Author: May Arevalo

Meeting Consumer Expectations – How Prepared Are You?

Meeting Consumer Expectations - How p

Meeting Consumer Expectations – How Prepared Are You?

What consumers want [and don’t want] and how prepared are you to meet their demands?

Contrary to reports of retail’s eventual death, the National Retail Federation’s “The State of Retailing Online 2018” study reveals that:

  • More and more stores open than close
  • Investments in omnichannel optimization remains high
  • Mobile retail success continues to climb

In terms of value chain innovation, Deloitte’s “2018 Retail, Wholesale and Distribution Industry Trends Outlook” gives retailers ideas on which technology trends to invest on:

  • Internet of Things (IoT) to provide consumers with online access to their store inventories and reserve orders for purchase or pickup.
  • Digital supply and demand networks for time frame reduction and cost-efficient deliveries.
  • Augmented, virtual, and mixed realities (AR, VR, and MR) for the creation and provision of highly immersive and engaging experiences.

A lot of doors are opening in the retail industry and it could only mean more new products in the market and a much tougher competition ahead for businesses. But no one is complaining; not even the consumers. In fact, with eCommerce sales projected to reach $4 trillion USD by 2020, it’s as if consumers are telling businesses that they’re willing to spend… on one condition: give them what they want.

But before giving them what they want, it’s best to first identify their pain points.

What Consumers Don’t Want

Branding expert, Helen Edwards, shares that there are seven distinct emotions visible in the human face and five of those are negative: anger, fear, sadness, disgust and contempt. And you definitely don’t want any of those to be associated with your brand when they visit your site.

According to Corra, consumers’ biggest pet peeves on ecommerce sites are:

  • 41.2% Poorly designed menu; lack of subcategories for key merchandise
  • 29.8% Too-basic search; no filters for advanced searches
  • 26.4% Products are buried behind too much branding

So, if you can eliminate these pain points, you’re on track to excellent customer experience provision.

What Consumers Want

According to MineWhat, consumers today perform the following online before making a purchase:

  • 81% research
  • 61% read product reviews
  • Check at least three ecommerce sites

What are they looking for? Information, information, information!

But of what sort? A National Retail Federation (NRF) study reveals that consumers don’t just aimlessly browse online; they actually look for something specific to buy and they want to find it quickly. That means before they type anything on the search bar, they already have an item in mind.

The same study also found out that 79% of consumers also factor in overall experience in determining whether or not they’ll buy from a brand or retailer – and how often. Central to that desired or expected experience are painless return policy, free shipping and credit card security.

So, how to cater to today’s consumers? The Nielsen Norman Group recommends to design for 5 types of e-commerce shoppers:

  • Product-focused.This group know what they want and are ready to buy once they locate the product. Speed is this group’s primary focus.
  • Browsers.They have time to kill and they’re spending it on your site. The key to this group is to be presented with what’s hot and what’s new.
  • Researchers. These guys have been to at least two sites before yours or even if you’re their first visit, they will definitely go elsewhere to gather more information. The key to this group is trust.
  • Bargain hunters. Definitely price conscious, this group are on the lookout for sale, promos and best buys. So, if you have such offerings, display them prominently on your site.
  • One-time shoppers. More often holding gift cards, these guys have no intention of coming back to your site after the purchase. Ensure a good experience by not requiring account creation before purchase.

Quiz: How ready are you to give your consumers what they want?

Giving consumers what they want starts from within. The following are some questions you can ask yourself to determine your readiness in providing your consumers with information they need:

  1. Do you struggle with maintaining your products when your product data requirements increase (e.g. rapid and constant product description updates, price and document version edits, etc.)?
  2. Is it difficult to localize your product information for different markets?
  3. Do people in and out of your organization have a tough time sharing or accessing up-to-date product information?
  4. Are you using multiple spreadsheets to manage your product information?

Do you nod at many questions? Then it’s high time for your to consider using a product information management solution (PIM). A PIM is foundational to building great product experiences.

Learn More About PIM

4 Essentials For The Delivery of an Excellent Product Experience

4 Essentials for the Delivery of an Excellent Product Experience

Excellent product experience delivery goes beyond ensuring core product satisfaction. Imagine buying one of the popular smartphones out there only to discover later on that it has poor customer support and an even worse return policy. The product itself may be good, as it’s popular after all, but if its ancillary services are a hit or a miss, what’s stopping you from switching to the better brand and leaving a bad review?

