By now we all know that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation by three to four years, according to McKinsey, with the executives they interviewed saying that “at least 80 percent of their customer interactions are digital in nature.” When personal interactions have been almost entirely supplanted by clicks, how do brands need to reimagine their digital customer journey as it relates to e-commerce?
Prior to lockdowns caused by the spread of the Coronavirus, many companies had perfunctory e-commerce sites to supplement their in-store experiences. These sites would be used to help optimize search, as well as to offer perhaps a teaser of their assortment because most retailers didn’t want to sacrifice in-store sales. Rarely was the entire inventory available online, and equally rare was accurate visibility into inventory. How many times have you been targeted for an item just to find out at the end of the order process that the item is unavailable?
After the past 18 months, when it became a matter of life or death, multi-platform retailers finally understood that they needed to treat their website equally, if not better, than they did their physical stores. It’s no surprise that the websites that deliver the most personalized customer journey have driven the most loyalty—and sales—from their consumer base. Gartner recently predicted a 15 percent profit boost for “e-commerce sites that successfully manage personalization on their websites.” In a nutshell, a personalized customer journey is putting the customer at the center of everything. In other words, we have finally arrived at the much-heralded but little realized “Omni-Channel” experience.
How do you put the customer at the center of everything? Linking previous site visits, purchases, and customer look-alikes helps, as well as understanding what products in your assortment are trending at the moment. Bringing together relevant assortments, Voice of the Customer data, and predictive analytics gives brands the ability to be fully customer-centric, allowing the customer to dictate how they want to shop regardless of channel.