Friday Feb 20, 2015

Look Beyond Marketing When Considering Customer Experience by Gib Bassett

Most people think Customer Experience is about marketing, or the activities associated with the last mile of the shopping journey. However this misses the bigger picture of many factors that support a successful customer experience.

A great example of a company doing it right is 7-Eleven. As shown in this video, 7-Eleven leverages a common foundation for what it calls the “digital guest experience,” as well as its merchandising and accounting systems. In this way, 7-Eleven serves its customers personalized and mobile in-store offers. Where it goes beyond is in applying purchasing and behavioral insights to its merchandising and assortment strategies.

Less forward-thinking retailers could take a lesson from 7-Eleven’s approach. Consider the case of specialty retailer Wet Seal. I have followed Wet Seal for a few years – the company has been very progressive in its use of in-store mobile and social shopper engagement.

So I was surprised by recent news that the company was closing two-thirds of its stores. Reportedly, Wet Seal struggled to keep pace with fashion trends (style and price) – and experienced reduced foot traffic in the malls where it invested. Given their progressive shopper engagement practices, and the data and insights these efforts generate, I would have thought Wet Seal was in a better position to foresee changes in its customersand make different decisions regarding merchandise and assortments.

Wet Seal is not alone. Without an analytics-first approach to consumer engagement that encapsulates all facets of customer experience, retailers run the risk of focusing too heavily on the marketing aspect of the shopping journey.

For example, with deep analytics, Wet Seal would have noticed changes in customer behavior, such as greater price sensitivity, and merchandise indicators such as social chatter about preferences for competitor assortments. With such predictors of change in hand, Wet Seal could have altered pricing, promotion and assortments to stay ahead of customer preferences.

We should first accept that all shoppers are demonstrating connected behaviors, which make it essential and easy to understand what’s happening with them digitally. That’s certainly the case with 7-Eleven’s customers. Mobile and social channels can help shoppers navigate deals, alternatives and new customer experiences. Retailers can use this information to stay a step ahead.

In summary, retail customer experience should be based on an integrated view of the various business operations that support the customer’s experience. Marketing, store operations, online sales, merchandising, inventory, and service should operate off the same view of the customer providing agility and deep business intelligence.

Gib Bassett

CPG and Retail Industry Principal

Twitter @gibbassett

Friday Feb 17, 2012

Why Consumer Goods (CG) Companies Must Act More Like Retailers

Pushing traditional media through new media channels is no longer enough to succeed in today’s Consumer Goods market. A new approach is needed - one that puts brands wherever consumers are, in a way that encourages consumer participation. CG manufacturers need to increase their engagement with consumers and improve their direct-to-consumer initiatives. They are now aggressively exploring ways to integrate new channels and adopting strategies, processes, and technologies so they can act more like retailers.

Sponsored by Oracle, The Economist published an Economist Intelligence Unit report titled New Directions: Consumer goods companies hone a cross-channel approach to consumer marketing.  The study is the result of a global survey of 221 consumer goods (CG) executives.

Brandchannel, an online exchange dedicated to branding, wrote their perspective on the study:

Consumer Goods companies need to think and act more their retail partners as their participation in social media and online storefronts increase.  The Economist Intelligence Unit report, New Directions, sponsored by Oracle, reveals that 41% of respondents surveyed plan to sell products directly to consumers in 2012, a 24% increase over those currently offering direct sales.

“Consumer goods companies can no longer merely push traditional campaigns through new media channels to reach today's more product-savvy consumer. They need to integrate multiple channels to put brands where consumers are, in a way that encourages a more interactive relationship between consumer and producer, not passive consumption of marketing messages.”

Key findings include:

  • The social media opportunity is finally catching the attention of senior management: 74% of CEO-level respondents say social media is a priority for increasing loyalty over the next 12 months
  • Nearly a quarter of CG executives envisage direct-to-consumer replacing retail.
  • Nearly half of survey respondents and other CG executives see their nascent e-commerce efforts as complementary to, rather than alternatives to, existing retail channels

Another perspective on the same study can be found here.

Wednesday Feb 08, 2012

Consumer Goods Companies Hone A Cross-Channel Approach To Consumer Marketing

 

Consumer goods (CG) manufacturers are aggressively exploring ways to integrate new channels such as social media and mobile into the marketing mix to attract and engage consumers. However, they are not ready to abandon traditional approaches to consumer marketing. CG marketers say they want to increase engagement with consumers and improve their direct-to-consumer initiatives—but are they really ready to do so?

Perhaps CG companies looking to get closer to consumers ought to think more like retailers, which have made significant investments in understanding consumer behaviour and sentiment across physical and digital environments. New directions: consumer goods companies hone a cross-channel approach to consumer marketing, an Economist Intelligence Unit report sponsored by Oracle, draws on a survey of 221 CG executives as well as in-depth interviews with corporate leaders in the CG industry to explore the changing face of consumer marketing.

Wednesday Sep 07, 2011

Engage Shoppers Directly with Oracle CRM for Consumer Goods

Some of the major trends driving much of the innovation in Consumer Goods sales and marketing include the drive to engage with and potentially selling to evolving consumers, need to enable demand driven customer and category planning, and the goal to optimize retail and market execution.   

Watch this short video on Oracle’s latest sales and marketing innovations for Consumer Goods that enhance consumer-engagement processes and address these trends.  Includes a short preview demo by Oracle expert Angélique Moon of CRM Product Management for Consumer Goods.  

View an earlier webinar with Peppers & Rogers Group  Align Your Brand to What Consumers Demand.       Read more about Oracle’s solutions for Consumer Goods.

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