Over the next 12 months, we’ll be sharing advice on how to grow and strengthen your digital business with a holistic approach to customer intelligence. Join our healthy digital transformation club to stay in the know.
Customer proximity, engagement marketing, consumer-driven innovation… 2020 is the year to take your understanding of customers to the next level. And no one knows this better than the new crop of Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) brands, who are challenging traditional digital commerce channels and reinventing the way businesses communicate, engage and connect with their customers.
A slew of big-name start-ups of the past few years have set up shop as DTC businesses. Even legacy brands like Nike are making moves to reduce their reliance on third-party vendors like Amazon. So what is behind the direct to customer marketing appeal?
In Praise of a Truer Connection With Your Customers
The name says it all. Many of the D2C newcomers are leveraging this unmediated business model to build a stronger, closer — in short, more direct — connection with their audience.
With a greater hold on consumer engagement through ownership of the whole customer journey, brands are at liberty to analyze the moments of connection to better adjust the CX to their customers’ needs and wants.
Customers in 2020 value seamlessness, yes, but also authenticity, originality, added value, and a customer experience (CX) that ticks all these boxes. Some audiences will be responsive to a company’s sustainable supply chain; others want a beauty brand designed for real people.
In the brave new D2C world, a brand’s core value proposition has to be defined (and delivered!), as it is a cornerstone of engagement marketing.
One of the benefits of all this customer closeness is that it breeds innovation. The D2C superstars, with their tight audience relationship, are leading through disruption; innovating new ways to engage customers and nurture loyalty over time.
In fact, these success stories often transcend the product that launched them in the first place. For example, on its website, Away says it makes “everything you need away, and nothing you don’t.” GoPro’s About Us page mentions “celebrating moments” and “capturing life.”
Achieving this level of connection implies a solid understanding of what matters to your target audience, which brings us to UX data.
Leveraging Behavioral Data For Greater Customer Proximity
Addressing your audience directly gives you privileged access to customer intelligence, and to the digital insights you need to optimize your CX.
Owning the end-to-end user journey affords brands exhaustive insight into their visitors’ UX — from their customer journey, to their in-page behaviors, to their interactions with individual page elements such as images, form fields, etc.
This kind of in-depth reading of your customers’ behavior will reveal your biggest experience hits and misses, flag the changes that should be prioritized and convey where your greatest opportunities lie.
After all, how can you build the ideal customer journey without a solid understanding of what your visitors are trying to achieve in the first place, or how they would prefer to go about it? The way customers move through your site and interact with it are all clues to decipher intent — itself a necessary signal for personalization and customer connection.
Aligning customer wants and a brand message via an engaging experience is something the leading D2C brands have mastered. And today, putting customer experience metrics in the hands of all those who have a stake in the CX has never been easier.
Widening access to this data is key to achieving the level of agility and excellence that customers today expect. Customer preferences fluctuate fast and furiously, and your team’s ability to keep up with them needs to be just as swift.
The DTC Approach: Putting Customers at the Heart of Things
Whatever your business model, there is much to learn from D2C brands’ commitment to customer-centricity. Developing a unique brand narrative, defining a clear value proposition and leveraging your ownership of the customer journey to improve the digital experience for all visitors are just some of the ways you can increase customer engagement.
In the end, all roads lead back to customer experience analytics. Whether you want to control the creative concepts or the technical aspects of your UX, a surefire way to unlock actionable insights is through the use of metrics that capture the nuances of human digital behavior. Does your message resonate? Are you helping visitors achieve their goals? Is your digital experience (DX) frustrating or delightful? There’s much to discover on how your visitors are using your digital properties.
So go ahead, sow your wild oats via a DTC approach and stay informed on your experiences and customer behavior. After all, the ‘20s are here. Let’s make them roaring for your UX.
Want to learn about how our DTC clients leveraged smart UX analytics to improve their content and ROI goals? Download our DTC report.Driving Personalization through Marketing and A/B Testing
This article was written by our partner REO, as part of our series highlighting direct insights from our large ecosystem of partners.
In 2019, for the first time ever, digital ad spend represented more than 50% of total global marketing spend. Whilst the UK was considerably ahead of this trend (63.8% of UK’s total ad spend was attributed to digital in 2018, 66.4% in 2019), the US has now joined the group with online ad spend going from 48.6% in 2018 to 54.2% in 2019. With eMarketer forecasting a 17.6% year-on-year growth (to $333.25M) in worldwide digital marketing spend, the need to ensure each of your marketing channels is delivering the best possible ROI has never been higher.
