How Digital Design & Strategy Help Brands And Retailers Create A Total Experience

Consumers face a complex journey when they shop, especially when they go digital. They engage with sophisticated technology that has allowed them to set new norms and expectations for their shopping experience. That experience must be distinct, personalized, intuitive, data driven, and hyper-responsive – all at the same time.

A new study by Capgemini, “Elevating the Customer Experience”, addresses the challenges in this new era. Today’s customer wants a great shopping experience on any device all the time – immediate shopping at low or no cost, and he/she demands outstanding customer service.

That creates new demands on brands and retailers. Success requires much more than just a gorgeous website or the flashiest technology. It demands a thoughtful approach to design, combined with a comprehensive customer experience strategy that guides every decision about where and how a customer engages with the brand.

Bottom line, it means that success starts with the customer. He/she has to be at the center of everything and every business decision. We have to understand how the site is helping the customer move forward in the buying journey, and it’s important to realize that the journey often includes stops along the way. The customer is no longer engaged just on the website, but also uses mobile devices, tablets, or voice-connected devices. He/she may even use a brick and mortar store but still always looks for the same level of shopping ease.

To help the consumer, and ultimately be the brand they choose to shop, one needs integrated teams organized by mission rather than by function. For brands and retailers, this “design & strategy” approach has enormous rewards. It is no longer only about product or service; it is about the entire experience, and teams within the organization must work together to deliver that experience in a consistent, reliable, and unified way.

Capgemini cites several examples of brands that are doing it right. Here are a few:

·      Chicco has a visual mix of general educational and product specific content that looks more like a magazine than a website.

·      Build a Bear Workshop has a specially designed path that guides customers on their own unique buying journey.

·      Hibbett Sports has a visually stunning mobile-responsive digital experience.

·      Hawes & Curtis launched a holistic affiliate marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy that aligns closely with the company’s media and PR strategies.

·      NYDJ now has full-width imagery, optimized pages, and seamless content transitions to give its shoppers the ability to engage like never before.

The report states that e-commerce will continue to get faster and more tailored to the individual consumer. To succeed in this environment, the report recommends that a true consumer experience comes first. It recommends that everyone take steps to validate every assumption about what a customer wants. The infrastructure must ensure that customers receive what they want when they want it. After all, customers have been trained to expect the same level of ease in all aspects of their daily lives and make no exception when they shop.

The excellent report is by Capgemini, a French multinational corporation that is a leader in consulting, technology services, and digital transformation. It is headquartered in Paris and operates in 40 countries worldwide. It has 200,000 employees, of which 100,000 live in India. The report gives credence to the need for companies to develop a more sophisticated digital environment so they can create a more personalized shopping experience. That type of customer-centered strategy will determine their success.

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