Building Your Digital Foundations to Meet Growing Customer Expectations
On Black Friday 2015 in the Nordics, the number of parcels sent increased by 48 percent when compared with 2014. Norway experienced the biggest increase, with an 83 percent increase over 2014. Online commerce seems here to stay, and purchases were up 23 percent last year, making Nordic e‑commerce a EUR 15.6 billion industry. In the first quarter of 2015, Nordic region shoppers spent SEK 365 billion, a 7 percent increase over the same period last year.
Customers are shopping more online with all their smart, connected devices and demanding more. Customers everywhere are realising that they want their digital experiences to be:
- Personalised. They want the brand to know their buying history and interests and to do its best to predict what it is they are looking for. This has to be done carefully, satisfying customer demand while also complying with privacy rules and customer comfort levels.
- Relevant. While all customers may not yet be able to articulate this desire, they want the brand to know every step of their journey as a customer and to anticipate their needs. If they are responding to an email about a shoe sale, they expect to be taken to the shoe sale page, not the brand’s homepage. Misdirected links like that can cost you customers. The data is available to show you all aspects of the customer’s digital journey, but care must be taken in using that data so the customer doesn’t feel stalked.
- Real time. Users all across the globe are coming to expect real-time and just-in-time encounters, even those who are concerned about privacy. They want their apps to understand and even anticipate their needs in a secure environment and they expect to be able to start a shopping experience on their smartphone and then continue it where they left off on their tablet or laptop.
Many customers still don’t understand the complexity involved in delivering these levels of personalised experiences, nor do they realise the kinds of data that must be collected in order to provide this kind of customer digital journey. The more you can educate your customer about the reasons you are collecting personal data and monitoring digital behaviour, the greater acceptance and trust you will get.
Nordic marketers and IT professionals are encountering a serious challenge to make personalised, relevant, and real-time experiences that are consistent across all their digital channels and many are discovering that having a consistent, end-to-end digital foundation is vital to success in today’s world. They are realising that they need to transition their digital transformation from one of fragmented parts to a unified foundation.
Usually, the creation of a digital foundation starts with marketers and IT departments doing lots of back-end work, relying on multiple vendors, groups, and products. These systems often have their own data formats, processes, and procedures, which requires a tremendous amount of integration work, challenging resources, and the security of their customer data. The result is often a fragmented, bug-prone, complex system that can affect your time-to-market.
Here are some factors to consider as you plan your digital transformation:
- Reduce complexity by using an integrated platform.
- Use the right combination of analytic tools. Don’t collect or study data you don’t need.
- Consolidate and optimise company infrastructure and operations where possible to improve agility, flexibility, and consistency in the customer experience.
- Consider the needs of the IT and marketing functions while designing your system. Create an environment that forms a partnership between marketing and IT, using each department’s strengths appropriately.
- Understand your customers. How are they using your digital assets and channels? How is their use of devices changing in your region? Does your concept of the customer journey for your business account for all the possible touch points and devices, both online and offline?
- Plan for the possibility of continuing the customer’s digital journey in the store with displays or a kiosk that knows what they have done so far.
- Understand your barriers and risk factors.
- Create a system that is agile and can respond quickly to changing directions in customer behaviour.
To be able to drive this change, it’s important to identify quick wins along the way. This will help build the momentum in the organization to support these mindset changes, as well as to create the motivation and the willingness to invest the time and effort.
Get help in areas you need it when designing and implementing your digital transformation and building your digital foundation. Be sure you use the best practises to create uniform, consistent, personalised, relevant, real-time, context-based customer experiences across all channels and touch points for your customers that are secure and address customer comfort levels.
The effort is great, but the rewards can be solid loyalty to your brand, satisfied customers, and a forward-looking design that can adjust to a fast-changing, technological world.