Within the conversion rate optimization (CRO) space, most brands conduct A/B testing without fully considering which marketing channel or source their customers have come from. Customers are typically bucketed into various user segments based on their purchase history, onsite behavior, geographic and demographic data. However, users within the same audience segment can often demonstrate varying behavioral attributes when navigating through the purchase funnel, across countless online and offline touchpoints.
Let’s Take Paid Search as An Example
If a user arrives on your website via paid search, you already know what they searched for and which ad they clicked on; however, users who click on the same ad, but searched for different terms/items, will often experience the same customer journey. For instance, if a customer has searched for “luxury men’s white shirt” – not only do you know the item they are looking for, you also know they are looking at the higher end of the market.
A/B Testing the landing page a user is taken to is quite common, but you can go a step further and explore how to change the experience for the customer based on their search criteria.
A potential testing idea could involve pre-sorting these shirts by highest price first, and on the Product Listing Page (PLP), displaying all the available men’s white shirts. This can develop into personalization if the user has visited the site previously, within the cookie period; e.g. by storing size data within the cookie, you could pre-select the shirt size which the user filtered by on their previous visit.
Reducing the number of clicks and filters it takes a user to find their item can only have a positive impact on conversion rate, especially on mobile. So, by showing a customer the items they’re looking for, sorted by their desired price point and filtered by their size, you will make the purchase journey more tailored to that specific customer.
Understanding a visitor’s context (location, date and time of day, device, internet connection, etc) as well as their intent (are they here to complete a quick purchase, to research and compare products, to seek inspiration, to test a coupon, etc) add an invaluable layer of behavioral understanding to your analysis, and will allow you to execute a more impactful form of personalization.
Making the Affiliation between A/B Testing and Voucher/Cashback Partners
By applying this testing method to the affiliate channel, you can optimize the largest click and revenue drivers; namely voucher and cashback websites. After all, you can already assume that users coming from these two affiliate types are both online-savvy and price-sensitive.
Voucher and discount websites should have a conversion rate of at least 20-25% on mature affiliate programs – so any of these affiliates who have a conversion rate lower than that, represents an opportunity for incremental revenue. For cashback sites, expect this figure to be upwards of 40%.
A test idea for these two affiliate types could be to re-enforce the discount or cashback offer listed on the affiliates’ website. For instance, if the deal was “Save £15 when you spend over £100” – you could use a “loading bar” at the top of the page which gradually fills up as you add items to your basket, until the user hits the spend threshold to activate the discount.
For cashback sites, you could test a cashback calculator onsite, which automatically calculates the amount of cashback the user will earn if they purchase everything currently in their basket. This type of gamification can be incredibly effective in increasing the number of units per sale and, in turn, the average order value.
Serve Less Content, but More Dynamically
“Content is King” – we’ve all heard it before, but how can you be smarter in how you serve it? Content, and specifically dynamic content, is another channel where source-based A/B testing can improve engagement, click-through-rates and leads/ sales. If you know the article or blog post a user has come from, you can use this insight to serve them relevant and dynamic content, making their customer journey more seamless and less detached across the two sites.
User journey analysis shows that visits to content sites usually happen in the “Discovery Phase” of the sales funnel – including on product review sites, influencer social posts, news/magazine sites and blogs. Such content is informative and persuasive; perfect to push the user towards the bottom of the funnel.
Some of the more content-heavy merchants, such as insurance brands or high-end technology retailers, will have an eclectic and extensive array of content across their website, making navigation more muddled. A solution? Reducing the amount of content on-site and instead, storing the less frequently visited content pages elsewhere, to then be served dynamically.
For example, if a user looking to buy insurance is reading up on excess and the impacts it has on a claim and future premiums, the existing content about excess could be tweaked accordingly – which could be as simple as changing the title of an article, calling out the keywords or changing the order of the content on that page.
Again, a granular analysis of how customers are interacting with individual elements of content will help paint the complete picture of engagement. Measuring clicks alone will only tell one part of the customer behavior story: tracking metrics such as exposure, attractiveness and conversion rate per click (to name a few) will give a more complete view of how content is contributing to (or stalling) the user journey.
