Assess Your Digital Store Functionality

Michelle Beeson

The role of the store is changing. Consumers are increasingly able to research products and services they are interesting in buying, via their own digital devices, anywhere they choose - whether it’s browsing on their tablet while watching TV or their smartphone during the morning commute.

Customers often arrive in store armed with a wealth of information, which can put sales associates on the back foot. Retailers are currently exploring how to bring digital capabilities in store to improve customer service and engagement – both via their sales associates and directly to customers. But retailers must not get side tracked by shiny new “star wars” style technology. For digital store experience technologies to be successful, they must integrate with enterprise wide systems and have a tangible impact on in-store customer experience and/or operations.

To help digital business executives assess their digital store capabilities, Forrester has developed the Digital Store Functionality Benchmark as part of the Digital Store Playbook 2016. In this new benchmark Forrester assesses 20 retailers across the US and the UK for their use of in-store digital technology to support customer engagement and service as well as store operations.

Key takeaways from the evaluation are:

It Is Early Days For The Digital Store. Retailers are just starting their digital store transformation projects, with 16 of the 20 retailers scoring less than 50 of a total of 100. Many are still developing supporting technology and in the process of piloting various applications for new technology in-store.

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UK Brands Have Upped Their CX Game

Joana van den Brink-Quintanilha

We’re pleased to announce that this year’s UK Customer Experience Index report is now live! The report is based on Forrester's Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) methodology, which measures how well a brand's customer experience strengthens the loyalty of its customers.

 
Overall, it’s been a good year for UK brands, with the percentage of good and OK scores increasing thanks to a significant drop in poor scores. We found that:
 
  • Six of the eight industries surveyed improved their average score.
  • Twenty-four of the 56 brands surveyed made significant improvements in their experiences.
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The FCC Ruling And Why It Foreshadows Big Changes In Privacy

Fatemeh Khatibloo

Like other privacy nerds all over the land, I’ve been anxiously awaiting the results of the Federal Communications Commission’s vote on some stringent new privacy rules for internet service providers (ISPs). Last week, we got news that the vote passed, and now it’s time to start taking stock of what this means for digital advertisers, publishers, and the US privacy landscape overall. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The opt-in requirement represents a sea change in US privacy management. Until now, the US approach to data collection has largely been opt-OUT oriented. The FCC ruling changes that. The commission is requiring broadband internet access service (BIAS) providers – that is, mobile carriers and ISPs – to gain explicit opt-IN before making their personal data available for ad targeting. It’s important to note that de-identified data and “non-sensitive” data don’t fall under the opt-in requirement. These data can continue to be shared as it is today, and can be used for the providers own business and marketing purposes without the consent requirement.
  • Speaking of “sensitive” data… there’s a lot more of it to consider now. Historically, sensitive personal data has been limited to financial data, health data, data about minors, and a few other categories. The new rules broaden the definition significantly to include data that’s become the lifeblood of online advertising:
    • Precise geolocation
    • Web browsing history
    • App usage history
    • The content of the communication
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2017 Predictions: Mobile Is The Face Of Digital

Julie Ask

We put together our thoughts in anew 2017 Mobile Predictions report on what to expect in the mobile space next year across industries and roles.

In 2016 mobile evolved from a stand-alone channel to a baseline for all branded digital experiences. In 2017, mobile will continue to elevate customer expectations as it transforms even non-digital experiences – such as Starbucks “order ahead” functionality. There is no question that mobile moments are the battleground to win, serve and retain your customers. What a mobile moment is and where it surfaces, however, will become amorphous as it extends beyond smartphones to platforms and connected devices and then eventually lives in a consumer’s personal ecosystem.

App usage as we know it has likely peaked. In 2017, platforms will expand in importance as consumers continue to consolidate their time into fewer places on the smartphone. Already, they spend 84% of their time in just five apps. These experiences that we loosely still refer to as mobile (but not for much longer) experience will lives as fragments on third party platforms. Consumers will still use apps for in-depth experiences with brands, but will increasingly use fragments to get quick things done. Examples of popular third party platforms today include Apple’s iMessage, Facebook Messenger and WeChat.  

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Lots To Learn From Pokémon GO

Ryan Hart

The Pokémon GO phenomenon washed across the globe like a tsunami — and while the pace at which it subsided was almost as sudden as its inundation, the customer experience (CX) lessons that it has left behind are invaluable. The game’s success reveals key elements that any company can borrow to create its own powerfully engaging multisensory experiences. By simultaneously activating multiple neural systems and chemicals, a larger, multiplier effect is observed. Consider how Pokémon GO:

  • Stokes the anticipatory-reward system with constant yet unpredictable rewards. The euphoric “high”  that we feel when we anticipate a future reward, especially as it gets closer, motivates people to continue pushing for the reward in order to receive more intense and stimulating dopamine-driven pleasure sensations. However, an additional component in Pokémon GO’s success is the unpredictability of discovery. Whether it’s a shadow of a rare monster in the vicinity, the anticipation of what’ll be hatched from a 10-km egg or the Pokémon that just appears out of nowhere; the potential-reward scenario increases levels of dopamine like no other.
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Brace Yourself. 2017 Is Coming.

Shar VanBoskirk

Check out our Predictions 2017: The Post-Digital CMO Appears piece that just went live this morning.

We can’t help but think CMOs feel a great deal of empathy for the characters in, Game of Thrones.  Westeros is a cutthroat environment riddled with cunning strategy, but also a profound amount of character turnover, shall we say. Marketing is no less strategic, what with digital disruption, an evolving customer base, and brand strategy calculus also creating drama and departures.

