Tag: omnichannel

Fashion on the Move – Disruption as an Opportunity

Fashion Influencer

Fashion on the Move – Disruption as an Opportunity

Why the fashion industry should be optimistic about the future and embrace upcoming challenges.

The heyday of fashion is over. This is how a lot of fashion companies in Europe and the US feel, following global issues such as Brexit, current US-China trade disputes and the rise of protectionism on both sides of the Atlantic.

On top of those, a lot of powerful players in the Asian region have left behind their cheap supplier role to directly and confidently challenge their European and American counterparts. And not only are they winning, they’re dominating their domestic markets.

Meanwhile, according to McKinsey´s State of Fashion 2019, emerging new markets such as India and China are developing at a rapid pace and overtaking the established ones.

While India currently has the highest growth rate, China, on the other hand, is now the world’s largest fashion market – ahead of the US.

Source: McKinsey, State of Fashion 2019, p. 26

In today, out tomorrow

Once upon a time, fashion manufacturers dictated how often collections come out and limited them to two a year. Nowadays, consumers not only expect something new all the time, but they drive current trends primarily via social media.

The power of the consumer influencer

Gone are the days when brands rule fashion from up their ivory tower, as today’s consumers have taken over. Self-confident and knowledgeable, millennials and generation Z tell brands what, where, how and when they want something.

Thanks to Amazon, they’re also used to not having to wait long. They use digital channels as a matter of course and have access to a multitude of product information, offerings and inspirations.

Thus, they have usually already made a purchasing decision long before they appear on the radar of companies.

They often don’t even get their inspiration from fashion labels and retailers, but from prominent social media influencers and opinionated peers, with emotional experience as the trigger.

The importance of brand presentation

If today’s consumers are both online and offline and on different channels, it’s essential for fashion brands to ensure a consistent brand image and product presentation on all touch points.

Although the work can be challenging, technologies such as Product Information Management (PIM) can help to centrally manage product data and deliver it to the right touch point – without spending too much time on manual work.

A PIM also has analytics tools that can provide insight into consumer behavior. With this, fashion companies are empowered to deliver a consistent product and brand experience to potential customers and influencers.

Digital channels as game changers

 

Source: McKinsey & Company analysis based on Instagram data, State of Fashion 2019, p 73

Social Media, whether it’s Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube or WeChat, is the new showroom. Therefore, “digital first” should be a top priority for all businesses that want to be successful — big fashion brands, start-ups and niche providers, alike.

But unlike established brands, the newcomers are not slowed down by rigid business processes. The small challengers, in particular, are posting through the roof fan base growth rates of up to 300%.

With the help of new technologies, concepts and business models, they react quickly to market conditions and focus on customer interaction.

For them, e-commerce is the way to go, but in addition to their own shops, they also rely on the diverse possibilities of social and mobile commerce to reach consumers on the spot.

Among others, Patagonia uses Pinterest to increase sales opportunities and awareness

Sustainability and trust

In recent years, ethical resource management and humanitarian and social values have increasingly become decision-making criteria for consumers on whether to trust a brand or not.

Whether it’s the collapse of a textile factory in Bangladesh or the burning of unsold collections somewhere else – various scandals involving global brands have left their mark on consumers.

Sustainability, fairness and transparency also play an important role in gaining trust, especially for the millennials and Generation Z.

According to McKinsey´s “State of Fashion 2019 Consumer Shifts”, more than a third of consumers include these points in their purchasing decisions: choice of materials, traceability of the value chain, uniform information and the sustainable use of products.

This can be an opportunity to realign the brand, examine new business areas and show a clear attitude with a consistent appearance. In addition, new technologies such as blockchain can help to document the supply chain seamlessly in the future.

Everlane pursues a sustainable approach and relies heavily on social media.

Using digital technologies

The path of the customer from first contact to purchase or the customer journey consists of a number of contact points. It’s almost impossible to maintain each point manually and, at the same time, provide consistent information.

But systems for the central maintenance, administration and output of product information, copy and media data, such as images and videos, can help to simplify this task enormously.

