Tag: customer experience

3 Outstanding Brands Delivering Great Product Experiences Online

[Blog] 3 Outstanding Brands Delivering Great Product Experiences Online

Product experience can be described as a consumer’s end-to-end encounter with a brand. Brands are interested in providing positive experiences to consumers because marketing data reveals that consumers behave a certain way when shopping:

  • 51% of shoppers use Google to research a purchase they plan to make online1
  • 48% of consumers say a brand’s website is their most trusted source for information2
  • 70% of customers consult reviews or ratings before making a final purchase3

Therefore, brands that want to get ahead must ensure that they give consumers what they seek no matter where they are in the customer journey. How, where and when should brands focus their efforts to deliver exciting experiences? Let’s look at how a sample customer journey might unfold. Typically, a consumer:

1)      Types a product on Google search or clicks an ad

2)      Gets redirected to the brand’s product page

3)      Scans the content

4)      Bookmarks the page (if they really like what they saw)

5)      Lines up the competitors for comparison

6)      Trims down contenders to two or three and reviews the products side by side

7)      Singles out the product that contains everything they need and more (more may be extra interesting information, discounts, freebies, promos, prestige, etc.)

8)      Decides to make a purchase

In this scenario, the product page plays a key role in convincing shoppers to make a purchase. It is where brands show their product’s appearance, unique features and how its benefits are something the shopper must absolutely have.

However, today the product page can’t make sales happen alone. It needs support from other sources that can provide key information such as ads, blogs and user-generated content (UGC) to name a few.

Now let’s take a look at three elite brands and the strategies they’ve used to deliver remarkable product experiences online.

1. Dove

Dove is ranked as the most relevant brand on the Household & Personal category in the Prophet Brand Relevance Index® (BRI); they’ve been holding this spot since 2017.4 Dove is known to leverage digital marketing campaigns to create social discourses and build communities, which help elevate the brand beyond its product lines.

A visit to their product page reveals why they are the top dog in the Household & Personal category. From product image, title, description and technical information such as ingredients and instructions, Dove provides visitors with all they need to know to decide on a purchase. Once a shopper clicks the “shop now” button, they get redirected to their local online stores. Dove has shown transparency and a willingness to engage with visitors by giving them the option to rate the product and leave reviews.

Sample product page:

sample product page 1 sample product page 2

The same accurate, complete, rich, relevant and up-to-date product information can be seen on marketplaces such as Amazon and retail outlets such as Walmart:

On Amazon:

sample product page 3

On Walmart:

sample product page 4

2. Casper

In 2014, Casper was a start-up that sold mattresses online and delivered them to customers’ houses in boxes the size of small refrigerators. Using a direct-to-consumer (D2C) approach, it disrupted the way people buy mattresses.5 During its first three years, the company was valued at more than $300 million and their offerings eventually expanded to include all sorts of sleep accessories such as sheets, blankets and pillows, as well as something for man’s best friend – dog beds, and more. Today, the company has 60 physical stores, 2,000 partner stores nationwide and has forever changed the way people buy beds and sleep accessories.

How did they pull it off? James Newell, VP at Institutional Venture Partners, which invested in Casper, said, “They [Casper] would tell you they’re not a mattress company, they’re a digital-first brand around sleep.”6

That means the content they produce isn’t just about selling Casper mattresses but also about inviting consumers to step into the fascinating world of sleep through scenarios and information.

Upon landing on their homepage, shoppers see the brand’s willingness to address their apprehensions regarding buying mattresses online. Casper made sure that consumers have choices and can try out the products with no strings attached.

Homepage:

casper sample product page 1

Since it’s an online brand, the company used smart content to position itself as the subject-matter expert on all things sleep. They focused on convincing people that it is normal, more convenient and safer to buy mattresses online. That’s a tough pitch considering brick-and-mortar’s stronghold on the mattress industry, but Casper was successful.

By employing a combination of transparency, fun advertisement, consistency, availability, subject-matter expertise and attention to detail, Casper has posed an existential threat to the traditional mattress players.

Transparency:

casper sample product page 2

Fun advertisement:

casper sample product page 3

Availability:

casper sample product page 4

Subject-matter expertise:

casper sample product page 5

Attention to detail:

casper sample product page 6

3. Glossier

It doesn’t happen every day that a beauty blog becomes a brand worth $1.2 billion,7 but that’s exactly what former Teen Vogue assistant, Emily Weiss, experienced with “Into the Gloss” (ITG) in 2010. The blog profiles friends’ and celebrities’ (e.g. Kim Kardashian, Victoria Beckham, Gwyneth Paltrow, etc.)8 beauty regimens, which gives readers a combo of authenticity and authority when it comes to makeup and skincare.

Blog:

glossier sample product page 1

The secret to Glossier’s success is word of mouth marketing (WOMM) by using a combination of UGC and product-focused content, which is genius considering that:

  • 74% of shoppers admit that word of mouth influence their buying decisions9
  • 92% of consumers listen to suggestions from family and friends over advertisements10
  • 88% of people trust online reviews by fellow consumers as much as they trust the people they know11

UGC (Reviews):

glossier sample product page 2

WOMM results in brand loyalty and trust, and on top of that creates a lot of buzz.12 By employing this strategy, Glossier is steadily growing a cult-like following across the skincare and makeup demographics. To date, the brand has almost 3 million followers on Instagram.