So in 2017,  what will smart  CMOs do to survive until  2018? CMOs must demonstrate their  brands’ promises everywhere.  Specifically:  evolve their brand and CX strategies to close the distance between brands.  We expect that:

Brands will go Post Digital. To customers, there are no longer boundaries between the digital and the physical worlds.  CMOs who get this will work to connect with customers emotionally, create one-to-moment, personalized interactions, and  stress a human, helpful, and handy charter as the guiding principles of their marketing efforts.  

Organizations will update talent and structure. The scramble to do the right thing by empowered customers next year will finally force CMOs to consider the skills shortage ever-present on their teams.  This will lead to much needed training of existing talent and realigning teams with brand visions and customer needs.

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How Are Hotels Embracing Mobile Moments?

Xiaofeng Wang

Mobile is changing travelers’ behaviors and expectations worldwide, making mobile moments the next battleground for hospitality and travel industry. Following up on my earlier brief for airlines, my latest Brief: Hotels Differentiate With Mobile Moments shows hotel brands how to better embrace mobile moments.

Hotel customers’ usage of mobile is increasing rapidly all over the world. They use mobile devices for multiple hotel-related activities beyond booking, such as using their mobile as a room key, ordering services, and controlling smart hotel rooms. Hotels have the urgency to embrace mobile moments because they need to:

  • Keep up with the fast-changing behaviors and expectations of mobile travelers. The bar is higher: Services that hotels are starting to offer, like using mobile phones as room keys, are no longer that new to mobile-mind-shifted travelers.
  • Deal with increasing mobile competition from online travel agencies. Large online travel agencies and travel aggregators are consistently creating better mobile services and experiences for consumers and providing more options at the discover, explore, and buy stages than hotels do.
  • Manage a complex, fragmented ecosystem to deliver consistent mobile experiences. Travelers experience a hotel brand through multiple mobile touchpoints; these interactions also occur before, during, and after the stay. Aligning all of these touchpoints under such conditions is a challenge and often takes more time and effort.
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Amazon Spends Big To Deepen Its Customer Relationships

James McQuivey

Wall Street followers found much to be concerned about in Amazon's quarterly earnings. Shipping costs went up 43%, operating costs are up 29% overall and the company's operating margin fell to a ghastly 1.8% (down from 4.2% the quarter previous). In light of all this, the stock is down 6% in after-hours trading.

Which makes the stock a buy, in my book. (Disclosure: I'm not a financial analyst, I'm a consumer market analyst, so don't take my investment advice. Oh, and I don't own any Amazon stock outside of mutual funds.)

Amazon's margin went down precisely because the right costs went up. Amazon continues to add millions of Prime customers and investing in those customers costs money. Specifically, Amazon has opened 23 warehouses since July. Those warehouses will be in position in the crucial holiday rush to ensure not just two-day delivery, but one-day delivery more and more. And in some cities, one-hour delivery.

As the Wall Street Journal quoted Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky: “We acknowledge that’s expensive,[but] customers love it.”

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Predictions 2017: The Year Of Action

Cliff Condon

Your business model is under attack. And it’s not by your competitors. It’s under attack from your customers. Three years ago, Forrester identified a major shift in the market, ushering in the age of the customer. Power has shifted away from companies and towards digitally savvy, technology-empowered customers. They now decide winners and losers: Our Empowered Customer Segmentation shows that more than a third all US online adults want new and engaging digital experiences. They will switch companies to find these experiences. In this environment, being customer-obsessed can be your only competitive strategy.   

In Forrester’s 2017 Prediction Reports, we are tracking firms’ progress on their customer-obsessed journeys. In our annual collection of predictions, we look at business strategy, leadership, customer experience, and technology dynamics to examine progress and predict the key events, changes, and trends that will occur in 2017.

Here are three key findings from our 16 predictions reports:

  • The next wave of Customer Experience will have a profound impact on firms’ P&L: The shift to a customer-led market represents an immediate and prolonged threat to company survival. Our research shows a clear correlation between the quality of customer experiences and revenue growth; it also affirms that emotion is a core driver of customer loyalty and spending. The next wave of CX will connect these dots, blending analytics, technology, and design to evoke emotions to drive affinity and directly impact revenue.
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Transparency Is The New Black At Delta Airlines And Everlane

Dipanjan Chatterjee

Transparency In A New Light

Brand practitioners generally talk about transparency only when crisis hits the fan. There are text book examples of how to do it right, like Johnson & Johnson's deft management of the 1982 Tylenol poisoning episodes in Chicago. And then there are recent debacles: VW’s drawn-out admission of guilt, Samsung's self-combustion, and the Wells Fargo CEO's cringe-worthy testimony to the Senate Banking Committee. Reputation experts will tell you that transparency is the perfect antidote to crisis. But I'm here to tell you that transparency is not just for crisis control. It's fast becoming the new normal. In what Forrester has called the Age Of The Customer, a significant shift has occurred - away from institutions, and toward customers.  This shift not only armed the consumer with much more information, but also created an expectation that brands share information more readily – information that may otherwise sit behind opaque corporate screens. Most of the brands are not there yet; many are still adjusting, often uncomfortably, to the vanishing asymmetry of information between brand and consumer. 

For progressive CMOs, this lag between consumer expectation and brand delivery presents an opportunity to differentiate the brand. Proactively trumpeting transparent brands and giving customers the tools to benefit from this transparency can be a game changer and a source of advantage. Everlane, an online retailer of clothes and accessories, and Delta Airlines provide excellent examples of how to do this right.  

Two Case Studies in Transparency

Everlane 

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