Analytics and product experience management tools also make it possible to get to know consumers better and provide them with relevant information at the right time.

E-commerce systems, mobile shopping apps, sophisticated search functions and recommendation tools make it as easy as possible for customers to find the product they want and make the purchase.

Partner platforms such as Amazon, Zalando and Otto increase the reach, and social media increases awareness, customer loyalty and the desire to buy.

There’s a lot of opportunities and chances, as well as challenges to tackle in the “Year of Awakening”, as McKinsey´s newest “State of Fashion 2019” calls it. So, it’s time to get down to business with agility, speed and new business ideas.

E-commerce’s Growth Skyrockets. Are You Ready for Change?

E-Commerce’s Growth Skyrockets. Are You Ready for Change?

“By 2037 e-commerce will overtake traditional commerce.” That’s the harsh reality according to Nielsen in their report “Future Opportunities in FMCG Ecommerce”. The year 2037 might seem like it’s still far off, but it’s a reality that will surely come. E-commerce is everyone’s highest priority and this report tells us that it will dominate even further in the years to come. That’s why it’s time to start evaluating and reinvesting in your e-commerce solution now, so that you’ve done your fair share of optimizing by 2037. Where should you start? There are a few tools you’ll need to look at to make yourself ready for the changes to come.

What will change?

Quite a lot, actually. At the moment, there are plenty of new technologies that are worming their way into the consumer’s daily life. An example would be voice technology. As Google, Amazon and Alibaba continue to improve their speech recognition algorithms, which has pushed past an impressive 95% word accuracy rate for the English language, more languages will follow soon enough.

This technology combined with home devices and modern smartphones open so many possibilities when it comes to commerce. And we haven’t even touched upon the other new kids on the block such as VR, AI, and mobile payments…

All of these advancements are predicted to give e-commerce that final push to overthrow brick-and-mortar stores. However, this also means that there’ll be more and more channels to distribute your product through, so keeping your messaging consistent across all channels is incredibly important. How are customers supposed to trust a brand that says one thing on Facebook and another on their website? This makes omnichannel commerce an enormous challenge for many companies today. What more once even more channels are added?

Even today, 80% of the citizens of Western Europe are actively buying online every month according to the Ecommerce Foundation. But before you learn how to run, you have to learn how to walk. By improving your e-commerce now, you can make sure that your omnichannel strategy is up to speed and sustainable for growth going into 2037. That way, you can offer a complete and consistent experience to your customers as soon as possible.

Preparing for e-commerce growth

Many organizations have already made great strides in the digital world. On the flip side, there are also companies that haven’t. Let’s assume your organization is part of the latter group. What do you do? How do you make sure that you are ready for 2037? No worries, we’ll break it down into some easy-to-digest steps. That way, you’ll know where you have to start your journey to omnichannel success.

1. Make sure your data is under control

First of all, you’ll want to make sure that your data is fully under control. If you make mistakes here, you’re sure to hit a brick wall in your e-commerce growth. A customer needs to be able to trust your store, which is why you need to make sure you provide a fitting and consistent experience for them. Supplying them with incorrect or outdated information will definitely throw a wrench into your relationship with your customers.

Let’s say your business sells furniture. If the sizes of a cupboard are wrong on your website, you can rest assured that you’ll receive quite a large amount of complaints. How would you feel if you ordered your dream cupboard online, only to find out that it’s one centimeter too high to fit into your room while assembling it? If you invest in a good PIM solution, you can rest assured that this won’t happen to your customers. At least, for the things they buy from your store.

2. Choose your e-commerce solution

Once your data has been whipped into shape, it’s time to take a look at your ecommerce solution. This one’s a hard choice to make. Do you want to settle for one big monolithic solution that takes care of everything out-of-the-box? Or would you prefer the flexibility of an API-based approach? There are differences for you as a company and the way you’ll work with it. If we’re going to continue with the furniture store example, this is just where a customer would buy your furniture online.

