No matter the size of your retail company, what customers will remember most about buying from you is how the experience made them feel.
This means it’s crucial for marketers in the space to work towards getting the customer journey right – if there are any snags in the route from choosing an item to completing the transaction, customers will generally vote with their feet, leaving the dreaded abandoned cart in their wake.
According to marketing technology expert Andrew Campbell, customer experience will be the only sustainable source of competitive advantage for digital companies. In the latest ClickZ podcast, Tim Flagg asks Campbell what steps marketers should take to nail the customer journey. Here’s a taster of what they discussed.
Identify the pain points
The very practical problem I see in business is a lack of a formal approach to marketing, Campbell says.
“I don’t see customer journeys mapped out and modelled. I don’t see customer lifecycles mapped out and formally documented, in terms of: here are the key stages, here is how customers make purchase decisions.”
Only by picking out and understanding the pain points customers encounter on their journey can marketers start to create a strategy for optimising the process, and improving the experience they have.
Campbell says that marketers should write down the customer journeys and lifecycles and understand what’s happening at every stage – what people are doing, thinking and feeling.
Get the right data
Nothing really beats data when it comes to building up an understanding of your customer’s pain points. Knowing exactly where your customers are being turned off or tripped up on their journey will help you address those problems, which Campbell says takes a methodical, multi-pronged approach.
Marketers can capture both quantitative and qualitative data by monitoring where customers are abandoning the purchase, sending out surveys that give them an insight on purchase intent and brand perceptions, and seeing how potential customers interact on social media. Give customers the chance to talk to you, Campbell says.
“Let them vote, like, comment, share, or rate. Get them to do something that gives you an insight,” Campbell says. “That is as much qualitative and attitudinal as it is qualitative, and that’s the beauty of content marketing.”
If you opt for sending surveys, frame the questions so that respondents answer in a way that gives you an indication of their attitudes and circumstances, Campbell adds.
Crunch the numbers… and take a step back
After collecting the data, taking a collaborative approach to make sense of it and what it means for your company strategy is your next move. Campbell recommends using a data management platform that all divisions across the company have access to. Visibility is paramount: “You should be able to get a good understanding of how the data flows around your organisation and what it’s being used for,” Campbell says.
“There should be on one sheet of paper a systems and data architecture diagram.”
The two things a marketer needs are that ‘20,000 foot view’ of the moving parts, which shows the system components, and how they talk to each other, and a logical data model, so you can easily find datasets about your customers and their transactions, enquiry data and complaint data, even if they’re kept in physically different systems, he adds.
He continues: “We have a finite amount of resource, and a finite amount of time as marketers, so we have to be doing the right things.”
Andrew Campbell and Tim Flagg discuss these insights – and more – in the latest ClickZ podcast. Stream the podcast here, or check out Andrew’s comprehensive report Operationalising Customer Experience, only with ClickZ Intelligence.