As the capabilities of A/B testing and personalization platforms continue to evolve, the way you test and analyze a customer journey should follow suit. One of the major challenges of channel/source-specific testing can be a lack of traffic volume. If you have insufficient traffic, it will take a while before a test reaches significance. For example, the 5th highest paid search term, or 4th largest voucher site probably won’t have the volume to justify running an A/B Test on.
Want to Know More?
Contact us! REO is a digital experience agency. We are an eclectic mix of bright and creative thinkers, embracing the best of research, strategy, design and experimentation to solve our clients’ toughest challenges. We work across a variety of sectors, with companies such as Amazon, M&S, Tesco and Samsung.
Also invaluable to our company is our scope of partners, including Contentsquare, which allows our customers to capture the nuances of their end users’ behavior for even more sophisticated segmentation and ultimately, deeper personalization.
Whatever the challenge may be, REO applies design thinking to identify and deliver big growth opportunities.
Hero image: Adobe Stock, via blankstockDigital Predictions: Recipes for Conversion Health in 2020
You’ve spent the last few weeks making merry with friends and family, and it’s likely you overindulged. Today, you don’t want to look at another cookie, and you’ve swapped the booze for green juice. You’ve resolved to fill the next decade with yoga and maybe even meditation.
But what are you going to do to improve your digital strategy in 2020? How are you going to go about building a healthier, nourishing, more blissful experience for your customers?
Here is our roundup of 7 trends we think should guide your digital resolutions this year.
1. The experience wars heat up
The numbers have been out for a while: the gulf between businesses’ perception of their own customer satisfaction versus the consumer’s reality is widening. On the other hand, brands that are synonymous with excellent Customer Experience (CX) are reaping outsized benefits. According to a Forrester report, insight-driven companies are growing 7-10x faster than the average enterprise.
The key to a great CX lies with… your customers. The new standards of experience demand greater, smarter customer proximity — one that hinges on a true understanding of what your audience expects and how it wants to connect with you in 2020 and beyond. If you choose not to go all-in on creating an unexpectedly great experience this year, you do so at your own peril.
2. Leaders scramble for new metrics
Knowing how your brand stacks up to customer expectations — and how many different factors from price, to app ease of use, to customer support — contribute to the experience is still a challenge. This is the year many digital professionals will rebel and demand meaningful analytics that are easy-to-consume. Many brands are finding themselves constrained by old metrics, which can tell you how many people visited your site, and how many converted, but don’t offer many clues as to why they left without buying, or if a purchase was in fact the primary goal of their visit.
When it comes to understanding customers, metrics such as content attractiveness and engagement, friction scores and even an objective measure of consumers’ Digital Happiness paints the story between the clicks. You’ll see more CX Index and e-NPS type metrics coming out from agencies, consulting firms and analytics players this year to help meet the demand.
Having access to a system of insights that can capture the nuances and fluctuations of customer behavior, and translate these into actions is how you turn customer intelligence into intelligent CX.
3. More brands flip the acquisition model
Digital teams understand that getting as many people as possible through the door is no longer a viable business strategy. It’s simply too expensive and it is not in fact, a customer-centric approach. Why invite someone in unless you can actually deliver value to them? More brands are shifting their focus to analyzing what happens once customers are on their site in order to better understand who they should be marketing to in the first place, and how.
Think about it — not everyone will want to convert on your site (maybe they’re here to check out in-store availability, use the store locator, etc), and those who do will have a specific customer agenda (they might want to see if a coupon works, to check out fast on their smartphone, etc). The key is to understand: 1) what are your high-value segments, 2) how they like to browse.
By analyzing and understanding the journeys and behavior of customers who are already on your site or app, you can surface intelligence about what they’re trying to do, and in turn, use this intelligence to target specific segments with highly relevant experiences. Don’t forget: the best remedy for churn is a relevant customer experience.
4. Smarter content
Which brings us to content (…don’t all roads lead to content?).
Businesses invest a ton of time and resources into creating content that communicates the brand’s offering and helps customers connect with their values. But how do you measure the impact of content decisions? How do you know what content to display for which audience? How do you maximize your creative investments and merchandising strategy?
