The retail industry is gearing up for its busiest time of year – the run-up to Christmas and the festive season. And while traditionally the busiest shopping days have been the 27th and 28th December, the American influence in the UK has seen sales for the online retailers dramatically increase over Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In fact, PwC predicted sales over that weekend last year were due to grow by 38% to £2.9 billion. So with this vital selling period only growing in size, how do marketers ensure they build and deliver the right customer experience that drives loyalty and ultimately sales?
To help answer this question, we hosted an event in London this month to hear from key industry experts including three marketers from globally recognised fashion brands. Here are the key insights:
1. Train The Front Line
We all know that sales staff and those on the floor are the vanguards of the customer experience. They are ones that have the direct interaction with your customers. We also know that training the staff is key. However, it is time to rethink how they are trained and what they are trained in.
It is no longer just about training them on the basics of sales and practical skills. It is crucial to train them on the business itself. They need to understand what the brand stands for and how the business operates in terms of stock and design. By doing this you will have properly trained staff that can create an experience for your customers and solve problems, which will ultimately lead to sales and continued loyalty.
2. Pick Exciting Technology
The marketing technology landscape has exploded. In 2011, there were a mere 150 companies offering specialized technologies for marketing and, in just six years, that number has grown to over 5,000. And while technology has certainly become engrained in a marketer’s role, the proliferation of service providers often necessitates an experienced guiding hand in creating an effective tech stack that delivers for the customer.
To avoid buying technology because it is the latest fad or simply because you can afford it, marketers need to ask themselves – “will this technology give my customers what they want and will it excite them?” This will allow you to look at the end solution rather than what the technology does. And it also allows you to focus on how the technology will be effective for your individual business and community.
3. Employ Insights
With technology comes data. And a lot of it. As businesses continue to gain access to more and more data, it can be overwhelming to figure out what to do with it. Many businesses today find themselves overloaded with such massive amounts of data that they can struggle to turn it into useful insights targetted at specific goals.
The risk is that you will lose your North Star if you allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the massive load of data available. Instead, whether you are marketing team of one or fifty, start small. Focus on what you want to understand about your customer and what business challenge you are looking to solve. Then look at the data, utilising analysis tools if you need to.
4. Allocate Your Resources
It is important that marketers allocate budget and resources for disruptive innovation that has no current demand within the business. Why? Innovation is vital in the workplace, whether a new idea, new process or new way of doing things. It is something that can give your brand the edge in an increasingly competitive market. So marketers need to give time, attention, and budget to the exploration of new ideas, technology, and strategy.
However, key to success for this is the buy-in from senior management. They need to understand that this budget and resource may not result in success or revenue. In fact, they need to celebrate the failure and potential losses, when they occur, in order to maintain an atmosphere welcoming of creative ideas to keep the business adaptable and driven to improve. By designating resources to stimulate this creativity, both progress and chances to learn from failures are bound to happen.
5. Recognize the Millennial Mindset
The one constant for marketers is that consumer behaviour is changing. However, while many tend to focus on the millennial target audience to try and understand their expectations, wants and movements, marketers must appreciate that the characteristics of millennial behaviour are now seeping through to other generations.
Every consumer now has the instant mindset. The time to make a purchase is decreasing across all age groups, while younger customers still do take significantly less than older customers do to make decisions. Additionally, all consumers now expect brands to align with their personal values and passions.
With less than three months away from Christmas, you'll want your customer experience preparation to be organized and simplified! This guide, Customer Experience Simplified is the perfect tool, check it out!
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