Marketing trends, like fashion, go through different cycles. Retailers have access to many more tools. Consumers also have a corresponding number of different tools to review products, research features, and compare retailers.
The marketing world was, not too long ago, talking about content management, social media and big data. The latest trend is to move away from retail’centric marketing initiatives and more towards the Customer Experience (CX) – remember CX? Think back to the classic “The customer is always right”. This was the start of acknowledging CX, however, there appeared to be some pushing back by retailers; it seemed that the product was king.
I am not suggesting for a moment that a smile when the customer enters the business is a suitable substitute for a rubbish product – (that will work) far from it. The product still needs to be the best it can be. What we need to ensure now is that the supply of the product is appropriately bundled with the correct peripheral and support services/procedures/customer care/etc. The total package is what the consumer will see and ultimately evaluate you on.
A holistic approach to retailing, where the total is greater than the sum of the individual components, is the new marketing trend. Consumer indexes on retailer performance will soon be measured via the CX Index (CXi). If you use KPI’s, then the CXi will be an important evaluation tool.
But how does one achieve a high CXi score? Currently, the big retailers are increasing investment in consumer touch points. This is defined as all the areas where there is some sort of consumer interaction. This varies between business types and the goods and services that are offered, but could include:
Meet and Greet staff.
Additional customer service staff.
Coordinated and consistent messages across multiple platforms (online, social, signage (both dynamic and static)).
Technology upgrades to streamline processing (IT, phone systems).
Less argumentative dispute resolution processes.
Flexible trading hours.
Logistic services that fit in with consumer lifestyles.
Think that this is all pie in the sky stuff? Next time you walk past an Apple store, count the number of customer service representatives and compare this to the number of customers…. and this is in a store that effectively only has a handful of products. Are you greeted at Bunnings? Does the courier company insist that they deliver between 9-5, knowing that you are at work, and at best offer you an AM or PM delivery, but cannot tell you that until the day of delivery, and then compare them to supermarket home delivery times.
Take a realistic arm’s length view of your operations and rate yourself. If it’s all good, then don’t change a thing. If it isn’t………….