Experts Blog

Customers’ Journey on 1001 Channels

  • Sandro Dönni

The times when contacting the customer in the retail trade was practically only possible in sales area are over. An abundance of new digital channels such as Webshop, e-mail, Facebook, Pinterest and many more create great opportunities for strengthening customer relationships and allows new sales models. The rapid change to the mobile Internet also brings the sales area into the customers' pockets. It’s a beautiful new retail world!

However, many companies have only marginally expanded their digital channels and are still using the new possibilities to a very limited extent. Specialised online players are becoming an ever-increasing threat, and some traders are wondering how to deal with this development.

The Customer Journey in View

The needs and the behaviour of the customers have changed. The days when the digital channels were mainly the domain of young men are over. Today, digital services are used across age and gender boundaries. Data obtained from surfing behaviours, customer cards or shopping history, help to get to know and understand the customers better.

The customer journey describes the interaction of the customer with a brand across all touch points. It shows what occupies him at specific points of contact (regular shop, online shop, hotline, chat) and what he wants to achieve at the moment of interaction. Is he looking for inspiration, would he like to be informed or advised, or even make a purchase? How is he looked after and does he recommend the brand? «Nothing new», one could say, the customers behaved like that already before the digital revolution. The novelty however is the variety of channels on which the interactions take place regardless of space and time on the one hand, and on the other, the possibility for customers to inform themselves independently and directly compare products and services.

Linking the Channels as an Opportunity

It makes little sense, both economically and organisationally, to try and please everyone and serve all channels. It is important to recognise which touch points are important for your customers, in order to launch the new offers exactly there. The focus is not only on the sale, but also on the customer, whom you should accompany on his journey, make him enthusiastic about the brand at all stations and bind him to the company.

The presence on different channels alone is no longer enough to convince the customers. The orchestration of the appropriate channels and offers, which smartly exploit the connection and thus give the customers a simple shopping experience, is the key to high customer benefits. For example, a product is reserved online and then sampled and bought in the shop or selected in the shop and ordered in a different colour on a mobile device.

Your Own Change as the Key to Success

The challenge of creating cross-channel customer experiences is not just about the provision of modern technology. The coordination of persons, organisation and technology is very challenging. In order to provide a consistent approach and seamless offerings across multiple channels, organisational hurdles must be reduced and people must be motivated for open collaboration. To embed the new technology in the processes and to react quickly to the needs of the business demands a close cooperation and common goals within the entire organisation. Companies that succeed in creating an open corporate culture with a high customer focus and agile structures have laid the foundation for responding to changes and using the new possibilities in the interests of the customers. These companies will be the leaders of tomorrow.

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