Of course, there are more nuances to picking the right platform. Depending on the needs of your business, the chosen system can be completely different. In the end, this is not a decision that should be taken lightly. If you still want to learn more about this, I recommend checking out our whitepaper “The Ecommerce Selection Handbook”, as this is not the main focus of this article.

3. Connect 1 and 2, then start personalizing

You might think you’re finished now, but no. You’ve only got your basics covered, and there’s still much work to be done. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be proud of where you are now! You can sell your products online and you can be sure that all your information is standardized and correct. That’s quite a feat already! But there’s still work to be done. Now that the foundation has been laid, it’s time to start optimizing!

Take a good look at your website and e-commerce store. Is everything clear? To you, it might be. But what about that first-time visitor to your website? Do they know what to do? Try to look at it from their perspective. Try to gather as much data as you can. Check your preferred web analytics tool, look for market research and try to conduct your own interviews and A/B tests.  Once you know what people want and where it goes wrong, it’s time to start incorporating what you’ve learned.

Make sure you don’t lose track of your other channels, though! If you’ve noticed a softer tone-of-voice works better and update your website, update your other media, too! You could compare your brand to a person here. If a person treats you completely differently in certain situations, you probably won’t trust him or her. It’s the exact same for customers and brands. That’s why consistency is key across all of your channels.

Improving your store is a never-ending process. There’s always something to optimize or something to recheck. The sooner you get started, the more things will have been done by 2037.

Personalizing experiences for e-commerce growth

After all of this, we still haven’t touched upon personalizing content. Whether it’s an introductory message for a first-time visitor or even different content based on which website the visitor is coming from. It might sound like science-fiction to some, but a good omnichannel strategy that is focused on product experience makes it all possible. According to research by Sitecore, personalizing customer experience can lead to an increase of 19% in digital conversions.

Check out this video by Sitecore if you want more info:

Your store also has room for personalization if you want to get the most out of your e-commerce solution. The “product recommendations”, the “often bought togethers” or the “users also looked at” sections. They’re nothing to scoff at! Thirty-five percent of e-commerce giant Amazon’s sales comes from their perfectly optimized recommendation engine. That’s a rough 62.2 billion dollars’ worth of revenue, for those wondering.

Your connected PIM and the personas defined in your CMS make it easy to keep all your personalization efforts consistent across the board. Focus on product experiences and do the work that needs to be done to build the entire experience. Then push it to your system and present a potential customer with a total product experience. Doing so will cause him or her to start to trust your information and your company. What is part of that product experience? Is it only the sizes and technical details of the cupboard you provide? Or does it have more aspects? We’ll discuss the essential parts of product experience in our upcoming webinar.

 

This blog was written by Brecht Beertens from our partner Osudio and is part of a four-part series of blogs focusing on the FMCG market in 2019.

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 Pivotal Role of Product Experience in Customer Experience Delivery

The Pivotal Role of Product Experience in Customer Experience Delivery

What is product experience? And how can it help businesses succeed in their efforts to provide their customers with a remarkable customer experience?

In 2016, the buzzword in retail circles, “omnichannel”, reached its peak. It dominated conversations at every turn as decision-makers scrambled to find solutions that would enable them to blend all their online and offline touch points, creating a unified and seamless customer experience.

Fast-forward to the present, as more and more companies reach their digital transformation maturity, the conversations are now circling around “on-demand” in which experiences, not channels, reign supreme.

There are, understandably, a lot of theories and strategies out there on how to best provide customers with the best experiences, as there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, but there’s one often neglected customer experience component that businesses should start taking advantage of should they want to standout and eventually gain customer loyalty: product experience.

What is Product Experience?

“Product experience”, from the customers’ point-of-view, according to IGI Global, is “the entire set of effects that is elicited by the interaction between a user and a product, including: (1) The degree to which all our senses are gratified (aesthetic experience); (2) The meanings we attach to the product (experience of meaning); (3) The feelings and emotions that are elicited (emotional experience).”

One global brand that deeply understands the importance of product experience in the grand scheme of customer experience delivery is Coca-Cola.

