Tag Archives: customer experience
I found a truly cringe-worthy article today that shows what popular websites looked like more than a decade ago and what they look like today. Looking back to what was cutting-edge in 1996, or even 2006, is as bad as fingernails on a chalkboard compared to the modern homepages of popular sites today.
These websites are still well-used today, staying with the times and leading the way we design digital experiences. The key was change over many years of research and understanding of user experience. These sites stay modern, adapting to different web-enabled devices and experiences that the end user will encounter. Common among them are beautiful imagery, clear calls to action, and a sophisticated understanding of what people want on a homepage.
Can you imagine if any of those sites had stayed the same and never changed? We would not be using them today if that were the case. Their popularity would wane. Change is never easy, but it is usually necessary to stay relevant.
Web designers in 1996 could not imagine what the internet would be like in 2015, although they would probably agree there was a lot of potential. A modern equivalent is the implications of big data throughout the enterprise.
Data-driven marketers today are wondering how they can gain insight from big data. The answer? The ability to change is the connection between big data and insight. Data-driven marketers today know that their roles are changing: 68% of marketers think that marketing has seen more changes in the last two years than it has in the past 50 years, according to a recent survey. The changes are due to a renewed focus on customer experience within their jobs, and the need to use big data to improve that experience.
Big data should drive insights that change businesses, but is the real reason marketers aren’t sure about how to use big data tied to the change that it requires? Leading change in an organization is never easy, but it is definitely necessary.
What insights do you want from big data, and what value can you derive from them? If your reason for using big data is customer behavior insights, how will knowing how a customer behaves influence any changes in your approach?
The National Retail Federation recently reported that retailers say these are the three top reasons for using big data in a survey:
- Analyzing customer behavior (56 percent)
- Bringing together different data sources (49 percent)
- Improving personalization (48 percent)
What are your reasons for using big data?
Data-driven marketers can drown in too much information if they look at massive datasets without a question in mind that they want to answer. The question being asked often implies that a business must change to stay modern and relevant to its customers. Could concern over a need for great change be the roadblock to data-driven marketers who could be using data for valuable insights?
Big data has gotten a lot of buzz in the last few years. Data-driven marketers can move the big data concept from fuzzy, unrealized potential to a major part of how their business operates successfully.
Learn more in this white paper for marketers, The Secret to a Successful Customer Journey.
In my point of view, heavily influenced by the customers and analyst I am meeting, these 5 trends are impacting omnichannel commerce for better personalization and customer experience in 2015 and beyond.
- Issue of the informed purchase journey: A Google study (*Google ZMOT Handbook) shows that, on average, across all categories, shoppers use 10.4 sources of information to make a decision. This includes, among other things, watching TV ads, looking up manufacturer websites, talking to family and friends, reading reviews, and checking Amazon. Customers are increasingly visiting websites across multiple devices, and the final location where they make a purchase can be very different from the initial point of interaction. When do they have enough information to buy?
- Three levels of Trust : Customer expect three levels of trust – SOCIAL TRUST, PRODUCT TRUST and BRAND TRUST. Social trust: means what do my friends recommend? Conversions go up by 133%* when trusted people recommend products. Brands and retailers can sell more with relevant information, including social data (aggregating and reusing). Sorry but this is again one more votum for tanking BIG DATA seriously. I believe customer-centric organizations are going to use a combination of data management and big data analytics to improve the quality and accelerate the business value of their big data projects. In particular, companies will apply these capabilities to greatly improve their ability to acquire, retain and grow their customer share of wallet with more personalized marketing. For example, one insurance company we work wants to better understand their customers, household and prospects through real-time customer and prospect profiling on Hadoop. This data management and big data analytics initiative will improve their marketing campaign effectiveness by targeting specific people with relevant offers. They will be able to answer questions such as:
- How many of these people are customers vs. prospects?
- Who else lives in this household?
- Which products do they already have?
- What relationships do they have with other customers, beneficiaries, prospects, agents?
- Which offers have they responded to that we sent them in the past?
- What life events, changes to address, income or employment have they experienced?
- Which customers are likely to churn?
Product trust: which products shall we offer for which price? Or the customer wants to know if he buys the latest version of the digital radio or the cable. Companies need quicker insights for taking decisions on their assortment, prices and compelling contentr and for better customer facing service.