Well, it goes back to those smarter metrics. Your customers are giving you real-time feedback on your content with every swipe, tap, scroll, click, etc — each element of your site is either a relevant step in the journey, a distraction, or worse, an obstacle. Customer journey insights are finally becoming operational at scale. And, advanced AI-driven analytics will help translate this customer feedback into actions your team can take to improve the experience and your bottom line. Don’t be left behind.
5. Personalization partners with privacy
Brands in 2020 are going to become better at combining their personalization efforts with their customers’ privacy concerns. Why? Because consumers today want more of both. High profile data breaches and an overload of personalized marketing that isn’t in fact that relevant have made consumers wary of oversharing in the digital world.
But is it really possible to personalize without personal info? We think it is. The beauty of behavioral data is that it delivers on both these demands: privacy and personalization.
Because one consumer does not equate one way to browse a website. And just because a brand knows your name, birthday, address and a few of your interests, doesn’t mean they know what drives you crazy when you’re trying to refill a standing cat food order on your mobile. By analyzing and aggregating the behavior of specific customer segments (based on their context and intent) digital teams can unlock a much deeper, truer type of personalization than that made possible by demographic data.
And if you are going to collect data, the key is to use it well. Be transparent and clear about any request for personal information — customers are often willing to give information that is genuinely going to add value for them.
6. D2C is the new flagship store
Marketplaces don’t afford brands the same level of control over the end-to-end customer experience as direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketing. By entrusting others to promote and sell their products or services, businesses are not only settling for lower margins; they’re essentially giving away crucial customer intelligence they could be using to elevate and personalize the brand experience.
And when you’re competing on experience, as brands are today, owning the relationship with your customers so you can better meet their needs and expectations — and strengthen your community at the same time — is crucial.
This isn’t an entirely new phenomenon, and it’s not only reserved for new, agile startup companies. Leading brands like GoPro have shifted their strategy, and are putting more emphasis on owning the end to end experience, and cultivating a meaningful, enduring relationships with their customers on their digital properties.
7. Inclusivity becomes core to your digital strategy
According to the CDC, one in 4 U.S. adults has a disability that impacts major life activities. So if your website and app are not accessible to everyone, that’s 61 million people (in America only) you’re not including in your CX decisions.
The good news is when you design for disability first, you often come up with solutions that are more advanced and smarter than if you hadn’t. Brands everywhere are putting innovation at the service of inclusivity, and are leveraging new technology to future-proof the CX, improve accessibility, and ensure customer-centricity is not just for some, but for everyone.
We’re heading into a new decade of innovation, digital creativity and intelligent technology. Your best strategists in 2020 and beyond will be your own customers. The key will be to tune into their expectations and align your experience strategy with their goals.
It’s time to get a new yoga mat, and a new solution to translate customer behavior into profitable CX actions. As you navigate your favorite sites to find the first, think of the dozens of micro-decisions you take as a consumer: click on this image over that one, filter by size, give up halfway through a scroll, login as guest, etc.
We help brands make the journey to digital wellness more seamless and satisfying. The rest is up to you.
Hero Image via Shutterstock, by Boiarkina MarinaDriving Innovation: How Brooks Bell is Helping Brands Achieve Experimentation Excellence
Can you tell us a bit more about Brooks Bell?
Founded in 2003, Brooks Bell is a consulting firm focused on building world-class experimentation programs for enterprise brands.
Working out of our headquarters in Raleigh, NC, we’ve spent the last 16 years helping companies better leverage their data, technology, and workforce to learn about their customers and deliver a smarter and more profitable online experience.
Our team is 43-strong and made up of creative thinkers, data scientists, developers and strategists. Everyone—from our operations team to our senior leadership—has a genuine appreciation for the art and science of optimization and a deep understanding of the challenges of experimentation at top-tier companies.
Our client roster consists of many large enterprises and recognizable brands that have trusted our team to assess their experimentation maturity and consult on multi-year “test and learn” roadmaps to achieve true customer-centricity.
What are some of the different ways you work with businesses?
Most of our engagements begin with a maturity assessment to benchmark and measure the growth of an experimentation program. This comprehensive, data-driven review scores your program against our proprietary framework consisting of six main categories: culture, team, technology, process, strategy and performance. The results of this assessment are used to create an actionable roadmap to get your program to the next level. What that roadmap looks like and the scope of our services depends on where your program lies on the maturity spectrum.