See, the entry of generations Y and Z in the market posted an existential threat to a brand that’s selling an unhealthy product. If they’re not able to effectively market to these huge demographics, a.k.a. their future customers, their product is going to go down. But it looks like Coke isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, because as of 2018, it’s still one of the world’s most loved and valued brands at $79.96 billion USD.

Their secret? Smart positioning. Coca-Cola simply stopped selling Coke as a product, but instead repositioned it as a creator of positive experiences in their advertising campaigns.

This viral video from their “Happiness Machine” campaign is just an example of how Coke is using product experience to support their overall customer experience activities:

But what does product experience mean in digitally-enabled touchpoints?

Let’s take an example from e-commerce. When it comes to browsing or shopping online, a positive product experience (from the customer’s point-of-view) may begin with seeing accurate, consistent and complete product information on their screens.

Say, there’s a customer that wanted to purchase the latest TV model and thought of browsing online for options.

Note that customers, on average, visit three to five websites before contacting a sales representative to get more information or make a purchase.

Their journey went something like this:

  • They visited five sites on their laptop and discovered that only three of these sites have complete, accurate, and consistent product information on their product. They eliminated two and are now down to three prospects.
  • They forwarded the information from these three sites to their partner’s mobile for them to check out in store. Upon arrival to the store, the partner was greeted with conflicting information. One of the brand’s online information is inconsistent with the one in store. It could be the price, feature, promo, etc., but the point is the customer was presented with inaccurate information. The customer eliminated two more prospects and is now left with one brand; the one that took the time out to get all its facts right and available in a consistent manner, online and offline.
  • The customer makes the purchase.

Because the brand took the time out to give their prospective customers a nice product experience, not only were they able to close the sale, but they’ve also most likely won an advocate. That diligent brand would definitely be top of mind when someone else asks for their recommended TV brand.

But that’s an ideal scenario.

In the real world, what commonly happens is a customer makes a purchase online to take advantage of a sale or a discount, for example, only to find out that they were debited the regular amount.

Here, regardless of the price, the customer would immediately feel that they were wronged and instantly tag the e-commerce site as unreliable and untrustworthy.

What could’ve likely caused the discrepancy?

It could be that the information displayed on the e-commerce site was out-dated. That the sale or promo was only good for a limited time, and customers would be charged the regular price when the period lapsed. Now, whether or not the customer was given a refund, after, isn’t the main issue. The issue is they’ve just been treated to a regrettably negative experience, which not only means no repeat business, but a tarnished reputation. What’s more is this irate customer would definitely tell their community about their bad experience.

Can disastrous outcomes like this be prevented?

4 Product Experience Must-Haves

The product experience arena is winnable. In today’s business landscape, companies who are serious in their customer experience efforts can no longer afford to overlook excellence in product experience, because failure at it could end the customer journey.

So, what are the essentials of a great product experience delivery?

  1. Accuracy – The provision of correct product information is the cornerstone of digital retail, because, simply put, inaccuracy turns customers off, drives businesses away and wastes a lot of money. The true cost of incorrect product information may be unknown, but Americans in 2016 returned $260 billion worth of goods bought online. Although the returns were due to various reasons, one of those reasons could be incorrect or lack of product information.
  2. Consistency – A standard is essential in creating awareness as well as building trust and loyalty. That’s why brands need consistency in messaging, imaging and so on. The same is true with product experience delivery in e-commerce. If a company, for example, has multiple suppliers for a single item and receives information and images in different formats, then a single format must be set and implemented across the board, so what the customer sees is uniformity, not chaos.
  3. Completeness – There is no doubt that customers today are savvy shoppers. They research and line up choices before zeroing in on a product or service. A smart business would provide them with all the information they need in one place and not shy away from letting them know of their offering’s limitations. Businesses need to even go as far as give recommendations or provide education, in the name of great customer service.
  4. Relevance – If customers don’t see exactly what they’re looking for upon landing on a page, they will quickly switch to another. Relevance, here, is a matter of getting straight to the point and not wasting people’s time. Another function of relevance is upselling. By providing customers with suggestions relevant to their search, businesses have a golden opportunity to create awareness and perhaps even close out a (larger) sale.