Brand trust: the brand experience is so important. Brands and retailers need to be more efficient when creating market ready products, with videos, content and all what creates emotions.
3. Store fulfillment & in-store experience will become a big investment area, and retailers will look to omni-channel solutions that can provide provide transparency into inventory to help manage customer expectations. Use the store as warehouse and ship from the nearest store. The use if digital devices and information panels will gain much more attention. Gartner predicts that by year-end 2016 more than $2 billion in online shopping will be performed exclusively by mobile digital assistants.
4. The mobile conversion: revenue spend on mobile is growing. Forrester Research projects sales from consumers shopping on mobile phones will increase to $38 billion this year and sales from tablets will hit $76 billion, or about $114 billion in total in the US. Most Online Shopping Still Happens on PCs. 95% of smartphone users say they’ve searched for local information. 90% of those users take action within 24 hours. 61% of smartphone users called a business after searching. 59% visited a local business after searching. But conversions on mobile devices need to be improved. With better and more relevant information – I call it commerce relevancy.
5. Virtual Reality is taking customer experience to the next level. Augmented reality was a first step, but I believe virtual reality (VR) will take it even further. I learned from my colleague Nicholas Goupil, that Samsung Gear by Oculus VR and similar products will change the game of gaming. What are the potentials for brands and retailers to enhance customer experience?
What are your expectations on 2015 omnichannel trends?
Let’s chat @benrund or face-to-face during NRF in NYC.
Did you know Harrods introduces more than 1.7 million new products every year? This includes their own labels, as well as other brands. Recently, Peter Rush, the Harrods Solution Architect responsible for product information, spoke at Informatica’s MDM Day EMEA in London. At the event, he said there are:
“so many things we want to do: Product Information is at the heart of most of them.”
As part of the customer experience program, Harrods identified product information quality as a key asset, next to customer information management.
The Product Information Challenge Harrods was facing included the following:
- A Lack of a single Product data store
- Inappropriate Product Data objectives
- Massive scale and volume of products and brands (1.7 million new products per year)
- Concessions and Own Bought
- Localized enrichment
- Media Assets all over the estate
While discussing his product information management project, Peter gave a great and simple example. He showed the product descriptions below and asked, “Who knows which two products these are?”:
- XX 6621/74 BLK VN SS TOP 969B S
- XX37066 L/BLU PRK FLAN SH 440B MED
Then, he solved the mystery. The answer was this:
- Black V-neck sleeveless top
- Light blue parker print flannel shirt
Turning vision into reality needs a joint business and IT project
Peter said, it is important to build a “flexible team to meet needs of each project stage, with representation from key business areas”. The team should include representatives from groups like: Merchandise Data, Buying Team, Web Team, IT, CRM and the Shopfloor Team. In addition to their Core Project Team, Harrods defined a Steering Committee and a group of selected Super Users.
Benefit summary: a combination of people, technology and process
At the end of the session, I was impressed by this graphic. This image sums up the essentials of product information management success. It is about the people, who are able to do the right things. It is about how technology enables automation. It is about the process which turns information into value.
Finally it is important to mention our partner Javelin Group is leading the PIM implementation at Harrods. Also Andy Hayler, analyst from The Information Difference, wrote an article for the CIO Magazine.
Since I joined Informatica over a year ago, I’ve received a daily stream of unsolicited emails from vendors selling “marketable user email/contact list databases” of myriad software and hardware technologies ranging from enterprise apps, business intelligence, Cloud computing, networking and infrastructure, etc. You get the idea – and I’m sure many of you experience a similar phenomenon on a daily basis.
My catalyst for writing a post about this is when I considered the relevance, transparency and quality requirements that data governance leaders strive for –and how these vendors seem to dismiss all of the above. (more…)
I attended Forrester’s Customer Experience conference a couple of weeks ago to get up to speed on how different companies are changing their processes and culture to truly put the customer at the center of their world. Concepts such as voice of the customer, the buyer’s journey, and moments of truth were tossed around like popcorn. The high bar set at the conference was to achieve empathy with the customer in order to deliver true customer experience innovations. Beyond such lofty concepts, there was also a lot of discussion about the underlying practical matter of gathering the relevant data about customers in order to build the knowledge and understanding essential to creating that empathy. (more…)
Customer experience is the interaction between an organization and a customer as perceived through a customer’s conscious and subconscious mind. It is a blend of an organization’s rational performance, the senses stimulated and the emotions evoked and intuitively measured against customer expectations across all moments of contact.