For clients that are very early in their experimentation journey, we offer a “we do, they watch” type of partnership. In this, our team comes in and fully manages a client’s experimentation program: learning their business and customers, organizing data, building a strategy, launching tests and analyzing and reporting the results. This partnership model is most effective for programs that need to prove the value of testing before going all in.
For clients that are a little further along, we take a more collaborative approach focused on educating what is needed to build a high-functioning program In this type of partnership, our team works alongside theirs. As we run end-to-end tests, we teach the team our methodologies, practices and frameworks. Through this model, we’re able to build the foundational knowledge and practices to set the experimentation program up for scale.
Finally, as the experimentation practice becomes more mature, we transition our services to be less tactical and more strategic. We’ve helped many clients bring their experimentation efforts fully in-house through building training and on-boarding programs, aligning the experimentation process across teams, establishing an Experimentation Center of Excellence, and offering strategic advice in response to new trends, technologies and business challenges.
How critical is experimentation for driving innovation today?
Critical is putting it lightly.
In order to compete in today’s market, companies need to have a scientifically sound method in place to learn about customers, to change and to innovate—all while limiting risk, streamlining operations and reducing costs. Experimentation offers the best way to accomplish all of that.
That means, for us, our value is not simply in running tests and helping our clients make more money—though that is definitely a major outcome of our efforts (and one that we’re very proud of). Rather, our work is about empowering our clients with the data, skills, processes and technology to use testing to glean powerful customer insights AND operationalize those insights across your entire organization.
How do you help brands elevate their experimentation/personalization strategy?
Our Maturity Assessment is really only the tip of the iceberg here. Over the last 16 years, we’ve built and honed many frameworks, training programs, practices and even proprietary technology to help our clients elevate their testing and personalization strategies.
For instance, after witnessing some very messy brainstorming sessions, we developed our ideation methodology, which provides a guided approach to developing and prioritizing test ideas in a large, cross-functional group.
Our Insights framework offers a method for connecting your experiment results to bigger picture customer theories and insights.
And finally, we built Illuminate™, our testing and insight management software, to help program managers store, share and learn from their A/B test results. Fun fact: Illuminate was originally built as an internal tool to help us keep track of our client’s tests. In 2018, after many years of tweaking, testing, gathering feedback (and some rave reviews from our clients), we decided to make it available to the public.
These are just a few examples of how we provide value to clients. I should also add that we host Click Summit, an annual conference where digital leaders gather to swap ideas and share tips on testing, personalization, analytics, and digital transformation.
Click Summit trades in all the typical things you’d find at a tech conference: sales pitches, powerpoint presentations and fireside “chats” held in giant auditoriums. Instead, the agenda is built around a series of small-group (15 people) conversations, each focused on a specific topic.
With attendance is limited to just 100 digital leaders, it’s a unique opportunity to tackle your biggest challenges by talking it out with people who have been there before.
What constitutes a good partnership for you?
We love partnering with companies and tech providers (like Contentsquare!) who share our vision of helping our clients find the people within their data and seek to make every day better through optimization.
There are tons of ways in which we can translate Contentsquare’s excellent user experience analytics into optimization opportunities.
Here are a few off the top of my head:
- Defining and prioritizing your customer segments, uncovering answers to complex questions about your customers and their journeys to and through your website
- Uncovering and optimizing the most profitable areas of your website, as well as solving complex UX issues
- Building a testing or personalization roadmap using data from Contentsquare as well as other sources
What are your plans for the future?
When Brooks Bell was founded back in 2003, testing was in its infancy. Now, it’s rare that we come across a client that hasn’t run at least a few tests. This is exciting! It means we get to focus on working even closer with our clients and making a bigger impact.
I’m talking more than just conversion increases and revenue lift. The task before us no longer ends at proving the value of experimentation. We’re now in the business of generating insights. By helping companies learn about their customers and fostering experimentation at a cultural level, our clients will be equipped to deliver the best digital experience for their customers.
Investing in experimentation requires taking both a short and long-term view. We look forward to celebrating the day-to-day wins with our community, while also staying focused on the vision of building customer-centric, digitally-forward and insights-driven organizations.
How We’re Empowering Brands to Improve Lives Through Digital Experiences
By Lucie Buisson, VP of Product, Contentsquare
At Contentsquare, we envision a world where every digital interaction improves lives. As we spend more and more time online these days, it’s important to us that the experience is meaningful.
