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Why knowing your customer is the key to digital business growth and revenue success

By adopting a customer-first mindset you can confidently create consistent and compelling CX – as well as informing business decisions, defining your digital roadmap and mapping the customer journey.

Digital Marketing

There’s no denying it’s been a tumultuous few years in retail – a global pandemic, a rapid shift to online and a big rise in new technologies and to top it off, economic pressures looming. To make sure you can expand your share of wallet it’s now more important than ever to meet customer expectations – they’re looking for proactive service, personalised interactions and ‘always on’ commerce.

Those retailers who are thriving are able to remain agile to customer expectations by placing their needs at the heart of their digital strategy. Technology is constantly evolving and as companies play keep up, a tech first approach will result in blind investment if you don’t use the customer needs as a driver for adoption. This is more important than ever as we head into an economic downturn and an ever more competitive market.

In the post pandemic landscape, it has been reported that CX quality is declining as companies lose focus on the customer according to research from Forrester. Although some of this is down to economic influences, retailers must shoulder some of the responsibility for losing sight of customer expectations.

“CX quality has fallen to pre-pandemic levels due to brands losing their customer focus,” said Rick Parrish, vice president and research director at Forrester. “This is unfortunate for businesses that survived the worst of the pandemic but are now losing CX-driven customer loyalty gains.”

Loyalty is a key component of the customer journey, and moving forward consumers will look to invest in quality and a deeper sense of purpose and engagement, rather than being inundated with just reward points. According to research by Power Retail, the majority of surveyed respondents (51 percent) say that in the last three months alone, they have made a decision about where to make their purchase based on a loyalty program offering.  Seventy-nine percent of these customers said they are more likely to purchase more often from a retailer they have a loyalty membership with. In providing customers with incentive for loyalty, the value of your product becomes more apparent. Providing them with more options and special member benefits i.e. Free Shipping can potentially make or break a conversion.

Qualtrics recently released the results of a global study of more than 33,000 people across 29 countries and 20 industries, which examined how consumers respond to a bad experience. The report found that on average, 35 percent of consumers report decreasing their spending after a poor experience, and 15 percent report that they’ve completely stopped spending with the company. In Australia alone, this data shows a risk of losing 7 percent of sales to bad customer experience. In order to provide a good experience for your customers, you must have a strong and informed understanding of who your customers are and what you can offer them every step of their customer journey.

The process of establishing and revalidating your understanding of your customers should be an ongoing process within your business. The shift in consumer mindset from pre-pandemic shopping to recession-like behaviours could completely upheave a roadmap developed even as recently as three years ago. So how do you build confidence that you are investing in the right digital initiatives, at the right time and at the right scale? You build a customer informed and validated roadmap.

“A customer informed and validated roadmap provides a stronger platform to lobby for, or protect, planned investment into digital initiatives”, says Leanne Franks, Tryzens Global Head of CX. “It’s relatively easy to be more evidenced-based in your decision-making related to the definition, prioritisation and execution of your digital strategies. Customers are always willing to help you learn either explicitly through focused research or implicitly through behavioural data analysis. That sort of insight injected into the planning and/or revalidation phases of a digital strategy can have an exponential impact on the ROI of key digital investments” she added.

How do you build that roadmap? You build a foundational understanding of your customer (personas), their drivers (needs) and how they go about purchasing (cx mapping). Spend the time gathering insights to pinpoint collection issues – set up on site surveys, monitor customer service feedback, conduct interviews and utilise powerful data analytics tools. You can then use this understanding (and its regular revalidation) to prioritise investment into initiatives that create compelling customer experiences with purpose, value and commercial performance.