The Ultimate Digital Experience Strategy Playbook For Retailers

by Cheetah Digital

For generations, the purchasing journey was relatively linear. Consumers would visit a favoured retailer, chat to the experienced sales team, and make a considered purchase based on the trusted advice they were given. Then came the internet, eCommerce, and a raft of unconnected touchpoints that changed this irreversibly.

Today the purchasing path is anything but straightforward. Consumers browse in-store only to purchase cheaper from their smartphone. They expect next day delivery complemented by free shipping. A seamless returns process and rewards for their loyalty that goes beyond points-win-prizes. As the modern shopper has matured, and their expectations with it, the personalised experiences they receive can often feel stuck in an era of dial up.

Throw in the paradigm shift that is the COVID-19 pandemic and the instantaneous shifts in purchasing journeys it has affected, coupled with years of digital advancements happening in mere months and it’s never been more vital that retailers have the right marketing technology to fill the gap between customer expectations and experience.

However, retailers are rightly frustrated with what is on offer, with a sea of vendors all presenting similar but slightly different solutions to challenges that sound universal but aren’t. On average, marketing departments have a tech stack boasting 12 systems — the vast majority of retailers are using many more. This list of endless tools, from CRM to marketing automation, email to analytics, CMS to social reporting, to name a few, create a convoluted system that seldom harmonises, moves the needle or gives retailers the confidence that they are ahead of, or at least keeping up with, the competition.

With a landscape that is seen as being too abstruse and confusing, complexity is an ongoing challenge. MarTech’s proliferation of data and tools can be overwhelming, making it difficult to keep technology current and staff apprised on how best to utilise components. In fact, keeping the MarTech stack up-to-date is now a requisite task to vie with constantly changing consumer behaviours and increasing expectations.

With the software tides perpetually changing, there is a tangible sense of dread for retailers that current infrastructure cannot hold pace. Often companies have no real long-term strategy or roadmap in place, and a sense of malaise and fatalism in the status quo overrides what should be an exciting future full of possibilities.

Retail CMOs are all too keenly aware of these challenges. Simultaneously they are trying to balance delivering truly excellent digital experiences to customers, while being cognisant of the need to coordinate these efforts with their CTO to ensure the organisation is evolving in sync. For CMOs, implementing landmark digital projects when customer expectations are evolving faster than their go-to-market can feel a somewhat Sisyphean task. But that is the job specification of the CMO, doing something that’s right for the consumer, which makes that all important connection in the moments that matter – driving customer lifetime value, from top-of-the-funnel acquisition to emotional loyalty. Delivering messages and experiences that engage and drive change and positively impact the overarching business outcomes. Of course, to get even remotely close to realising this utopia, CMOs need to have the right marketing systems in place – systems that are natively integrated, eliminate silos, are accessible and actionable, and seamlessly connect across the entire business.

Cheetah Digital‘s white paper will attempt to bridge these widening gaps by furnishing retail CMOs and marketers with the knowledge and tools to identify, implement, and make the best use of the marketing technology that is available, and connect experiences and data to turn one-off customers into loyal brand advocates. Just as importantly, though, they will outline the strategy to underpin how teams should be using technology solutions to build more meaningful and lasting relationships with consumers.

To begin, they will outline what the world looks like for a retail marketer as we emerge into a changed post-COVID environment. They will consider the day-in-the-life of a retail marketer in 2021.

They will address:

1. Digital transformation

Continuing and building upon the work started by the surge in digital transformation, given a jolt by COVID-19, they’ll examine the importance of having the ability to pivot in real-time to unfolding events whether daily or seasonal.

2. Getting personalised

Personalisation is fundamentally a data problem, and being furnished with the right tools is the only way to address this. Once you get your data in order, the opportunity to wow the customer with true personalisation becomes actualised.

3. Connected membership

Even though retailers have some of the best loyalty programmes available, if these brands haven’t been focusing on the inflection points in consumers’ lives and the moments between transactions, they may find their offering is lacking.

To read on, download the full white paper here.