But today, the digital world is plagued by poor experiences. Brands have traditionally been unable to deliver the experiences customers want online because they haven’t been able to easily understand what their customers really want. It’s not just about making sure your customers can find the right product pages or the contact us page — it’s much more nuanced than that. Your customer’s changeable mindset and intent can completely change their behavior online, and most brands can’t tailor the experience needed on demand.
But we do believe that brands have the ability to improve people’s lives. Making the time you spend online more meaningful doesn’t have to be impossible — and so our strategy for achieving our vision has always been to empower brands with unique behavioral insights to create better experiences.
To that end, we took the strategic decision to acquire experience analytics company Clicktale in July 2019. While both Contentsquare and Clicktale are rooted in customer behavioral data and insights, Clicktale’s session replay and heatmaps complement Contentsquare’s page zoning and customer journeys capabilities. Today, just 90 days after that acquisition, we are releasing major new capabilities of the Contentsquare platform, which includes innovation driven by the combined R&D and product team of more than 170 innovators strong.
9 trillion reasons to use Contentsquare
Now, we can confidently offer the most complete experience analytics platform on the market. None of our competitors can give you the level of insight into your customer behavior we can thanks in part to the fact that our solution analyses 9 trillion digital interactions every day for each of our customers.
Now, the combined product is the only complete system of insight that offers brands the ability to do all of the following:
- Surface customer behavior insights easily through intuitive visualizations and behavioral anomaly detection, so you never miss an opportunity to improve the experience
- Identify and prioritize innovations to accelerate growth by better analyzing the performance and revenue potential of experiments, content, marketing and merchandising
- Troubleshoot user experience issues, connecting to voice-of-the-customer technology and alerting on abnormal changes in online behavior
- Quantify and predict the financial impact of potential actions you can take to improve experience
- Activate contextual personalization with third-party systems by aligning experiences with actual customer behavior rather than less meaningful attributes like demographics or gender
No other solution can give you a better level of insight to help you understand and create insight-driven innovation.
Into the future — where our product will sit within the customer touchpoints ecosystem
Improving any kind of digital experience, whether it’s on desktop, mobile or any other channel, starts with collecting the right kind of behavioral data. Customers behave differently depending on the touchpoint you interact with them on, and so it’s important to measure precisely how those customers are using your channels so you can tailor the experience accordingly.
And behaviors won’t necessarily stay the same over time, either, so simply analyzing behavior just once won’t be enough. You need to continuously measure behavior over time so you can tailor your experience to whatever nuanced behavioral changes your customers portray.
But the touchpoints themselves are starting to evolve. In the next three years or so, we’re going to see a shift in the types of interactions between brands and customers. By 2021, experiences will be more conversational, mobile, personalized, social and immersive. All these trends are going to transform the customer touchpoints ecosystem, whether it’s the brand’s own digital channels, physical channels, third-party channels or marketplaces.
If you want to create a great overall experience for your customers, you can’t solely focus on your own digital channels like your desktop and mobile sites. You have to provide a consistent experience across all touchpoints, and do the marketing basics (like providing the right product at the right price) well. That’s why our vision for our product is to help you with a significant proportion of those touchpoints — beyond just digital.
Once you’re measuring all your channels though, the key, of course, is to unify all that data and product intuitive visualizations so even the non-digital business units in your organization can understand it and draw insights from it. Only then can we start to realize a vision where digital interactions improve lives — when the whole organization is on board.
Those organizations that lead on digital experience tend to see benefits of 3–5x on measures such as lead generation, conversion, price premiums and loyalty as a result of offering a great experience across the board. And customers are more likely to pay a premium price when they have a great experience versus a poor one.
At Contentsquare, we can help you to compete with the digital leaders, and help you gain an insight into your customers like never before. Request a demo to find out how.Is Disruption Coming To The Auto Sector? We Quizzed Two Experts For Their Viewpoints
The end of dealerships, online vehicle shopping, pure players, smart cars… Has the auto sector been speeding down the digital transformation highway? We quizzed two digital auto experts to find out how disruptive the auto industry is about to get…
Our first interview is with Jérôme Jean, Digital & Regional Marketing Manager of Toyota in France. Interviewed by David Robin, Associate Director of Colombus Consulting, we learned about the automotive landscape in the digital space.
Colombus Consulting: Let’s dive straight in. What does a successful customer experience (CX) in the auto sector look like?