Instagram:

glossier sample product page 3

Key takeaways from these 3 brands:

  • All three brands use educational and trust-building content and relevant storytelling to create social discourses and build communities.
  • Over time, due to familiarity and trust, consumers are more inclined to buy their products, generate content for the brand and invite more to join in.
  • These brands also ensured that all the product information across their sales channels is accurate, complete, rich, consistent and up-to-date, especially on their product pages.

Some of these strategies are easier to implement than others. Putting all these together isn’t an easy feat, and brands need to have the right tools in place if they wish to succeed.  One solution that can help brands hit the ground running when it comes to ensuring their product content is engaging, accurate and consistent is a Product Information Management (PIM) system. A PIM is a centralized solution that helps brands consolidate, manage and enrich product data for easy distribution across multiple channels. With a PIM, brands can have the right processes in place and deliver the right product content to establish many of these strategies that will help them stand out to the consumers of today.

References

1 https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-strategies/search/product-research-search-statistics/

2 https://www.searchenginejournal.com/only-50-of-consumers-believe-search-results-provide-accurate-information-about-brands/325241/#close

3 https://www.shopify.com/blog/15359677-why-online-store-owners-should-embrace-online-reviews

3 https://www.marketingweek.com/mark-ritson-dove-real-beauty-campaign/

4 https://www.prophet.com/relevantbrands-2019/

5 https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/06/technology/casper-ipo.html

6 https://freakonomics.com/podcast/mattress-store-bubble/

7 https://www.forbes.com/sites/elanagross/2019/03/19/glossier-raises-100m-and-now-has-a-billion-dollar-valuation/#47f35554720d

8 https://intothegloss.com/tags/interviews/

9 http://www.adweek.com/digital/ogilvy-cannes-study-behold-the-power-of-word-of-mouth/?red=pr

10 http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2012/consumer-trust-in-online-social-and-mobile-advertising-grows.html

11 https://www.brightlocal.com/learn/local-consumer-review-survey-2014/

12 https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/word-of-mouth-marketing/#why-care-about-word-of-mouth-marketing

Five Reasons Why Customer Experience Matters Now More Than Ever

Five Reasons Why Customer Experience Matters Now More Than Ever | Contentserv Blog

The commerce world used to function using a different strategy, where businesses controlled which products they sold. They used to select and publish the information they thought would keep consumers interested and engaged, mainly through generic campaigns and advertising. Consumers, having little choice back then, bought into whatever businesses were offering.

All this changed when the digital era began.

Today, consumers have a world of resources at their fingertips. With a slew of new tools brought by the internet at their disposal, they are no longer passive, voiceless bystanders, waiting for a brand to hand them products they don’t need. This means that today’s brands face challenges beyond satisfying the demands of their consumers. They also compete for the fleeting attention of these modern shoppers—shoppers always on the lookout for something different or new.

Consumers now hold more power than ever before; they have started to transform the commerce world with demands for tailor-made, personalized content based on their unique needs and preferences. Furthermore, in the past, consumers were bound to availability, now it’s mostly a matter of choice, especially when they are no longer bound by geographic location or logistics. In this age of consumers, what sets apart a brand is the experiences they can provide.

But what is customer experience?

Customer experience is the overall quality of a consumer’s encounter with a brand. From product discovery, onsite and online interactions, packaging and fulfillment, each touchpoint is part of their experience journey.

Many brands have made the disruptive decision to shift their business strategy—from door to desktop, from a salesperson to social media, and now from product to experience. Since 86% of shoppers are willing to pay for great experiences, it is the right time for brands to pay close attention to why customer experience matters more than ever.

Five Reasons Why Customer Experience Matters

1. Customer expectations keep rising. Modern customers are willing to grant brands access to a wealth of personal information. At the same time, with a multitude of options readily available with a click or a swipe, consumers can easily switch loyalties. A Walker study found that customer experience will overtake price and product as a key brand differentiator. Additionally, a PWC report found that 80% of consumers believe speed, convenience and knowledgeable support are the most critical expectations that brands should meet.

 

2. It sets a brand apart from its competition. With many available options, customers can easily find and purchase a product anywhere, using any device, anytime. According to Genesys, 83% of consumers want an omnichannel experience from a brand. Omnichannel delivery provides consumers with a consistent experience at every touchpoint. A consumer finding a brand on social media and finishing the purchase using their mobile device makes a brand stand out to consumers. Additionally, as brands get ahead of their competition, they also reap their rewards. A report by Adobe found that brands with the most robust omnichannel strategies enjoy a:

      • 10% year-on-year growth
      • 10% in average order value
      • 25% increase in close rates

 

3. It generates repeat shoppers and brand ambassadors. Brands need to note that 1 out of 3 consumers will leave a brand after one bad experience, while 92% would completely abandon a brand after two to three negative interactions. However, when provided great experiences, consumers stay with a brand and become repeat buyers. In fact, 87% of customers make another purchase from the company that provides the unique experiences they crave. Additionally, 73% of consumers say a good experience is vital in influencing their brand loyalties. Consumers appreciate great experiences, and they pay it back by recommending their favorite brands to others.

