The importance of CX - Q&A with award-winning global digital commerce agency, Overdose
Times have undoubtedly changed in the retail industry and the need for marketers across the board to create and sustain engagement with every customer is pivotal, especially on the digital front. It’s clear that the step-and-repeat process that previously might have worked, simply will not now – the customer experiences must be reimagined altogether.
With retail being so easily accessible, generally in the form of a device in hand, obtaining and retaining customers is even more important. And in order to successfully do this brands must have CX (customer experience) front of mind. A recent Australian report has identified three key areas that marketers need to execute to successfully retain customers and win new ones in today’s dynamic marketplace – they are:
- Customer data – gathering first-party data
- Content – rich content with compelling storytelling and brand consistency
- Privacy mindset – only 55% of Australian consumers trust that all brands will handle their personal data properly
We’ve heard it once, and we’ll hear it again- content is king. 91% of Australian marketers say they struggle to create content that can be rapidly released across all their digital platforms. The increased demand for content creation and efficiencies around these processes is forcing brands to look outside the traditional ways of creating content, and introducing new technologies to the market such as the StyleShoots technology.
With all of these hard hitting facts, it’s no wonder brands find it difficult to keep up and ensure their CX is delivering as it should. We decided to turn to the experts, our friends at global digital commerce agency, Overdose, and ask them about changes in the market, and any advice they have for brands to maintain positive CX.
Q1. What do you see at the major shift brands are taking to level up their CX?
Understanding the audience and their behaviours are crucial to give a deeper understanding to enhance your customer experience.
Owning your customer data with a good CRM is also essential in 2022, and email will continue to be one of the most important channels to reach your customers. Growing this channel should be a high priority for all brands.
A first-party (1P) data strategy is critical to offset ad cost increases, by collecting as much 1P data as possible in a privacy-centric way and using this to supercharge marketing platforms to minimise wastage. The iOS14 update in 2021 significantly disrupted Facebook marketing, and Google will eventually follow suit with a similar update as it moves away from traditional cookie tracking in the Chrome browser. As such, brands will need greater ownership of their customer data. User-generated content, customised and personalised using 1P data, is key to help connect users with relevant products.
Marketing automation and CDP platforms (Customer Data Platforms) allow brands to leverage predictive marketing and analytics, building lookalike audiences based on known customer attributes for targeting in ad platforms (such as the new Klaviyo/Google Ads integration), and interactivity, polls, AR/VR, to generate more customer insights as to how they interact with emails and provide data.
Content is king. Not only are there a number of SEO benefits, but rich content and story-telling has an important role in educating and enticing consumers to transact. Brand-building and digital storytelling are concepts used by the best brands in ecommerce, and video content will continue to be crucial to capture the attention of users, and will open up greater opportunities to reach customers across a range of platforms – such as Youtube. Content should be focused on how your products can provide value to the customer and be highly relatable. People continue to demand that media be inclusive, representative & real. Nowadays, brands are quickly picked out for being artificial, which creates difficulty for a customer to connect with as they struggle to resonate with how the brand stands on representation topics.
Trust and on-site credibility play a significant role in ensuring users feel safe for brands to use their data. Trust is difficult to achieve, especially for new customers. Contextual language is vital. Adidas executes this well by applying customer-centric content – “Help us create your Adidas experience”.
Q2. For some SMEs these could present as quite big obstacles (albeit opportunities), what would your advice be on the importance of getting this right?
Focus on getting the basics right first and foremost. Understandably, digital is evolving daily. It’s easy to be distracted by the latest and greatest features. Don’t neglect the foundations. Collect your first-party data, analyse the behaviour and produce quality content to have an optimal baseline experience. Future improvements can be implemented when the foundations are correctly applied.
Q3. Brand is an integral part of business strategy and success – what advice would you give to a business wanting to maintain or develop a consistent brand message, appearance and experience across all touchpoints? How does this help or improve CX?
Review your brand perception, identify your brand values and messaging on all mediums. Reflect on your customer’s perception of the brand to identify the gaps to close.
Consistency is a primary reason for customers to connect and remain loyal. It can take five interactions before a user remembers your brand, hence the importance of consistency across all touch points.
This drives customer satisfaction and trust to build long-term relationships with your consumers.
The use of ‘always on’ advertising alongside promotional activity is also key to continually building brand awareness, engagement and conversion through a layered marketing funnel. This ensures new customers are constantly introduced to the brand with content that is relevant to the audience. Tone of voice and visual style should always be consistent between marketing and the on-site experience to ensure core messaging and positioning lands effectively to drive sales.