Product experience, then, is the customer’s emotional response to the product at every touch point. To excel in product experience, brands must elicit a positive emotional response from consumers each time they interact with a product at every touch point.

How to Get Started:

1. Identify your target’s pain points. To manage experiences, you must first manage expectations. And what consumers expect from ecommerce sites boils down to:

  • UI/UX optimized
  • Accurate and complete product information
  • Unlimited selections or assortment of products
  • Personalized offerings
  • Availability of reviews and ratings
  • Shopping convenience, including flexible payment schemes
  • Discounts and promos with loyalty reward offers
  • Free delivery and pick up options
  • Painless return policy

2. Build a technology infrastructure that can support your content creation and distribution strategy. Top brands implement the concept of product experience management (PXM) to distribute relevant and targeted content at the best times and to the precise targets in order to: deliver the desired experiences and elicit positive emotions, build a relationship with customers and eventually inspire loyalty and expand market share.

According to Gartner, a PXM adds the following capabilities to a product information management solution (PIM):

  • Product content analytics
  • Personalization
  • Contextualization
  • Automation and optimization using machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI)

3. Create Compelling Content. As with customer experience, the great differentiator for brands in ecommerce is content. Top brands not only address shopper pain points, but work to exceed their expectations. So, through rich and contextual content, you could communicate, engage and build a relationship with consumers, hoping it eventually leads to not just sales, but even endorsement and loyalty. Note, though, that what’s compelling for one may not be the same for another, hence the rise of personalization. By doing a demographics and psychographics deep dive, you could create content that anticipates and addresses a consumer’s particular need, and then position yourself as the credible solution provider.

For more inspired content, you can checkout Warby Parker’s and Airbnb’s websites.

4. Use Analytics for Insights. Brands need insights into their product content performance to come up with tweaks and improvements that could drive consumers deeper into the sales funnel. With analytics, you could also see associations and affinities between your products and customers.

Not only that, by leveraging your operational and transactional data, you could make better business decisions, such as how to:

  • Best respond to rapid changes in market conditions
  • Adjust pricing
  • Improve market segmentation
  • Address seasonal demands

Now You Know the Essentials, Do You Have the Tools to Start?

By using a combination of features and advanced technologies that facilitate not only the on-boarding, enrichment and management of data, but one that can also help you create targeted, contextual and emotionally-engaging product communication.

  • PIM – It’s the foundational piece to a PXP. With a PIM, you can collect, maintain and distribute accurate, complete and consistent product information across all channels. This is important because when it comes to e-commerce sites, consumers expect accurate and in-depth product information.
  • Master Data Management (MDM) – This solution allows you to accelerate business processes by connecting all data in your product information supply chain. An MDM also helps you ensure data quality and security, create golden records, and control versions.
  • Marketing Experience Management (MxM) – The perfect complement to your PIM and MDM, an MxM enables you to exceed consumer expectations through timely delivery of personalized product experiences across channels. With an MxM, you can offer dynamic promotions and adjust them in real-time based on insights gathered from analytics.

5 Customer Experience Trends to Watch Out For in 2019

People are people. Meaning, they live and breathe emotions, and no matter which environment or age they find themselves in, feelings will be involved in their decision-making. This is an undeniable reality across industries, hence, the dominance of customer experience on trend lists in the past five years. It’s a top trend that doesn’t seem like it’s going away anytime soon, as evidenced by 81% of marketers saying they’re expecting to compete solely on the battlefields of customer experience in the next couple of years.

So, as 2018 draws to a close, what are the customer experience-related trends to watch out for in 2019?

Rise of Insights-Driven Organizations

With all the available technology to capture and process data, only 10% of organizations are insight-driven. But that’s about to change, as insights-driven businesses are posed to steal $1.2 trillion worth of revenue in 2020. According to Forrester, these disruptors of disruptors have a clear set of goals, which are to win, serve and retain customers. Pioneers of which are Google, Baidu and Netflix.

Key capabilities of an insight-driven organization:

  • Democratize insights or the ability to not just make insights available across the enterprise via an insight database, but also disseminate and transmit them fast.  
  • Experiment or continuous and iterative learning mindset. It’s a culture of testing and development that is essential for growing and future-proofing the business.
  • Close the loop or ability to hear and rapidly act on customers’ feedback.