 

4. It is the new battlefield. According to Gartner, 81% of companies are competing primarily based on customer experience. It means brands are recognizing the importance of delivering an experience to build genuine connections with their customers. However, brands must act quickly, as 62% of companies are already steadily shifting their focus on customer experience. The competitive advantage is huge, and customer experience is the new arena to win over customers and stand out.

 

5. High impact. To become an experience-driven business, brands need to have the right strategy in place. It also involves having the right tool, the right process and the best people, and when executed the right way, the rewards are high. The Temkin Group found that companies that earn $1 billion annually can expect to earn, on average, an additional $700 million within three years of investing in customer experience. Other powerful statistics that show the impact of investing in customer experience are:

      • 73% of companies with above-average customer experience perform better than their competition
      • 83% of companies that believe it’s important to prioritize customer experience revenue growth
      • Customer-centric brands generate revenue 5.7 times more than competitors
      • Brands that excel at customer experience are 60% more profitable than their competition

Owning the customer experience

Today, brands that are thriving take proactive measures to provide their customers with the most unique and engaging experiences they can offer. They embark on a journey to be more customer-centric, and they build their strategy around their customers. Customer centricity comes in many forms—from building relationships, getting customer feedback or adopting new technologies. It is a proven strategy to drive long-term business success, but it is hard work. However, it can become less complicated by having the right solutions that can facilitate the personalization and contextualization of consumer experiences.

Three Ways Experience-Driven Commerce is Changing Online Shopping

Contentserv Blog | 3 Ways Experience-Driven Commerce Is Changing Online Shopping

“Experience-driven commerce is the future of commerce,” said Adobe’s Executive Vice President, Brad Rencher1 in 2018. It had been two years since an experience-driven commerce future was first predicted, and because the right circumstances took place, it is safe to say that experience-driven commerce is happening now.

E-Commerce has completely transformed how consumers shop and how businesses operate. So, is experience-driven commerce really the next big thing for commerce? And how is it changing the online shopping experiences of consumers?

Experience-driven commerce, defined

According to Adobe2, “Experience-driven commerce = Maximizing sales by delivering customer experiences from discovery to purchase that are optimized with insights from real-time shopping behaviors and multichannel data.”

Specifically, experience-driven commerce is:

  • Customer-centric – presenting products in a way that resonate with what consumers are looking for
  • Omnichannel – meeting shoppers and their needs across all channels
  • Relevant product content – providing shoppers accurate, rich, complete and up-to-date product content

Experience-driven commerce trumps traditional commerce since today’s consumers are savvy enough to know and get what they want. They seek personalized experiences, connection and engagement. This means businesses need to develop experience-driven commerce strategies if they want to remain relevant and competitive.

Experience-driven commerce, the essentials

The shift to experience-driven commerce is fueled by:

The age of consumers. Millennials are currently the largest consumer group3, and Gen Z, the pickier and savvier version of Millennials, is not far behind. These current and soon-to-be consumers grew up with digital conveniences at their fingertips – and they only recognize brands that are accessible and personal.

Brands must be customer centric. Brands cannot expect these new breeds of consumers to accept everything they provide. Thus, brands need to find a way to know their customers — their needs, preferences, where they are and how they shop. The foundation to understanding this consumer behavior begins with data. Therefore, brands must harness the power of data if they want to deliver experiences tailored to the needs of these consumers.

Constant connectivity. 53% of the global population is connected to the internet4, and it is a number that is still growing as devices become more affordable. It is also estimated that an average person owns and will use at least 154 connected devices by 20304. Most consumers can therefore easily reach for any of these devices to research a product or service they need, complete a purchase, and share their experience, good or bad, online. This means that with a few swipes, consumers can make or break a brand.

Brands must be omnichannel. Today’s consumers expect to have access to what they want when they want it. To remain competitive and relevant, brands must employ a strategy that delivers a seamless experience across all platforms – desktop, laptop, mobile phones, tablets and in-store.

Personalization. Most shoppers are willing to share personal information as long as they get personalized experiences in return. In fact, 61% are willing to share private information to ensure brands understand their needs5. Furthermore, offering personalized shopping experiences are necessary for brands to build loyalty and expand their customer base:

  • 52% of consumers said they would switch brands if the company does not offer personalized communication6
  • 25% of consumers have stopped engaging with a brand due to poor personalization7
  • 35%  of Millennial consumers are willing to walk away from a brand with poor personalization7

Brands must offer personalized and contextualized product experiences.Consumers become advocates when brands meet or exceed their expectations. Brands must understand their customers and their purchase journey to create a shopping experience that specifically caters to their needs.

So how can brands deliver the demands for experience-driven commerce?

Delivering experience-driven commerce

Brands that want to focus on experience-driven commerce must re-imagine their e-commerce strategy. Many will have to begin by embarking on a digital transformation journey. Digital transformation is the catalyst for innovation in the e-commerce space. It allows brands to connect people, process, data and technology. Specifically, digital transformation can help brands eliminate organizational and technological silos, improve internal processes and empower brands to deliver accurate and updated information to its partners and audiences. This is vital to build an engaging brand message in order to generate the success expected of an experience-driven business.

