“Customer Centricity 2.0: The Rise of the Chief Marketing Officer." That’s the name of a report by Retail Systems Research. The benchmark report looks at several topics regarding customer-centricity among global retailers. Inevitably, it concludes that one of the main struggles continues to be the proliferation of channels, progressing at a very fast pace.
Retailers are ‘rushing to provide a single customer experience across digital and traditional channels,’ the report says. It sounds familiar.
However, this time the number also back up this unmistakable truth: interacting with the channel-agnostic/multi-channel consumer is a must and at the same time a challenge.
The uncertainty trifecta of global retailers
The report detected a so-called “Uncertainty Trifecta” regarding the business challenges of retailers:
- They don’t know who to target.
- They don’t know how to best reach them.
- Assuming they manage the first two right, they have no idea how effective their communications are.
Other challenges include differentiation from competitors and the uncertain economy.
However, the three main challenges are clear. When customer segments are fragmenting, it seems harder to reach them. Furthermore, retailers find it hard to engage with consumers with all the new ways, channels and touch-points to do so. And, finally, many retailers have issues regarding the fact that too many communication channels have 'unproven effectiveness".
The interesting thing is that the so-called "laggards" (the report has divided the retailers in different categories), feel most overwhelmed by the channels. The "winners", on the other hand, have more challenges regarding segmentation and less regarding new ways to engage with consumers or proving effectiveness of communication channels. A coincidence?
The customer at the centre of cross-channel segmentation, targeting and experiences
Focussing too much on the channels instead of on the overall customer experience is never a good idea, and it's in managing this customer experience across channels and divisions that there are several pains.
As the report says: "when everyone owns the customer experience, unless someone takes the lead in defining what that experience needs to be - and measuring and enforcing execution against that definition, you might as well have no one owning the experience".
Knowing who the consumers and best shoppers are, is key here. Turning these data into actions is at least as important. And 'being proficient at targeted marketing across channels' is a required marketing philosophy as well.
A greater focus on the customer is what most retailers see as the way forward. Clearly this can only be achieved by solving the analytical, segmentation, personalization and cross-channel marketing and measurement challenges. Especially since most retailers plan to invest more in digital and 'new' channels, with an important role for mobile. You can check out the full report here (registration required).
Communication channels depend on the consumer and marketing is about engaging the cross-channel customer and prospect throughout integrated dialogues that are driven by his/her buying journey, preferences, triggers, signals and behaviour.
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