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Previously on the Econsultancy blog we’ve reviewed the Marks & Spencer multichannel experience after its site redesign.
And while the market is still out on the new website, we think moving towards an improved digital offering is of critical importance to the company's longer term success.
Keeping my eye on the retail landscape, one area that has been spoken about is the use of interactive tablets and displays in-store, and a recent DigitasLBi survey revealed that 43% of internet-shopping consumers had used multimedia shopping aids of this kind.
On my wanderings about Oxford Street, I noticed that M&S had quite a few of these dotted around. I thought I would test it out and see what it was like.
A great customer experience is defined by its relevance and timely availability to the customer.
I've been reading Jay Baer's treaty on the topic (Winning Hearts in Real-Time), the first in a series extravagantly titled 'Masters of CX'.
What sticks out is the importance of mobile. Indeed, Econsultancy's Skills of the Modern Marketer report, compiled from interviews and an online survey, shows respondents to value CX and mobile as the most important broad and hard skills respectively (incidentally, if you fancy assessing your own digital skills, try sitting our Digital Skills Index test).
I thought I'd highlight some of Jay's thoughts on what makes great CX and include a few examples. Let us know what you think.
I've written about car manufacturers' websites before and found most to be lacklustre.
They sort of do the job but are confusing and don't look particularly elegant (see the German and Japanese big three). Volkswagen, however, has a great website - I've previously picked out its homepage for its simple messaging.
I thought I'd highlight five more features on Volkswagen's website that other car manufacturers would do well to emulate. Here goes...
Forcing users to register their details before they checkout is one of the quickest ways to lower your conversion rate.
Once a customer is ready to buy something from your store, presenting them with page after page of forms in which they need to fill out the most unnecessary of personal details is a sure fire way to litter your site with abandoned baskets and disgruntled customers.
That’s why guest checkout is a must-have feature for almost every online retail experience.
As I mentioned in my best practice guide to guest checkouts having a guest checkout doesn’t necessarily mean losing out on valuable customer data, it means adopting practices that put the customer experience first.
Using guest checkout as the default option, then offering to ‘save the customer details’ after purchase can help lower cart abandonment.
Saving customer details implies convenience, it puts customer experience as the primary focus. ‘Registering’ implies future marketing spam.
Also, if your site automatically fills in any details that the customer has already given you, such as name, address and email, all your customer needs to do is choose a password.
Boom! Conversion achieved. Customer satisfaction achieved. Data achieved. Easy.
I've looked at Japanese automotive brands online, now it's time to take on Germany.
I thought I'd take a spin through the UK websites of the German big three automotive companies. What do BMW, Audi and Mercedes' websites handle like for first timers?
Well, they might be known as the big three, but much like the Japanese roundup, there's a clear loser.
For some detail on automotive and social media, check out these posts.
In which I try to explain a seemingly complicated marketing term in the clearest language possible.
I ran a rudimentary Google search to see what was out there, and of course the Wikipedia entry is the first result. Now don’t balk at this, in a rare moment for this series of beginner’s guides, I’m going to copy exactly what the Wikipedia page for ‘single customer view’ says…
"A Single Customer View is an aggregated, consistent and holistic representation of the data known by an organisation about its customers."
Uh-huh. Now that’s a little maze of jargon in of itself and being as it also contains the word ‘holistic’ it immediately places itself amongst the very worst buzzwords of the damned.
I’m sure there’s an easier explanation, so let’s make our way through the quagmire.
At the beginning of 2014, Ashley Friedlein rounded up some trends and predictions for the year in digital marketing and ecommerce.
I thought I’d dip back in and take a look at some of the most incipient trends with some simple Google searches.
Do click through to the searches and see what else you can dig up.
Let's take a look at who is using this technology in retail.
I'm not looking at payment here, which NFC has been mired in, merely how the shopping experience can be enhanced.
I'll get a few things off my chest about what works and what doesn't. First, a super quick differentiation between the two technologies.
Near field communication (NFC) is capable of two way communication, so payment (a debit and credit) for example, or even in medicine (a tag in your skin could send vital signs to your smartphone), and it works only at short distances. NFC can be used more basically, to simply transmit set information to a phone or tablet.
Radio frequency identification (RFID) has been around for yonks, the tags only transmit information, to an RFID reader (an NFC enabled phone or tablet such as an Android can be used as a reader, but for an iPhone a separate reader is required). These tags have been traditionally used in stock control.
There's bluetooth low energy (e.g. iBeacons) in the mix, too. However, many of the uses of beacons have been for push messaging to customers.
In this piece I'm not going to be talking about geofencing which can be done with RFID, GPS or low energy bluetooth (iBeacons). I'll be focusing on active rather than passive engagement, though I'll discuss iBeacons in my conclusion (as they're rapidly taking hold in many of the same scenarios).
Right, now that's taken care of, let's dive in...
From an interactive value proposition to brilliant product descriptions, there's much to love at Made.com.
I was taking a look around the site and kept stumbling on things that I consider to be best practice in ecommerce from this pureplay 'direct to designer' store.
Take a look at what I found and see if you feel the same way.
Understanding the customer journey and delivering relevant experiences has never been this critical.
Recent research by eBay and Deloitte revealed that a third of UK and German consumers used multiple channels when making recent purchases, with this rising to two in three for orders over £100.
This presents today’s marketers with a unique challenge. They need to deliver customer experiences that are coordinated across all channels, with personalised and relevant messaging and content.
Leading marketers must understand the value of these multichannel customer interactions and work towards ensuring seamless customer experiences.
After the demise of HMV, many were quick to plan the future of retail.
Econsultancy got in on the act, too, suggesting ways in which the internet could save the high street.
The consensus seemed to be that experiences on the high street would be more important than mere commerce. Why go into a store if the journey of finding a product and taking it to the till to pay is as boring as it is online?
Over the past three years or so, I think we have seen the resurgence of the concept store. In fact, I think retail has woken up to the value of service, great product display, interactivity, digital technology and a great shopping experience.
Here, I've taken a look at some of the concept stores out there, and what they mean for customer experience.
Has it ever occurred to you that postcards are an experience that could be made quicker and easier by subsidising the process with advertising?
This is the concept behind the free postcard you can often pick up on holiday, branded with a visitor attraction or a local company, for example.
And it's also the concept behind Postify, making the sending process quick, virtual and free, with the recipient still receiving a physical postcard, with your own photos on the front.
I spoke to Chris Foster about the service.