In the retail industry, the phrase "customer experience" is thrown around and dissected so often that it has become a buzzword. E-Commerce executives say that providing optimized customer experiences is their number one priority, but what does that actually mean? Business of Fashion goes as far to relate traditional customer experience design to "just icing on the same stale cake."
How can brands be innovative in designing customer experiences? It's time to reinvent what "experience" means. To stay competitive, retailers must rewrite the rules to satisfy shoppers at each touchpoint, no matter how small.
Business of Fashion says:
True customer experience design means deconstructing the entire customer journey into its smallest component parts and then reengineering each component to look, feel and most importantly, operate differently than before and distinctly from competitors.
However, this is easier said than done. Tracking the buyer journey is no small task for retailers these days—shoppers are informed, choosy, and erratic in how they spend. Because of this, retailers can't afford to rely on old habits when it comes to creating new customer experiences. Instead, brands must see past the buzz to specifically define what a quality shopping experience means to their company and customers.
Experiences won't just sell products. Experiences will be the products, according to Business of Fashion.
For example, Sephora's latest app update uses VR to solve a specific customer pain point: helping shoppers to test out makeup before buying it. Dubbed the "Virtual Artist" feature, which is similar to applying a Snapchat filter and allows shoppers to virtually apply products to photos of themselves before making an in-app purchase. This is a prime example of a successful service that reaches the consumer in their mobile moment.
The Vitamin Shoppe addresses its customers' needs with an in-app rewards program. According to Rose Hamilton, the Vitamin Shoppe's Chief Digital Officer:
The new customer journey is not linear. They go all over the place, try different stores, try different products and places. We need to be present at every step, ready to accept them when they come back.
The Vitamin Shoppe's mobile app embraces the nonlinear buyer's journey by providing loyalty incentives, such as in-app coupons and a "Healthy Awards Balance" program. To attract shoppers, brands must be creative in providing services that supplement their products, which Vitamin Shoppe achieves through in-app discounts and rewards.
Mobile apps provide a window into the buyer journey. There's unlimited potential for brands to create meaningful, personalized, and exciting experiences for customers on mobile.
Learn more about how the buyer journey can help your brand improve customer experiences by downloading our webinar recap.