Brands that are digital are in a great position to understand consumers, enhance their product offerings and deliver a channel-agnostic experience, any time. Additionally, brands must consider the following elements when shifting to a more experience-driven approach:

  • Technology. Brands need to leverage the right technology that can fully support their e-commerce strategy. The necessary solutions will depend on the products sold and the target market. At its core, the chosen technology must be able to provide solutions for personalization, analytics, testing, product information and digital assets management.
  • Data. Hyper-personalized experiences begin with data. Brands need a system of insight to ensure that data, wherever and however it is used and by whom, is high quality – complete, accurate, rich and up to date, all the time. Additionally, data must be used intelligently by way of analytics to fully exploit its potential.
  • Content. Product content is critical. It must speak to the needs and wants of consumers. To provide context around shopping experiences, product content must be tailored to the persona, preferences, location and needs of the target audience.

Experience-driven commerce begins with product experience

Great experience-driven commerce begins with meeting customers on every stage of their shopping journey. It requires understanding on how consumers use different channels to look for the information they need to decide on a purchase. Brands must send the right messages without overwhelming their consumers along the way. Furthermore, the shopping journey must be made seamless and easy.

Delivering experience-driven commerce does not have to be complicated. However, it does require the right strategy that is adaptable to the future expectations and preferences of consumers.

The Dos and Don’ts of Building a Successful PIM Business Case

The Dos and Don’ts of Building a Successful PIM Business Case

It can be argued that business cases play a direct and crucial role to how successful a company’s project will be. Business cases are developed during the early stages of a project and outlines the what, how, and who are necessary to determine if the plan is worth undertaking in the first place. Let’s be clear: business cases are vastly different from project proposals which focus on why a company needs a specific project. Business cases are meant to be reviewed by the project sponsor and key stakeholders before being accepted, rejected, cancelled, revised or deferred.

Marketers, take heed: Drafting a lackluster business case can result in project failure. Gartner Group studies have suggested that 75% of U.S. IT projects are considered failures by those responsible for initiating them. Failure, in this case, was defined as projects that did not meet its objectives, missed deadlines or went above the pre-approved budget.

Similarly, a Standish Group study on the U.S. IT industry found that 31% of projects were cancelled outright, with 53% of all reviewed projects displaying challenges that had the potential to make the project a failure.

Four questions need to be addressed in a business case:

  • What is/are the company’s goal/s in pursuing the project?
  • What are the potential challenges that prevent the company from reaching the goal(s)?
  • What can be done to overcome these potential challenges?
  • Is the company well-equipped to deal with these potential challenges?

Creating a PIM business case

Great business cases clearly communicate the benefits and potential of your proposed project. In terms of arguing a case for a Product Information Management (PIM) system, you need to be clear on what and how such a solution can benefit a company.

Do talk about trends

Industry experts agree that the manufacturing industry is going to go through a lot of changes. While PIM has typically been associated with retail, predictions are being made to its necessity in the manufacturing industry as well. One important trend that can be highlighted in a business case is a 2018 study published in MAPI which talked about how the Internet of Things (IoT) will directly affect how manufacturing brands communicate with their customers. Study author, Dr. Michael Mandel, stated that e-commerce fulfillment centers and the digitization of distribution (similar to the Amazon model) will influence manufacturers to shift from a warehouse model to a direct-to-consumer (D2C) model. In order to efficiently manage this process and communicate consumer-facing information, a PIM system would be beneficial.

Takeaway: Business cases create a sense of urgency. When developing a business case, it’s important that it gives a strong overview of the market and its current trends.

Do talk about numbers

Remember that business cases are not project proposals. While it is still a good idea to talk about the benefits of having a PIM model in an organization (the “why” of the project), business cases should highlight the potential gains of implementing a PIM solution (the “what”). When a company invests in a PIM solution, they have a central repository of product information, which helps speed time-to-market. PIM systems take away the long hours needed to manage product information from multiple sources and systems. Not only does this shorten the time companies need to produce new or updated product information, it also allows for more accurate, complete, consistent and up-to-date information across multiple touch points.

Takeaway: Emphasize the tangible results of a project. Business cases almost always argue for the biggest returns in the most efficient manner possible.

Do talk about the difference

What makes each PIM system different from the rest? To gain an unbiased point of view, business cases should always look at the two previous points, and then decide which vendor best suits a company’s specific goals and needs.

One thing that should be clarified, however, is the urgency and continuous rise of the customer experience trend. A report by Internet Retailing concluded that 69% of consumers expect a hyper-personalized experience across all channels. Consumers are becoming accustomed to brands reaching out to them in personal ways, including product recommendations that have been formulated based upon previous purchases. Companies may want to consider a PIM solution that goes beyond just cleansing and transforming data, but one that also offers contextual and personalized customer experience capabilities.

Takeaway: Each company is different, so business cases should be developed accordingly. That being said, it is crucial to develop business cases on current and rising trends.

Don’t make your audience feel you’re only after their money

Present your business case while being mindful of the company’s needs and goals. Take note that more and more people expect a customer-centric approach. That is: Stakeholders of a company want to believe that they are being offered a solution that is best for their customers, and not just because of money.