Jérôme Jean: It’s pretty simple: it’s an experience that is completely linear — from the search engine or website all the way to the dealership visit. These last few years, Toyota has focused heavily on digital to improve the customer journey.
It was crucial for auto manufacturers, whose distribution network has not evolved in 30 years, to become more agile. The aim was to offer a renewed buying experience with a mainly digital pre-sale journey.
We thought about how we positioned our brand and our vehicles at every touchpoint. What experience do we want our customers to have in the dealership? And today we have a new challenge: customers show up very well informed and really challenge our salespeople…
Particularly nowadays, competition is so fierce…
Yes, that’s true of other manufacturers’ eCommerce platforms, but also with pure players who have a radically different approach. There is also one thing no competitor can get around: having actual dealerships so that customers can have a live experience and “feel” the product.
So does that mean the auto sector is moving from hardware to software..?
Yes, absolutely. First of all because you need to add a digital dimension to the dealership experience, which requires having one single database — in our case, Salesforce.
The software is going to continue to evolve fast with smart cars. Tomorrow, diagnosis, preventive interventions, vehicle upgrades — all of those will happen remotely. The auto sector’s approach to marketing will shift increasingly to mobile. We will be able to offer new apps and services to make our customers’ lives easier. Manufacturers will finally connect with their customers on a daily basis.
“The auto sector’s approach to marketing will shift increasingly to mobile.”
Where are we at with online sales today?
The online retail market is gaining traction. All manufacturers, especially in England and Scandinavia, have been testing online sales of new vehicles. 2020 will be a pivotal year with the emergence of online sales platforms. The real question is: what is being sold? Selling new vehicles is the Holy Grail… except that today, the used vehicle market is much more mature. But will it work? I don’t think that online sales will dominate the market or spell the end of dealerships. In my opinion, digital will be one extra sales channel that will hopefully allow us to market to a younger customer base.
Next, our own Geoffrey Vion interviewed Brice Renvoizé, Digital & Experience Manager at SEAT Groupe Volkswagen on marketing, data and CX in the automotive sector.
Contentsquare: How did SEAT restructure to meet the digital challenges of a fast-evolving sector?
Brice Renvoizé: We transformed our digital marketing strategy 2 years ago, with a restructuring of teams based on data and customer experience. Today, our Influence division is responsible for increasing brand awareness and our Digital Customer Experience division is in charge of optimizing the customer journey. The customer journey is changing fast and we’re seeing a decline in dealership visits.
Has this changed your mission at all?
Our objective today is to prove the business value of digital, and to drive more traffic to our dealerships, which is where 100% of our sales still happen. Drive to Store is our main KPI and all our digital innovation takes into account the dealerships as a key part of the buyer journey.
The SEAT ID is an example of how our digital strategy is evolving. This unique client/prospect identifier will remove all barriers between our digital interfaces, dealerships and smart cars. It guarantees a friction-free experience in both the physical and digital world — it’s the ability to keep members in our ecosystem, which includes offering new services.
Yes, third-party services (music streaming, paying for gas…) are included in a monthly payment thanks to the connectivity revolution in the auto sector.
On the product side, we’ve already disrupted the status quo by launching a “no strings attached” car. A Netflix-type subscription where you can return/exchange your car and change your mileage — all this in an easy way, with no fees. Every last obstacle in the experience has been removed! With this level of service, we’re answering the needs of the new generation, who is more interested in usage than ownership.
Will people be buying their car online anytime soon?
No, not yet. We all still need contact with a product that remains a unique type of purchase. But digital can simplify the process: online deals with financing offers, estimates for a trade-in…
So it’s not the end of dealerships just yet… But how do they connect to digital?
We can remove the barriers between the two. We measure showroom visits that come from mobile traffic. The information shared during the experience on seat.fr. makes it easier for the vendor to understand the client.
The experience both online and offline still needs to improve thanks to considerable personalization. The key to personalization will be customer ID and data.
Can you describe your data strategy?
It helps us save on acquisition and focus instead on conversions. How? By personalizing messages depending on profiles and segments, by way of optimizing touchpoints to increase conversions. Ads we will go even further with the SEAT ID and the smart car. Today, data is used for marketing, tomorrow it will be used for business and service.