In layman’s terms, customer experience is simply how easily (or uneasily) a customer interacts with your company, or in this case, your ecommerce website.
Why is this such a big deal to retailers? Simple – if your customers absolutely hate browsing and shopping on your website, do you think they’ll continue to buy from you? Not a chance. And in today’s competitive market, you can’t afford to not give shoppers the best customer experience possible – because they’ll just go buy from a company that does.
So, how can you offer your customers an exceptional shopping experience? The answer is product information management (PIM)! Read on to find out just how a PIM system can improve customer experience…
Show me the product information.
Provide your customers with as much information as you can about your products.
Today’s shoppers research everything and are able to shop elsewhere almost immediately if they have any problems or doubts. They won’t go out of their way to find the answer to a question they may have, so you’d better make sure you have enough information for them to educate themselves and feel comfortable with the purchase they make. Don’t risk losing them by withholding important information!
How PIM helps: As you can imagine, managing and maintaining this much information for each productcreates quite a bit of work. A PIM system allows you to easily and efficiently manage all of this product data in one central location, then distribute it to all of your sales channels. Not only does this save you a lot of time and money, but it enables you to provide shoppers with even more information.
It’s all about the images.
Provide lots of high quality product images and videos.
The major drawback to shopping online is that consumers don’t have the ability to really see a product. They can’t try on a blouse, feel how soft a blanket is, or gauge the size of a sofa. Online retailers should help combat this by offering multiple images, or videos where appropriate, to give shoppers a solid idea of what the product really looks like.
How PIM helps: Media assets are managed within the PIM system and can easily be assigned to the corresponding product.
Everyone loves choices.
Recommend similar products or associated add-ons and accessories to make shopping easier for your web visitors.
Having a “You May Also Like…” section is a great way to help shoppers find exactly what they’re looking for, as well as cross-sell to them.
How PIM helps: Products can be easily categorized in a PIM system. Products that are in the same category may show up in a “Similar Items” section of your site, or items can be grouped to form complete “looks”. Instead of having to manually group these products together, they will automatically be displayed together, in every channel.
Enable quick comparisons.
Make is easy for people to compare similar products.
Everyone wants to make sure they’re purchasing the right product, especially when it’s a big ticket item where even the smallest different in specification matters. Make it easy for shoppers to compare similar items – they’ll appreciate it!
How PIM helps: As mentioned in the previous tip, a PIM system enables similar products to be categorized and displayed together. In this instance, the PIM would automatically display grouped items in a comparison chart (or however you choose to display the comparison).
Allow customers to review your products on your ecommerce site.
Including customer reviews on your product pages is a great way to establish a sense of loyalty and trustworthiness in your brand, as well as encourage customer engagement. When it comes down to it, shoppers are going to be more willing to trust another shopper over your sales-y product description. According to ratings company Reevoo, a shopper who reads reviews is 200-300% more likely to make a purchase than a customer who doesn’t read reviews, and 67% of customers trust reviews even more when they see both positive and negative ones.
How PIM helps: A PIM system stores all of your product data, including reviews, which can then be distributed to all of your channels.
Taking into account how crucial enjoyable shopping is to the overall online customer experience, I’d say these features are definitely something you may want to look into.
By improving customer experience, retailers will see their websites become much more engaging, interactive, and ultimately effective. This kind of environment encourages shoppers to spend more time (and money!) on your ecommerce site.
Our customer executives delivered some inspiring presentations at our recent Informatica World conference on how master data management (MDM) is enabling strategic business imperatives such as increasing revenue by making more relevant cross-sell offers, improving regulatory compliance with more effective reporting, and streamlining key business processes such as order-to-cash to improve the customer experience. A big thank you to all the presenters for sharing their stories!
These innovative companies are using MDM to better leverage their business-critical data about customers, products, channel partners, suppliers, employees and so on to do two things: 1) enable strategic imperatives or 2) solve pressing business problems. If you were at Informatica World this year, but were unable to attend these MDM customer sessions, you can get access to the presentations online by searching for these titles. (more…)