The Economic Downturn Requires Prioritizing Customer Experience in 2009
Throughout the evolution of eCommerce one thing has remained constant - the critical importance of creating great, highly-differentiated customer experiences. With the economic downturn and eCommerce growth rates slowing to single digits worldwide, customer experience is even more important now than ever before.
My marketing team just conducted their annual online customer experience survey and released the results today. The results were fascinating to me as a record 474 people responded from around the world – a true global view on what matters. It was no surprise that the research further validated the sentiments behind my recent posting about the video revolution – podcasts and videos were among the top 5 planned features for 2009. This year's analysis expanded beyond rich media merchandising, to include detailed questions on social networking, mobile and personalization. Social networking features are clearly top of mind for most retailers in the coming year, as these features are being used as much as rich media tactics; they were also some of the most effective and highest planned for the coming year. Of the top deployed and top planned social networking features, it is no surprise that user ratings, rankings & comments were in the top 5 features in all categories of deployed, planned and most effective. Interestingly, blogs although highest in deployment and planned, were not rated nearly as effective by retailers (are you still reading?). In the rich media merchandising area, once again, zoom, lifestyle imagery, visual search and search landing pages were among most effective tactics.
Customer experience is encompassing more than just the web now, too. Mobile features are becoming closely integrated in the online experience as well. Although the adoption of mobile remains low, the use of mobile features has increased 6% from last year according to survey respondents. The highest deployed tactic in the mobile area is promotions used to drive shoppers to store or web. And with more than 3 billion mobile devices worldwide, this is an area to keep our eyes on. Sears is one of my favorite 'cross channel' examples – with buy online, pick up in store, with text notification of one's order being ready.
I think this report is well worth the read as you evaluate your customer experience strategy and tactics for 2009. After you check out all of the data in the full report – let me know what you think. Get the full report.>