Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Seamless Model: Evolving Beyond One Size Fits All

By: Gina Joseph, Communications Manager, inContext Solutions 

When stores and CPGs think about the ways they can engage the customer, many things probably come to mind: creating compelling in-store signage, using mobile apps, providing expert customer support, and interacting on social, just to name a few. These are known as touchpoints; engagement points designed to make sure your shopper is aware of your brand.

But how do we make all those touchpoints come together in a seamless way?

Unveiling the people behind the curtain

At their OmniShopper 2015 conference session, Scott Jeffrey and Lori Parrett of Interbrand Design Forum talked about the idea of “seamless” shopper experiences. These experiences happen in part because shoppers are happy and satisfied with a brand, without knowing all the intricacies of why. They know they are loyal customers or advocates of certain brands and retailers, but they never have to think about the many factors that go into a seamless experience.

It’s our job as retailers and CPGs to be the people behind the curtain, making everything run smoothly.

Omnichannel is the template, Seamless is using it

The shopper journey is not linear. The reality, as Parrett put it, is that people bounce in and out of moments where they serve as the shopper, the customer and the consumer. Having multiple channels to support these moments it what creates that seamless experience.

As retailers and CPGs, we have to depict the total shopper journey—in the right moment, with the right message, and at the right place.

How to overcome the hurdles

So what are the hurdles that appear when we are trying to create these interactions? And how can we overcome them?

One such hurdle is the question of internal silos—how to make people realize that just because that’s how they’ve always done things doesn’t mean it’s the best way. These tentative adopters of new technologies and ideas can be hard to convince. Knowing the best channels to reach them at could make all the difference.

Another is data, and how it’s being used. Understanding the data available for your brand and then using it in a smart or creative way to engage your customers can make a big difference when it comes to a seamless shopper experience.

In addition, disruptors (things that pop up in the middle of a project that derails progress) and crowds (the shear amount of chatter and noise that gets in the way of your message being heard) are also hurdles to overcome. Having a plan in place to deal with derailments, and auditing your touchpoints—putting yourself in the customers shoes to gauge what will interest them—are both important when thinking about our shopper experience.

The bottom line? A “seamless” shopper experience will vary by retailer and brand as far as tone, story, and voice: but those who know their customer will be able to seamlessly create brand advocates.

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