one that provides real-time experience data and the agility to act immediately on that feedback.
Here we’ve laid out some digital customer experience best practices to help you refine your approach and elevate it to the agile, informative solution you need to drive meaningful change to your business and increase customer loyalty.
Keep pace with consumers’ rapidly evolving expectations of digital experiences
The first step to improving your digital experience strategy is to uncover gaps across all touchpoints of the customer journey. Focusing explicitly on the online customer experience is only going to tell part of the story—today’s customer journey covers a wider range of touchpoints than ever before and can constantly move back and forth between the physical and digital world.
To get a head start on bridging the gap between in-store and online satisfaction, brands can:
Are customers using your brand’s mobile app to avoid long lines at checkout? Do they shop online for large home furniture items, but desire in-store experiences for all the accent pieces? Cross-channel data details what drives shoppers to each channel during the customer purchase journey.
Did both online and in-store guests mention payment issues in their feedback? Multi-source text analytics can decipher common product mentions, recurring trends, and comment sentiment across touchpoints to identify emerging systemic issues—and triggered alerts can help you resolve problems as they arise.
Use what your brand already knows about customers to enhance their cross-channel experience. When you have the right data, you can do things like base rewards off favorite items, automatically suggest new products similar to previous purchases, or add a personalized “Recommended for You” section to your brand’s homepage.
With this holistic view of the customer experience, it’s easier to see what’s driving a wedge between touchpoints and track down the reasons for dissatisfaction so you can fix it.
Once you’ve pinpointed key areas to enhance the digital customer experience and have launched the necessary improvements, you must immediately leverage your experience management (XM) program to stay on top of the results. What changes are working well to address previous pain points? Where are you still falling short? Are new issues coming up you need to fix?
It’s also important to overlay deep industry expertise to create an understanding of impact and focus. Benchmarking against competitors can help you define opportunities to improve your comprehensive strategy and drive overall ROI—then you’re not just hitting a nail that’s sticking out the most but hitting one that is keeping the whole wall together.
This is an instance when silence is not golden. Too often brands make thoughtful changes to their experience management strategy but keep key players—from CX leaders to field teams—out of the loop.
Ensure information doesn’t live in silo. The way you share insights and how fast you share them matters. Providing direction on where to act to improve specific KPIs and alerting can help tackle issues quickly.
This is also a good time to listen to what your employees have to say. Launching an employee pulse survey helps brands gain enterprise-wide feedback on new digital initiatives by getting employee input and getting an “inside scoop” on the impact of implemented changes.
Refining your digital strategy shouldn’t be limited to a series of one-off efforts. The key word here is continuous. Your team needs to have an ongoing dialogue that answers these questions:
A self-serve solution to your XM strategy will help your efforts exponentially. With the right DIY strategy, technology, and support, you have more control over how you engage—creating smarter touchpoints, more relevant interactions, and richer insights. You can also determine targeting, collection periods, and when and where on your site you want feedback.
This need for self-serve approaches to fielding digital feedback will only keep increasing. Digital channels will continue to be a primary touchpoint for how customers and employees engage with brands—and those without an agile solution in place will get left behind.
Creating an agile approach to your digital customer experience strategy can feel daunting—but it doesn’t have to be. With the right support and systems in place, you can tailor the best approach for your brand—helping demystify customer intent, implement an action plan, and improve conversion, customer satisfaction, and loyalty.
To see an example of how one retail brand leveraged CX feedback to drive changes to its digital strategy—resulting in a 130% increase in comp sales—check out the success story: Tractor Supply Company drives customer satisfaction and sales growth through digital experiences.
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