Steady Climb of Automation and AI/ML in Industry Transformation

The groundwork for automation and artificial intelligence/machine (AI/ML) have been set and early adopters are already seeing positive results in terms of revenue and profit. May it be at home or in the workplace, IDC said that 75% of workers have interacted with at least one AI/ML built-in application in 2018 (e.g. Siri, Alexa and Slack/Skype chatbots). In 2019, these AI/ML interactions are expected to level-up to intelligent digital assistants. IDC also predicts that it’s about to move to mainstream industry-wide use to the tune of $77.6 billion worth of spending in 2022.

3 uses of AI/ML across industries:

  • Robots in retail/hospitality. Softbank’s humanoid-robot Pepper has been test-deployed all over the world to see how businesses can use this AI-powered assistant to serve customers. During its test-runs, Pepper had been a concierge for dealership customers, a hotel check-in assistant, and more. A store in Palo Alto tech shop reported a 70% increase in foot traffic in the week that Pepper was there. In 2019, Amazon is launching its own version, “Vesta”, which might be an evolution of Alexa.
  • Predictive analytics in manufacturing/supply chain, medicine/healthcare and fashion/beauty. Google attempted to predict the likelihood of a patient’s death using 200 thousand patients and more than 46 billion data points, and came away with an astonishing 95% accuracy. Top makeup brand, Shiseido, used ML to find out what customers might want next and offer truly personalized recommendations. In manufacturing and supply chain, the potential of predictive analytics is enormous. It’s a landscape projected to be worth $9 billion by 2020, as it opens up opportunities in the areas of demand forecasting, pricing, maintenance and after-sales optimization services.
  • Cognitive intelligence in energy/mining. To ensure seamless autonomous operation and minimize guesswork in port scheduling, transportation, drilling and planning, these industries use cognitive computing. Using an airplane cockpit-like platform, a machine operator gets cues from a system that learns actions and gives real-time feedback.

Not Cloud Overhead, but Everywhere

The projected global public cloud spending for 2019 will reach $200 billion, as enterprises race to upgrade their processes and mine insights out of their piles of accumulated data. According to Forrester, cloud computing will be the foundation of future enterprise applications, as businesses strive to deliver compelling product and customer experiences.

Top cloud trends:

  • Hybrid/multi-cloud solutions. Businesses are learning that the best cloud solution is a blend of public and private, or as 85% of enterprises prefer nowadays, a mix of at least eight clouds.
  • Integrated IaaS and PaaS. The growth of the infrastructure-as-a-service (Iaas), which is expected to reach $39.5 billion in 2019 is a direct result of enterprise digital transformation undertakings. But according to Gartner, the days of Iaas-only are numbered, as 90% of organizations that will be buying Iaas will expect providers to have it integrated with their platform-as-a-service (PaaS) by 2022.
  • Quantum computing. The race is on to come up with the best quantum platform to outdo the world’s fastest supercomputers. Industries such as financial, automotive, pharmaceutical, gaming and even government agencies are very interested in the potentials of this technology. Top players so far are IBM, Google and Microsoft.

Welcome Voice Search/Commerce

By 2020, at least 50% of all searches are going to be through speech, according to Andrew Ng, formerly of Baidu and Google. He also mentioned images, but voice search is fast gaining traction on mobile, especially among the 16-44 year olds. On top of that, the GlobalWebIndex Voice Search Report also revealed that 34% of Internet users are keen on buying a voice-controlled smart assistants.

Implications of voice commerce in marketing:

  • SEO. Google’s 2013 Hummingbird update uses context and intent/semantic and natural language in delivering results. It’s the perfect foundation for the inevitable rise of voice search. It’s, therefore, important for marketers to survey what their target is using voice search for, so they can adapt their voice ad strategy and content accordingly.
  • Hyper-local content. Voice searchers are mostly done on mobile, meaning searchers are on the go and intend to go somewhere close when they search. This is the perfect opening for local businesses to increase visibility according to proximity.
  • Customer experience. Smart speakers are expected to be in nearly 50% of American households by 2019. And as these AI-powered solution learns (it continuously listens), consumers’ experiences with it will be more refined, convenient and enjoyable. For now, 70% of consumers use it mainly to play music, 64% to listen to weather forecast and 53% to get random answers to random questions.

Crown “Video” King of Content

There’s no other content that businesses and consumers, alike, enthusiastically consume more than video, and by 2019, it will comprise 80% of worldwide Internet traffic. This is one of the most controversial trends in the last couple of years, when organizations, mostly publications, made a “pivot to video” influenced by Facebook metrics. But scandal aside, video has proven to be that special vehicle that brings brands closer to consumers through storytelling, evidenced by 93% of marketers using video to boost their campaigns.

