Why customer experience is central to a successful digital strategy

Digital transformation must put the customer first, says Paul Lynch, area vice president and managing director of LiveArea Europe

Thanks to the gallop of technology, disruption is coursing through every industry, just not at the same pace and level. It feels like it is only a matter of time before the cascade lands on you and certainly in the retail sector fleet of foot is now required to keep pace. Simply put, those who have either not gone through a digital transformation or are poised to evolve this year risk being washed away. Are you ready?

It is becoming clear that to build a successful digital strategy it is crucial to position the customer at its centre

In 2018, most digital-first businesses are overachieving on their revenue goals. More specifically, it is those who focus on customer experience (CX) who are triumphing. It is becoming clear that to build a successful digital strategy it is crucial to position the customer at its centre.

Moreover, that customer-centric approach drives change across the entire organisation, not simply for commerce-focused team members. It encourages collaboration and problem-solving needs to become a habit; having people that can move and think quickly, and accept change, is essential.

A mindset alteration is drastically required for laggards, especially when one considers the rise of nascent technologies and behaviours. Business leaders have to recognise that it is imperative to pivot and move well away from traditional ways of working.

The success of digital-first players, compared with some bricks-and-mortar retailers, is generated in part because of their agility and innovative approach. And companies employing CX to elevate their brands are most likely to achieve, and surpass, their business goals.

That is because customers’ demands have been dialled up by technology. Purchasing habits have changed dramatically in the last decade; indeed, it’s amazing to think that the first iPhone was only released in June 2007 and now voice-recognition devices are increasingly ubiquitous. The business adage that “the customer is always right” still applies, but the modern customer has come to expect a super-smooth retail experience and ultra-convenience across many devices. Any barriers or glitches can have a negative
and lasting effect.

Customers want you to engage with them digitally as though you were dealing with them face to face. And clever, personalised add-ons, such as offering free post-sales videos to show how, say, a new bike is adjusted, can make your company stand out. Moreover, they expect commerce to be part of their always-on, connected lifestyles where influencer marketing, social commerce and truly immersive retail experiences are quickly becoming the norm.

At LiveArea we believe CX is so important and that is why we have it in our url, www.LiveAreaCX.com. As a global commerce services provider we can see the retail industry’s painpoints and strive to address them. We help our customers achieve their digital business objectives, by blending strategy, design and technology to deliver frictionless commerce experiences.

We have a robust set of offerings to help our clients successfully implement a digital strategy that places their own customers at the centre of everything they do. To do this, we focus on understanding the needs and expectations of our customers’ customers. At LiveArea we work with brands people love and we fuel that passion by crafting signature customer experiences. We empower brands and retailers to sell more and connect with customers on a deeper level.

We understand, firstly, how to attract customers to a client and then convert that interaction into a long-term relationship. Plus we know how to deliver great customer service. That makes for great CX and that is what will drive the future of retail.

For more information please visit www.liveareacx.com/

Place customers at the heart of your digital strategy and other top tips

LiveArea’s Paul Lynch offers sage advice for organisations of all sizes to improve their digital strategies

Create a digital strategy with your customer at the centre
This will have a ripple effect on the entire organisation, not just on e-commerce. Be prepared for that.

Listen to your customer
Ask them directly how they would like to engage with you, capture and consider their response, and devise an appropriate digital strategy. Deal with difficult situations quickly and embrace online collaboration for real-time communications as brand loyalty is driven through high-quality customer service experiences.

Embrace change and innovation
Change occurs on a daily basis, so having a board and management team that embraces an agile approach to change will ensure your digital strategy is successful. Similarly, change in consumer behaviours and in the retail sector is already happening. Don’t be afraid; embrace it. Flexibility, as well as constant attention to consumer trends and the pulse of the market, creates agile organisations able to adapt and innovate in the most mutable landscapes.

Collaborate to drive change and better culture
It is critical to collaborate and pull down the silos that exist in many businesses. Bring together teams to drive change and adopt customer-centric approaches. The culture needs to embrace and deliver innovation through personalised customer journeys. This cohesiveness, and having the customer at the centre of everything you do, is vital to becoming a winning digital-first company. Such businesses are driving brand loyalty, increasing margins and have built a robust plan to attract new customers.

Build for the long term
Building digital strategies based on short-term targets of immediate returns or individual departmental goals could be fatal in the long term. Be thorough, be wise.

Plan omnichannel strategies from the outset
This includes bricks-and-mortar, e-commerce, social commerce and any other touchpoint or channel where the purchase intent, and desire, is born.

Content remains king
Compelling content is required to enhance digital experiences, and your business teams need to create that content as they understand your products and offerings better than anyone.

Investment will assure success
Integrated technology solutions will seamlessly drive your digital initiatives. Skilled people are key to any successful digital strategy.

But whoever buys cheap buys twice
Essentially, don’t be driven by cost decisions only. Being cost savvy and going after good value is fair, but focusing on cost only could jeopardise the long-term success and often creates more problems than opportunities.

For more information please visit www.liveareacx.com/

Also found in advertorial