Q4. How important is content in terms of CX?
Quality brand content plays a crucial role in the success of any ecommerce business; consumers are looking for trustworthy, accurate, easy-to-understand information to make an educated purchase. Ensuring the content throughout the site is accessible to customers of all knowledge levels and experience is crucial. This means getting rid of any jargon-heavy content and replacing it with information that resonates with your audiences.
Buying online takes away the user’s ability to physically touch and feel a product, meaning that product descriptions are one of the most impactful pieces of content that customers will use when looking to buy a product. Product descriptions are a key area where brands can highlight their tone of voice to communicate who they are and what they represent, allowing the consumer to build trust within the brand.
Trust and credibility are one of the most powerful qualities a site can withhold. High-quality user-generated content, and honest customer reviews are two key forms of content that help to build the trust, credibility and online presence that customers want to gain before making an online purchase. Ensuring this content is highlighted in key areas that are commonly engaged in the users browsing behaviour.
Product imagery is often used as the primary way for users to form an opinion on a product without having the ability to physically touch it. High-quality, detailed, and in-scale product photography is the best way for users to gain a rich visual understanding of the product.
Q5. What factors should be considered when thinking about content planning/creation/execution and CX? Ie. agility, efficiency, quality vs quantity
Compare an in-store experience for a fashion retailer – you should never see clothing unironed or dirty. The same perception needs to be reflected on digital with quality visuals and content to entice the customer’s interest to purchase. It’s a balance between quality vs quantity online as both are important and are understandably one of many SME businesses’ greatest challenges.
Start with getting the fundamentals right first. Ensure your content genuinely represents the quality of the product, and there is enough visual content to showcase all the product features.
Once the fundamentals are optimal, you can improve the experience further by looking at other methods to encourage engagement, including video, 360° degree photography etc.
Another factor to consider is the utilisation of content produced for social should also be applied to your ecommerce website. Not only does this give further longevity to your content, but it marries the experience from acquisition to browsing behaviour online.
It is crucial to have a strong suite of creative assets for marketing purposes as this gives modern advertising platforms the ability to dynamically optimise performance towards the best combination of product, ad placement and audience. Video that works on YouTube will likely not work on TikTok, where advertisers need to be authentic and use UGC (User Generated Content) rather than polished ‘brand’ content. Social proof is key on platforms like Instagram, so content needs to be unique and worthy of commenting or sharing to amplify organic reach.
Marketing content also needs to be planned to follow all stages of the marketing funnel, from introducing the brand, to showcasing the product range and selling points, to a specific call to action and finally incentivising repeat purchases and loyalty. All of these layers have messaging and format considerations that need to be carefully curated.
Q6. Where are brands falling short on the customer experience?
Language – it’s imperative to understand your different audiences and how you inform details. The new uneducated customer needs informative descriptions that connect to their needs compared to a savvy customer who has more of an understanding of the product or brand. Often brands utilise jargon-heavy language that may resonate with one audience but disrupt the other, so to reduce the risk of this happening, make sure any form of description caters to both audiences.
Personalisation is crucial to enhance the customer experience. It’s a competitive differentiator to influence purchases and drive customer value in the long term. Personalisation lets brands understand customer behaviour and define cost-effective solutions to improve their ROI.
Q7. Final thoughts/advice on why CX is so important?
Users will commonly compare experiences between brands in different industries. Users with a positive experience online with one brand can define an expectation for other online experiences. If your customer experience is not optimal, customer satisfaction can be detrimental, hence the overall importance of CX.
CX is not to be underestimated, and is integral to business success, alongside brand loyalty and trust – brands can no longer get away with having a sub-optimal online retail or brand experience, because there’s so much choice available to consumers.
We are seeing more and more brands, and Asset Factory clients, such as Porter James Sports, Kowtow and Stolen Girlfriends Club make changes to their ecommerce stores to allow for easier navigation and to aid CX, alongside an omni-channel approach to their marketing strategies. Brands that deploy new digital channels and focus on perfecting their CX and creating engaging content will keep experiencing growth.
This is where Asset Factory can help. Our team of creative, fashion, and product photography experts and stylists are on-hand to create incredible content that will arm you with all the content you need to execute an enriched experience for your customers.
Contact us today, or book a free demo at our studio.
Special thanks to Ryan Delaney, Chief Experience Officer and Sam Sherson, Chief Marketing Officer – the experts at Overdose.
*source: 2021 ACQUIA CX REPORT – AUSTRALIA EDITION