Takeaway: Present a strong case for a specific solution and be aware that there is competition.

Don’t leave out the details

What other resources will the company need to implement a PIM solution? A PIM business case should emphasize – quite clearly – details such as the features of a specific PIM, how long the implementation will take and the product information processes that need to be reassessed.

Takeaway: Business cases get straight to the point and clearly presents what is needed to make the project a success.

All of these might seem daunting at first glance, but what should just be remembered is that business cases detail the specifics of a project, and how a company can benefit from such an endeavor.

How Top Retailers Take Advantage of Omnichannel Opportunities

How Top Retailers Take Advantage of Omnichannel Strategies

The lines between consumers’ online and offline lives continue to blur as technology advances. According to Statista, consumers are increasingly using additional screens while watching TV:

This new reality leaves brands with no other choice but to switch to omnichannel strategies, where consumers get the same experience whether they’re on their desktop, mobile, a tablet, smart watch or using their voice-enabled assistant.

Omnichannel strategies differ from multichannel in that the former requires integration and unity among channels, while the latter employs a separate or siloed approach for each channel.

In an omnichannel approach, consumers are treated to a seamless, consistent and personalized experience at each touchpoint. This means they are enabled to continue their journey where they left it.

Why Walmart, Target and Home Depot rule omnichannel retailing

According to Internet Retailer 2019 Omnichannel Report, Walmart, Target and Home Depot scored the highest in omnichannel services.

Walmart

In 2015, the giant retailer invested $1.2 billion to improve its store experience and digital capabilities. According to Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon, “As we build out our e-commerce capabilities, we are deepening our digital relationships with our customers.” This is a reaction to an Accenture study, which revealed that 45% of consumers want to receive real-time promotions on their smartphones or tablets while in-store. Unfortunately, only 28% of retailers deliver this service.

To capitalize on the opportunity, Walmart implemented geofencing technology, wherein they’re alerted once a customer pulls up in their parking lot to pick up an online order. Using the Walmart app, a customer have access to simplified shopping, including locating items quickly, checking prices and accessing weekly ads and coupons.

Another way Walmart is competing and winning in omnichannel is by combining data from both their online and offline stores. They may currently be only second to Amazon as an online retailer, but Amazon is now playing catch up in the brick-and-mortar category. This gives Walmart an edge in personalizing shopping experiences. For more on Walmart’s omnichannel activities, visit their Shopify profile.

Target

Target has a two-app strategy designed to provide customer convenience, whether they’re shopping in-store, online or both. Just like Walmart, they also have a buy online, pickup in-store program, wherein not only can online orders be picked up from the store, but they can be brought out to a designated parking spot where customers are parked and loaded into their vehicle.

The second largest retailer in the US also offers flexible shopping models, including free shipping for all online orders, which customers nowadays consider as a basic service. This is their advantage over Walmart, which has a $35 free shipping threshold.

Target is also testing out their augmented reality (AR) capability through their Beauty Studio available in ten of their stores, as well as on their desktop and mobile sites. Through this feature, consumers can test how they will look with the products, as well as take advantage of concierge services such as advice and product recommendations.

Home Depot

It seems that most big box retailers offer what Home Depot offers, such as click-and-collect, ship-to-store, and ship-from-store, which caters to online orders directly from stores.

But the difference with Home Depot is their focus on big ticket items or “e-commerce unfriendly” products or items that consumers want to see and touch before purchasing. Part of their omnichannel strategy is luring customers in the store through in-store pickup, so their representatives can speak with customers, answer their questions, offer product demos and learn about their pain points.

According to Scott Spata, Vice President of Supply Chain Direct Fulfillment, “A high number of in-store transactions start online, where we can drive customers to the store armed with all the information they could need. Alternatively, they might want to see and touch a product in a showroom before ordering a specific size or color online. However the customer wants to transact, we’ll make it happen on the back end.

In summary, leading big box retailers are leveraging technology in insight gathering and order fulfilment. One of these technologies is a product information management (PIM) solution, which consolidates data from multiple sources to enable businesses to have a single view of rich product data before publishing across their sales channels.

In an age where product returns are high, it’s a must for businesses to have a solution that helps them ensure that only accurate, complete, consistent and up-to-date product information reaches their consumers.

Build your brand by creating personalized customer experience

Build your brand by creating personalized customer experience

As technologies develop to be more customer-focused, so too do business models. Companies are now recognizing the need to deliver personalized customer experience that separates them from their competition. With our society increasingly becoming dependent on digital technologies, many customers assume that their vendors offer a seamless experience. This includes a shopping experience wherein all data are shared consistently across all channels, such as images, texts, charts and others. It has become especially crucial to offer this type of engagement, with recent studies showing that more than 50% of retail sales are influenced by online information, regardless of whether a transaction has taken place or not.

This isn’t just a matter of study, either. There are real-life implications to this. In 2017, United Airlines experienced a crisis in their branding, losing $1.4 billion in value practically overnight when a passenger’s poor experience went viral on social media.