Video effectivity by the numbers:

So, there you have it. Just five of the most noteworthy customer experience-related trends worth exploring in 2019. And as it’s a new year, it’s always an open door for your business to turn over a new leaf. With all the opportunities presented by new technology, it’s perhaps time for your business to try out something new. As Albert Einstein famously said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.

Customer Experience

Source: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/specials/people-at-work/6m2qd/article24697967.ece

The Product Experience Game: Gen Y and Z Edition

What makes these two priced digital consumer groups tick and what are they after?

Businesses have spent so many resources on studying Generation Y (a.k.a. Millennials, those born in the early ‘80s to 2000) due to their retail and economic impact. But just as they’re gaining ground in understanding this $600 billion demographic, they now must also keep their eyes peeled for its younger siblings, Generation Z (post-millennials, born 1996 and 2010), for their projected additional spending power presently at $44 billion annually.

While it’s tempting to lump Generations Y and Z together, as there’s not much generation gap between them, various researches reveal that their tendencies and motivations are actually quite different.

Where Gen Y and Z Part Ways

How these two generations turned out to be can be traced back to two major factors: the environment and the generations that nurtured them.

Generation Y were raised by baby boomer parents, while Generation Z are being raised by Generation X parents. Baby boomers are a hard-working and goal-oriented group, which placed so much value on their career that they’ve inadvertently raised optimistic-minded children in Generation Y.

Having achievers as predecessors (Boomers and Generation X) and growing up in a fast digitizing world, Generation Y is the most educated group in American history and so tend to want and demand more. Not only that, they also have a bargaining chip in their projected spending power possibly reaching $1.4 trillion by 2020.

Generation Z, on the other hand, were born in a world experiencing political (post 9/11) and economic (recession) turmoil. They were raised by Generation X parents, which according to Inc. make up the bulk of startup founders. For these reasons, Generation Z is more practical and pragmatic to the point of foregoing college in favor of entrepreneurship.

Presently, their spending money mostly still comes from their parents, but a study revealed that it doesn’t matter because they influence 93% of all household purchases. Not only that, come 2020, they will comprise 40% of American consumers, the biggest to date, hence, the need to get to know them up close and personal.

In terms of habits, as the true digital and mobile-native generation, Geny Y are far more attached to screens and have an even shorter attention span than millennials. They’re also aware of their older siblings’ “entitled” reputation and wants nothing to do with it.

In the workplace, Generation Y prefer a team and collaborative atmosphere, but Generation Z lean towards competition and individuality. Moreover, Generation Z prefer face-to-face contact rather than digital, unlike Generation Y.

Quick Insights into Gen Y and Z shopping habits:

References: CouponFollow, DanaCommunications, VisionCritical, Contently

References: CouponFollow, DanaCommunications, VisionCritical, Contently

Where They Come Together

These young demographics make up majority of the connected and “always on” generation, and so gravitate towards online entertainment.

Quick Insights into Gen Y and Z entertainment habits:

References: Lab42, VisionCritical

They’re both well-informed and they love interacting and sharing experiences through various social platforms. They also champion social activism, uniqueness and authenticity and so tend to rally around real people “influencers” more than celebrity endorsers. In terms of shopping, both surprisingly prefer to shop offline or in-store and are price-conscious.

 How to Effectively Market to Gen Y and Z

 With a combined spending power of $350 billion presently to 2020, it’s imperative for businesses to meet these groups where they live, work and play. And since they’re glued to their mobile devices wherever they may be physically, the marketers’ focus should be on the creation of engaging, worthwhile and platform-specific mobile experiences. Luckily, they don’t have to dig far and deep, because, according to a recent research, they basically lay themselves open, so businesses can create and build the experiences they want.

Gen Y and Z want a mobile experience that:

  • Surprises and challenges
  • Is consensual and contextual
  • Reflects and aligns with their taste, activities and/or location
  • Gives them a sense of self-determination
  • Has content they can act on now and save for later

How to lure them in-store?

Retailers must shift from a product to an experience-centric approach. They must recognize that the future of shopping lies in the individual and collective experiences of these consumers throughout their journey. To lure Gens Y and Z into the store and engage them, businesses can leverage video technology trends such as AR/VR and 360-degree — which are great vehicles for gamification. They can also employ value-adding strategies such as diversified payment methods, engaging rewards programs, convenient delivery and/or pick-up options and painless return policy, to build a relationship with these demographics.