With a finite capability to meet the demands of today’s “I want it now” consumers, retailers need to consider what matters most - is it speed, convenience or free delivery?
In Econsultancy’s recent survey (Digital Intelligence Briefing) of brand marketers revealed that more marketers feel that 'optimising the customer journey across multiple touchpoints' will be 'very important', (71%) more than any other initiative on the list.
It goes without saying that to understand your entire customer journey you need to develop a collaborative approach, which takes advantage of data rich analytics across every touchpoint. Whilst this might appear to be a seemingly simple task, brand marketers revealed that creating a methodology for this can be a complex process, full of conflict and ambiguity.
Let’s dive into the key challenges that brand marketers told Econsultancy they’re facing when optimising the customer journey.
1) The corporate mind-set is the biggest obstacle when optimising the customer journey
Mapping and optimising the customer journey requires more co-operation between different departments within companies than just about anything else that they do. Sales, operations, customer service and even finance are all needed to help marketers understand the whole path to purchase and what happens post-purchase.
The best way to overcome this obstacle is to increase interdepartmental communication, and for that to happen management needs to support the marketer’s goal of mapping the customer journey.
Management then needs to communicate this goal and the associated objectives to everyone in the organisation and ‘clear the runway’ for marketers seeking access to information and customer data.
Furthermore, management can support the initiative by creating collaborative environments and increase the value of cooperation through new KPIs or even bonuses.
2) Omnichannel / multi-layer distribution makes optimising the customer journey very difficult
While convincing management to encourage collaboration within a firm is a worthwhile goal, brands face a much bigger problem with their distribution network. Distributors often see the details of the customer journey as a competitive advantage and often are unwilling to share more than sales figures.
Additionally, it was felt that many distributors are small businesses that still use offline channels for promotions, as they don’t understand online media and, therefore, find it difficult to use.
Brand marketers have a responsibility to educate retail marketers about consumer behaviour and the importance of understanding each customer touchpoint, including advertising, in-store visits, and Ecommerce. With more information, distributors may be more likely to collaborate on communication and marketing strategies with the goal of creating a better experience for target customers across every channel.
Management, which refocused on internal collaboration, would be better positioned to convince distributors that collaborating in optimising the customer journey was in everyone’s best interest.
3) The volume and variety of data make it difficult for marketers to truly understand the customer journey
Marketers are overwhelmed by data. They have customer contact data, website behavioural data, purchase data, and even post-purchase experience data. How do you integrate all this data into a single customer view, understand the whole customer journey? and then use these insights to improve the overall customer experience?
The best approach to dealing with ‘the data deluge’ is to start by looking only at the customer pain points. These are touchpoints in the customer journey where consumers are struggling to accomplish what they are trying to achieve, be it discover new products, research details, purchase, pay, or take delivery of the products.
Once pain points are understood and, ideally, resolved, then marketers can look at ‘connecting the dots’ of the entire customer journey. Through making customer problems a priority, marketers will change their organisation’s perspective from ‘product first’ to ‘customer first’ and understand better what their customers are trying to achieve. This will get the company started on the path to optimising the customer journey and, ultimately grow and succeed.
Originally published on Econsultancy.
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