Hero image credit: SergeyBitos, Adobe StockUX Spotlight: Product Discovery Quizzes – Dermalogica and Clinique Personalize the Search (and Conversion) Process – tr
In the UX Spotlight series, I post weekly on UX features that impressed me online, and are great examples and inspiration for anyone looking to enhance their digital user experience.
Today’s online shoppers have more choice than ever, which means that there is truly something for everyone, but it also means customers are sometimes overwhelmed by choice paralysis.
Back in the brick-and-mortar days, in-person salespeople would help shoppers out by asking the right questions to get to the bottom of what a shopper truly needed and which products would best suit them. Online, with too many options and no personal guidance, the customer journey can slow down significantly – or come to a complete halt.
IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT DIGITAL EXPERIENCES STEP UP AND SERVE AS THE FRIENDLY, EXPERT SALES PERSON THROUGH EASY-TO-NAVIGATE, INFORMATIVE GUIDANCE FOR SHOPPERS.
That’s why it’s so imperative that digital experiences step up and serve as the friendly, expert sales person through easy-to-navigate, informative guidance for shoppers. One great approach to this process is product discovery quizzes.
This week I highlight Dermalogica and Clinique, two skin care companies who both nail the product discovery quiz in different ways.
The UX Element: Both Dermalogica and Clinique offer interactive quizzes to help customers pinpoint the right products for their skincare needs.
Dermalogica offers a short, quick, streamlined survey to narrow down the body of products that may suit a shopper. In their “speed mapping skin analysis,” which is easily found on their homepage, customers answer 4-6 questions about their age and skin concerns, and Dermalogica offers a “skin analysis,” including a video about the body of products that best suits the shopper, and different skin regimens and products that match the customer’s answers.
Clinique offers a longer, more in-depth quiz, with a variety of different questions and answer mechanisms, such as slide bars and color gradients, which keep the survey engaging and fun. From the homepage, shoppers can click “skincare” and then “customized solutions for every skin.”
Several questions later, Clinique offers a specific set of products that address a pinpointed problem.
The Impact: In the Dermalogica quiz, customers are quickly directed to the right product category for them. In less than one minute, customers can go from not even knowing where to click, to honing in on a personalized category page.
IN LESS THAN ONE MINUTE, CUSTOMERS CAN GO FROM NOT EVEN KNOWING WHERE TO CLICK, TO HONING IN ON A PERSONALIZED CATEGORY PAGE.
In the Clinique quiz, customers take their time answering progressively personalized questions, resulting in a small number of very precise products being offered to them based on their answers. With a little more time investment, customers have their shopping baskets offered up on a silver platter. They just have to add to cart.
Both quizzes offer their results in bundles, which is a great opportunity for brands to upsell. Now that customers are invested in their needs and had those needs verified and validated, it’s the perfect time to offer them the complete solution to their quest.
The Takeaway: First, let’s talk about the fact that people love online quizzes. Even those consumers who come to an eCommerce site purely to browse can be drawn in by the lure of getting to be a little introspective and find out something new about themselves. Being asked questions about yourself is fun, especially aspects of yourself you might not normally think about, which both of these quizzes tap into.
WE AUTOMATICALLY PLACE HIGHER VALUE ON ITEMS IN OUR POSSESSION, OR ITEMS WE DON’T OWN YET BUT WE ASSUME WILL IMPROVE OUR LIVES IF WE DID.
Second, individuals love things that they own or that are assigned to them. We automatically place higher value on items in our possession, or items we don’t own yet but we assume will improve our lives if we did. By designating these items as specifically selected for a customer based on their unique traits or feelings, the items are instantly more valuable in the eyes of the consumer.
Although both of these examples are for skincare, this strategy could be adopted for nearly any field, from travel sites looking to help customers find the right destinations to car dealerships looking to suggest the perfect vehicle for a unique consumer – and help them schedule a test drive for it.
It’s important, of course, that any quiz mechanism is optimized for mobile. With 60% of visitors to eCommerce sites on mobile these days, any process that could speed and simplify the customer journey is a great boon for mobile users, and should be designed with them in mind.
This is the job that salespeople used to do, smiling at a customer across the department store makeup counter and making it easy, pleasant, and even fun for shoppers to narrow their search and hone in on the right product for them. Now, through tools like product discovery quizzes, UX can carry that torch.
I am always on the lookout for UX innovation. If you come across a digital experience that stands out, please send it over to [email protected]