It is evident that customer experience is a crucial aspect to business development and growth. A study by Gartner revealed that customer experience is the “most pressing mandate for marketers,” and will lead innovation spending in the next few years. In fact, in the same study, it was found that 89% of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience, compared to a mere 34% just a few years ago.

Creating persuasive consumer-facing content to build lasting relationships with customers

Brands typically create content for a product which they share with their distributors and resellers who are then responsible for creating and managing how the product will be marketed to the end-consumer. However, growing technologies have opened a direct-to-consumer channel, effectively cutting out the middle man. Suddenly, brands have to be able to create persuasive consumer-facing content while managing various assets, including unstructured ones such as images, videos and the like. Not only is it imperative to provide high-quality data, the information a company provides needs to be consistent across all sales channels as well. Thus the need for a seamless omnichannel customer experience.

The lack of accurate and up-to-date content can significantly impact how a business is perceived by a customer. A Forbes Insights report  stated that data quality is one of the most important aspects to how confident users feel with their vendors. The quality of data, along with how consistent it is, affects how trusted a vendor is perceived by a customer.

It is not enough to improve data quality and reduce content acquisition cost (although these are very important). The ultimate goal is to make customers staunch advocates of a brand. Brand loyalty is now the focus of engagement, rather than quick-appeal marketing tactics.

Taking product messaging even further

Brands can take their product messaging even further with a new approach called Product Experience Management (PXM). As the name suggests, the platform takes a customer’s preferences to the next level. Brands will be able to ensure that product information is delivered in context, anywhere and at any time – meaning that their customers’ personal needs and interests are taken into account during the interaction. This individualized, yet expansive, approach to consumer engagement ensures that customer relationships are for the long-term. By contextualizing a product experience, there is a higher likelihood of sales conversion. The manufacturing industry, in particular, can benefit from this, as their engagements are typically with repeat clients.

Why it matters

While automating the organization, management and publishing of your product information (a.k.a. PIM) is foundational, PXM delivers your product content in context based on the channel, locale and need of your customers — wherever and whomever they are.

PXM is critical in delivering brand identity and creating an emotional connection with potential clients and repeat customers. Companies deliver a compelling product experience by:

  • Providing complete and accurate content at all times: Customer experience is typically based on the completeness of content found on a website or a mobile app. If customers cannot find complete and consistent product content, chances are they won’t buy it. The same holds true if a specific product is inaccurately described on a website compared to what is found in the physical store.
  • Publishing information in real time: Today’s society appreciates speed. Manufacturers need to get their products to market as fast as they can, especially if the products are sold on a seasonal basis. PXM enables manufacturers to update and publish their product catalogs to their retailer trading partners or distributors in a timely way.
  • Adapting to customers’ expectations: Customers no longer buy at physical stores, but access global marketplaces on their mobile phones and computers. As a consequence of this, there is an expectation that relevant and specific product information is available, in context to a customers’ needs, across all touchpoints. While the buying experience may be different between purchases made in person and online, the need for consistent and relevant information remains a universal requirement.

Remember that while having an attractive website or app is good, more substantial gains can be had if companies optimize their operations with the customer in mind.

Omnichannel Isn’t Dead, It’s Evolved

Online purchase

When people say “omnichannel is dead”, they could be referring to its earlier form in which the concept of having a seamless physical and digital shop was still somewhat abstract. Meaning, back then businesses went ahead and bombarded consumers with a variety of engagement and shopping options for ubiquity — a.k.a app creation social media strategy — without substantial consumer insight. 

But as data, which has captured consumer behavior, accumulate and technologies such as AR and AI progress, omnichannel is transforming from a channel-centric into a truly customer-centric activity, where technologies are employed strategically or according to the revealed and expressed consumer behaviors and expectations across channels.

Why filter out the noise and pursue omnichannel maturity? Because as revealed by a study of 46,000 shoppers, today’s as well as tomorrow’s consumers are omnichannel shoppers:

  • 7% Online-only 
  • 20% Store-only
  • 73% Multiple channel or omnichannel 

When consumers are married to their screens

… it’s an invitation for you to treat them to great content and a remarkable shopping experience.

As consumer screen time increases (79% report an increase in the past five years), so do your communication and engagement opportunities. You can even talk to consumers (and vice versa) the moment they wake up, as according to TechTimes, 46% check their phones before getting out of bed.

What’s more, you can communicate with them not just through one device, not just two, but several, because  switching between at least three devices is the daily batting average of 90% of consumers. 

Because of this trend, 84% of marketers believe that having a comprehensive cross-device strategy is now a must in order to successfully convert these consumers into customers.

Here are other notable screen time (particularly smartphone and shopping-related) numbers:

  • 71% of shoppers believe that smartphone usage in-store is an important part of the experience
  • 56% of consumers use their mobile device for product research at home
  • 38% perform inventory availability check on their way to a store  
  • 58% continue their product research in-store

One actionable insight from these numbers for store owners is Wi-Fi provision. Why? For today’s smartphone addicted generation it should be a basic provision, plus with great content, you could actually leverage your visitors’ phones as your savviest sales associate. Also, according to a Displaydata/Planet Retail RNG report, nearly half of consumers (42%) tag lack of in-store Wi-Fi as poor experience. 

