Implementing a Consumer Experience Strategy
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos, Founder, President, CEO & Chairman, Amazon.com
Brick-and-mortar, online, mobile, tablet, and social media have bridged the gap between consumers and the brands they love. Accessibility is no longer an issue; we can purchase almost anything we want from any location. With a platform so grand, how will companies stand out in the abyss of endless options?
Companies that play in the retail space today should expect to compete on the basis of the customer experience. Creating curated experiences that focus on the needs of individuals has grown in importance over the last several years. The BDSmktg Research team recently published a white paper titled Great Consumer Expectations. We wanted to know what consumers expect from retailers and brands in this new omni-channel world. What defines a good experience for consumers does vary as illustrated below:
Wondering how you can start implementing a consumer experience strategy? Create a connection with your customers by implementing our D.I.C.E. Approach.
The D.I.C.E. Approach
Delight. First impressions matter. Delight your customers by capturing their attention. Eye-catching displays, warm greetings, and an authentic interest in their needs will resonate with today’s consumers. It may seem obvious, but taking care of the basics delights customers as well. Consumers surveyed in our white paper named price and inventory as the top two areas that define a great retail experience. Beyond that, a knowledgeable sales assistant who can identify a need and offer a solution goes a long way. Sales associate interaction was listed as the retail touchpoint most in need of improvement according the study. Imagine how delighted your customers will be if you can improve that experience alone.
Inspire. Be a center of inspiration for customers. Modern consumers long to feel inspired and will purchase products that feel unique, clever, and useful. Any opportunity to spark emotion and connect with your customers builds brand loyalty. Showcase products through aspirational displays, creative merchandising and interactive product demonstrations. For example, lifestyle retailer, Anthropologie, inspires creativity through partnerships with local artisans to host on-site workshops. Influencers also deliver inspiration by showcasing products in creative settings that imply real-life usage outside of the store.
Curate. 53% of consumers surveyed by BDS, fall into the Retail Enthusiasts segment. A strategically focused and personalized shopping experience speaks to these modern-day shoppers because they place a high importance on all aspects of retail and are interested in a full-blown retail experience. There is so much ‘noise’ in retail today that a curated product selection and a clear brand message that speaks directly to your Retail Enthusiasts will leave them with a clear understanding of who you are and what you can offer them.
Engage. 28% of consumers we surveyed in the Great Consumers Expectations study said they enjoy shopping because it gets them out of the house and they like the social interaction. Continue the conversation by inviting them to special events, notifying them of new arrivals, following-up with a phone call to ensure their product is working well for its intended use. These ideas may sound more like things you would do with your friends, and you’re right! Make friends with your customers through loyalty marketing tactics and they will keep coming back.
Here are some examples of brands and retailers who are delivering on the customer experience in their stores and community.
This beauty retailer offers services that incorporate products sold in their stores. Customers can take advantage of their hair salons, facial stations, and ‘brow bars.’
“There is a segment of consumers that sees beauty as a joy: it’s fun, it’s a passion, it’s an escape. By tailoring our experience in a way that helps this behavior come to life, we’ve been able to have success.” – David Kimbell, Ulta’s Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer
Apple, Community Education Program
The tech giant’s ‘Today at Apple’ program allows consumers to discover inspiring programs in their community. They also host an Apple Camp for children ages 8 to 12. These free, 90-minute sessions allow kids to expand their digital creativity by working with Apple experts.
“We’re creating a modern-day town square, where everyone is welcome in a space where the best of Apple comes together to connect with one another, discover a new passion, or take their skill to the next level.” – Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail
Dewalt, Insight Community
A leading manufacturer of high-quality power tools who is using their community of customers to provide insight on product features, product packaging, and other marketing feedback.
“Our insight community is integral to us delivering new programs and projects, and growing the business.” – Shannon Chenoweth, Sr. Market Research Manager, Strategic Insights for Stanley Black & Decker, Inc.
Building a consumer experience strategy does not have be a daunting task. As mentioned above, getting back to basics is a great place to start and then you can build from there. BDS has been partnering with retailers and brands for over 30 years to deliver impactful, results-driven consumer experiences. We have numerous case studies highlighting how we’ve improved the customer experience for our clients through experiential marketing tactics, custom brand shops, and more. Contact us to learn more about how we can build a unique strategy for you today.