Look at virtually any consumer industry and you’ll see how changes in digital technology are fundamentally altering the way that consumers engage with brands before, during, and after a purchase. Consumers today expect to browse, research, solicit feedback, evaluate, and push the “buy” button at their own pace, and at the time and place—and via the platform—of their choosing. Consumers also continue to engage with brands online after a purchase and to share experiences with one another. Much of this consumer journey is beyond the direct control of companies, and marketing organizations are sprinting merely to keep pace.

The New Consumer Journey

Regardless of the demographic target, selling to the resourceful and smart consumer will take retailing beyond "you will buy what we decide to stock" to "we will stock what you decide to buy". Additionally, consumers no longer shop alone, as they tend to share their experience within the community of social network friends, which in turn have a bold influence on their decisions. It is a very short window of opportunity for retailers to catch the resulting customer buying impulse. Fall short of the customer promise, especially from a fulfillment perspective, and not only you will lose a sales opportunity, but also negative buzz will be generated on social media by dissatisfied consumers.

Success will be defined by how well companies manage and deliver relevant and engaging consumer experiences. CG companies, therefore, need effective digi-social strategies that clearly differentiate them from their competitors. As consumers become increasingly digital, CG companies have only two choices: adapt or become irrelevant.

LOOK Innovative Solutions

Managing the entire customer experience and evoking positive feelings requires a disciplined and dedicated approach. As many products and services have been commoditized in the age of the customer, customer experience is how you will differentiate and thrive. Creating great customer experiences includes three key elements.

Connect and engage. Ensure that your customers can get to you whenever, however, and wherever they desire. Create simple, consistent, and relevant experiences across all touchpoints and interactions. Tailor digital interactions based on behavior, intent, and known preferences and optimize experiences for different devices and modes of interaction.

Know more. Get as much information as you can about your customers prior to the current interaction. Having the right information at the right time improves your ability to retain customers and have them become repeat buyers. Personalize content, messages, and offers based on real-time decisions and recommendations using analytic insights such as “next likely purchase” and “next best action.”

Make it easy and rewarding. Improve efficiency and accuracy with crosschannel order orchestration and fulfillment. Enable “anywhere, anytime” interactions with intelligent self-service and at-the-point-of-need assistance. Proactively engage customers directly in social networks and reward best customers for total lifetime value, including referral value.

Case Study: Meet You Customer - IBM