When consumers are showing you where the money is

… they’re willing to give it to you in exchange for something.

What’s great about today’s consumers is how proactive they are in letting brands know — and the rest of the world, too — how upset or pleased they are with an experience. 

And it’s usually companies with omnichannel strategies that please consumers. According to V12, these companies enjoy:

  • Retention – 89% of customers are retained by companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies
  • Loyalty – 51% will be loyal to retailers with consistent service and experience

The survey also asked consumers, 

Do you notice when you get a different experience from the same retailer when you shop with them through different ways, for example, either between online and in-store, between stores or between a call center and store?” 

And 61% said that they do.

So, aside from consistency, what are consumers asking for? As per BRP some of the most common items in the omnichannel shopper wish list include:

  • 62% availability of product reviews and ratings
  • 64% recognition and personalization based on saved purchase history and personal preferences
  • 73% ability to track orders across touch points 
  • 68% automated returns process

Delivery and pickup options are also popular:

  • 50% free delivery 
  • 73% in-store pickup

A preview of the omnichannel of the future with AR and AI-voice

Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that omnichannel is “evolving” rather than it’s “evolved”, because new and innovative ways to shop will be introduced to the market as technology progresses. 

A recent example is Honda’s Dream Drive program, in which drivers are encouraged to use the car’s connected dashboard not just to navigate, get entertained, but also make purchases. To pull this off, Honda is partnering with various retailers and content providers. 

[Source: Honda]

AR

Augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) is an emerging trillion dollar industry. Leading the way in the furniture industry is IKEA with its Place AR app:

[Source: IKEA]

Never before in history has furniture shopping been this fun, educational and convenient!

Mastercard is also getting in the AR shopping scene with physical trait recognition, instant information, personalized recommendations and secure and seamless payments offerings in-store using ODG’s R-9 smartglasses. 

[Source: Mastercard]

The medical/education industry is also in on the game powered by Microsoft HoloLens. Learning anatomy will never be as engaging, safe, ethical and effective as with interactive holograms.

[Source: Case]

AI-Powered Voice Technology

This year, 2019, the voice recognition market is pegged at $601 million, but by 2022 it’s projected to reach $40 billion. Still in their young days, Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod are presently sitting, listening and learning in 32% of American homes. Pretty soon voice assistant technologies such as Amazon Alexa for Business, Microsoft Cortana Skills Kit for Enterprise, Google Assistant and IBM Watson Assistant would be a fixture in call centers, self-service systems and brick-and-mortar stores. 

[Source: Amazon]

[Source: Microsoft]

Omnichannel customer experience is the future of retail and commerce. Perhaps it’s time to kill off the idea that omnichannel will ever die, as evidenced by emerging technologies and their power to bring even the craziest ideas to life, and just focus on providing consumers with consistent A-grade offerings across all channels. 

 

4 Essentials For The Delivery of an Excellent Product Experience

Woman smiling because of great 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.

3 Key Steps to Winning Consumer Trust on the Product Page

3 Key Steps to Winning Consumer Trust on the Product Page

3 Key Steps to Winning Consumer Trust on the Product Page

Getting consumers to your product page and getting them to purchase your products are two different things. The average ecommerce conversion rate hovers just below the three percent mark. That’s not quite three people out of every 100 visitors to your product pages are purchasing. So, you can’t afford to turn off any would-be buyers and they would be if your pages aren’t relevant enough.

Relevancy is more than a product match with a consumer. Unless you sell a very niche item, your product would also be available from a number of retailers. Anything from a shirt to a car can be bought across hundreds of sites across the web. One of the key pillars to relevancy on the web is trust, which makes a lot of sense since buying something online is somewhat final. (Even the easiest return policies are somewhat tedious, which is a reason why retailers with a strong brick-and-mortar presence tend to have better online performance.)

How do you convince consumers that you are trustworthy when they land on your product page? Below are three time-tested and proven techniques to make trust the key pillar on your product page.

STEP 1: Product Reviews

It should be no surprise that people trust other consumers more than they trust a brand. One survey states that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Reviews prominently displayed on your product pages will give people the peace of mind to make purchases.

What about negative reviews, you might ask? Most consumers are smart enough to realize that not every product is a great fit for everyone. Some people are more vocal than others and sometimes they’ll leave unflattering reviews of your products. Read them and take action, but don’t delete them. A bunch of five-star reviews is just as damaging as having no reviews at all. In fact, 82% of consumers seek out negative feedback only, so if they can’t find it there will be an even greater chance of mistrust.

Your product will speak for itself over time if it’s sold enough, but until then, be thankful for reviews left on your site. Think of them as a little bit of free content marketing from the people that matter most, your customers.

STEP 2: Authentic Photography

The first thing that should come to most product marketers is quality photography. But, quality photography and authentic photography are two different things. How many fast food restaurant commercials have you seen with amazing looking food only to be dismayed when you order the same thing at the restaurant? Those commercials don’t exactly exude trust, do they?

What exudes trust are user-generated content (UGC) like Instagram posts. Because consumers crave authentic photos so much, they take photos themselves to share with their peers via the platform. It became a phenomenon, so a social media agency based in New York gathered and analyzed data, and found out that “Instagram-style”photos increase conversion rate by 25% more than professional product shots.

