Retail has been a highly competitive sector for many years now. The rise of the internet has given consumers more choice and flexibility than ever before, so retailers and brands must work harder to deliver a first-class customer experience if they want to retain their existing customers and attract new ones.
Recent Nuxeo research with UK shoppers revealed that more than half of shoppers would switch to a competitor if the digital customer experience didn’t measure up. Furthermore, almost two-thirds of shoppers would be more loyal to retailers and brands that deliver an exceptional customer experience.
For many shoppers, the retail experience has become increasingly digital. With many high street retailers around the world forced to close because of the pandemic, it has only served to make that digital experience even more important. People are shopping online more than ever and the need to deliver the right experience is growing too.
What constitutes a memorable and impactful digital experience in 2020 and how can retailers and brands deliver it in an increasingly competitive environment?
What makes a good digital customer experience?
Consumers have high expectations in 2020. The increasing maturity, sophistication and choice of the modern e-commerce experience and increasingly convenient digital purchasing aids, make it very easy for consumers to switch their loyalties if their needs aren’t being met.
When you then factor in the challenges brought about by the pandemic – supply chain issues, high street stores closed during the lockdown – then it’s clear to see how retailers and brands have moved even closer to an all-digital model, accelerating what already had been happening in the sector.
Nuxeo research showed the importance of the digital customer experience. Predictable contributors to a positive digital shopping experience included easy navigation, rapid search, and clear pricing, but today’s consumers also expect a detailed view of products – with images and video, as well as well-worded accurate descriptions.
Shoppers increasingly expect easily digestible access to information about products. Online, consumers increasingly want to be able to view products from different angles, to replicate as much of the physical shopping experience as possible. Fashion-wise, it might be the ability to view items in other colours not currently available in store.
Retailers and brands struggling to bring new product innovations to market quickly, or to respond in a timely way to new trends, risk losing valued customers to rivals. Yet too often this is the reality for suppliers: the inability to quickly and efficiently generate and distribute relevant product information, and enticing visual experiences which help to contextualise or personalise content for target customers, means they are not ready for consumers as their latest desires and demands are forming. In many cases, it can take brands and retailers many months to bring a new product to market, with all the positioning and promotional materials required to support the launch and subsequent sales.
A suppliers’ ability to bring the latest products to market quickly remains a high priority. The research found that if a retailer or brand could not yet launch the latest market-trending product, the vast majority of consumers would not wait. Rather, they would quickly redirect their search to an alternative source.
Delivering digital CX
It’s clear that customer experience needs to be more to the fore than ever - retailers and brands must provide all the relevant and valuable content that shoppers need to make their purchasing decisions, and they must also be innovative and aim to stock the latest products in good time.
The good news is that the technology exists today to satisfy all these requirements. With a coordinated approach to Digital Asset Management (DAM) across the customer journey, retailers and brands can give customers the confidence and appetite to purchase and to keep coming back.
DAM has long been an important technology in terms of marketing, but in recent years has become invaluable when looking at the larger product lifecycle and has evolved into product asset management (PAM) approach. PAM is a strategy to leverage enterprise digital asset management technology across the product lifecycle.
By providing a common platform for critical product information (both assets and data) at key points in the product lifecycle (design, packaging, campaign development, etc.). The result is that the role that digital assets and data play in helping retailers and brands bring new products to market more quickly has grown and will continue to do so as consumers demand this.
Adopting a PAM strategy enables companies to bring new products to market more quickly by eliminating previous analogue dependencies and bottlenecks (e.g. physical samples) and enabling a true, digital supply chain. In today’s environment companies with more digital supply chains are better able to persevere and even thrive than competitors that stick to a more traditional analog supply chain.
Implementing a PAM-based approach drives real value by connecting the product data with the associated content assets in an intelligent way. PAM supports a consistent view of product-related assets and associated data throughout the product value chain, in turn driving revenue growth through reduced time to market.
With consumer demands growing around digital experience, PAM becomes an even more important strategy moving forward. It takes content beyond the marketing department, connecting it to data and other assets across the entire organisation. This connection means that PAM informs the digital experience across different business functions and at multiple touchpoints, making it easier to be more consistent in message and tone, and better meeting consumer requirements regarding the digital customer experience.
The pandemic has been hugely impactful on many elements of our lives, and at first glance would appear to have affected the retail sector more than others. But in many ways, it has not changed things that much, especially as countries around the world begin to emerge from lockdown and start to navigate their way through the new normal. Retailers just need to double down on the things they have always needed to.
Overall, our research findings only reinforced the need for retailers and brands to deliver on the things most important to consumers - a first-class digital customer experience, personalised and valuable content, bringing products to market quickly and providing detailed product information. These are important now but have been so for many years. PAM can help retailers and brands deliver the experience that will keep those customers loyal, both now and in the future.
Alan Porter, Director of Product Marketing, Nuxeo