A professional photographer can make anything look great, and they should, but, consumers expect to get the same thing they see online. If they don’t, and instead got a slightly worse variation, then your product pages will have the same amount of trust as a fast food commercial.

STEP 3: Knowing Your Customer

Perhaps the quickest way to earn trust is to know someone and help them solve a problem. While most products can be found across the web, they’re mostly flashed in front of you as if the product itself is enough reason to buy it. Typically, a person is swayed to spend money on something that solves a problem for them.

How do you know the problem that your customer is trying to solve? That takes persona research and the ability to display variants and suggestions based on who is searching for what. Once you figure out your persona pain points, then you can solve for those and offer your solution on the right touchpoints at the right time. By solving their problem, you’ve gained their trust. Personalization is so effective that according to Accenture, 58% of consumers are more likely to buy from a shop that offers items based on their history.

There are many other ways to prove your trustworthiness, but your product page is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Most people aren’t concerned with your corporate messaging and the educational sales funnel that might be set up. When they land on a product page you have a small window to prove that you are worthy of them going through the sales process. That’s done with relevancy, authenticity, and with proof from the people that came before.

5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a PIM

5 Reasons why your business needs a PIM system to grow

5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a PIM

The vastness of the martech landscape makes the process of software procurement rather unintuitive. It might be obvious that your company needs to refine its digital strategy, but since all the software vendors you speak with have a logical reason to invest in their product or platform, a sound strategy and direction are needed before you listen to your first pitch.

So how do you begin to build your strategy?

The architect of the building you’re sitting in didn’t begin with the top floor and work his or her way down. Buildings begin with infrastructure. Any digital architect will also tell you to begin with infrastructure and work your way up.

That being said, even digital infrastructure comes in different flavors depending on your business or industry.

If your business is reliant on catalog production, for example, a DAM might be a good foundational building block. If your business is centered around selling inventory online or even offline, then a PIM is a likely candidate to build upon.

Whichever direction you choose to go, it’s vital that you invest wisely, because starting from scratch is rarely an option, as platforms are time-consuming to research and not inexpensive to implement.

By understanding the functionality and limitations of different platforms you can rest easy knowing that you made the correct decision. Below are five reasons why your business needs a PIM.

1. You’re Still Using a Web Content Management (WCM) Solution to Manage Your Products

This is perhaps the most common reason that businesses end up with a PIM. Running your online shop with an e-commerce platform or WCM before you have a PIM is a little like building your first floor before you dig your basement.

E-commerce can technically be used without a Product Information Management, but it’s very hard to scale upward without the strict taxonomy and structure that a PIM inherently solves for.

Because of a PIM’s rule-based classification, matching and linking capabilities, for example, you can ensure high-quality data no matter the volume of data you onboard.

2. You Need a Shorter Time to Market

Having your house in order, so to speak, allows you to go to market quicker with any new products and variations of previous products. About now a light might be going off in your head.

The more SKUs you have, the more important it is to have them organized in a way that can quickly be added, maintained, searched and disseminated. Improving time to market speed requires collaboration from at least three entities: manufacturers, distributors and retailers.

With a PIM’s integrated workflow management capability, processes are automated and smooth collaboration and orchestration are enabled, effectively eliminating elements that slow down time to market.

3. You Want Your Business to be Data-Driven

With 47% of customers saying they would immediately take their business to a competitor the moment they experience poor customer service and 68% more vowing to never do a repeat business once they’ve switched, no wonder customer expectation delivery is critical to 81% of decision-makers.

Hence, the importance of customer insights. But if your product information and digital assets are stored across multiple ecommerce platforms or even local drives, your ability to discern any relevant data from your products is next to impossible.

A PIM allows you to have a 360-degree view from where your products are stored, physically, all the way through the sale and shipment of an item.

Of course, the all-important sales process, which channel is most successful, who is purchasing your products, and even help to refine your target messaging based on user habits and history, is front and center when it comes to PIM development.

4. You Take Personalization Seriously

A mere online presence isn’t good enough anymore. Now consumers expect a tailored experience no matter where they visit on the Internet. In fact, 74% of online consumers don’t appreciate content that has nothing to do with them.

If you can’t place relevant products in front of your target audience then they will simply purchase elsewhere, or not at all, as proper product placement can entice even a passive looker to make an impulsive buying decision.

With a PIM’s analytics and digital asset management capability, you can create remarkable content based on personas, campaigns and insights from product information and digital asset association.

5. You Value Happy Customers

It’s common knowledge that it costs much more to attain a customer than to retain a customer.

By having control of your SKUs from the warehouse through the buying cycle and to the front door, you can ensure that your customers aren’t getting the wrong size or color and that they’ll be as satisfied with the buying experience as they are with the end product.

Why the emphasis on experience? Because more than price and product, customer experience will be the key brand differentiator come 2020.

You know your business better than any software vendor ever could – but we can help you identify why your business needs a PIM system. To build your digital presence properly, having an idea of where to begin is the first step to a successful procurement process.

Once your foundation is in place, you can scale with the knowledge that the assets that your business needs to succeed are fully functional and are carrying out a strategy designed for your business.