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Making the leap to a unified customer experience

At an expert panel discussion at Drapers Digital Festival, Matt Henton, head of ecommerce at Moss Bros, Randa Crebbin, global head of ecommerce at La Perla, and Rob Massa, general manager (EMEA) at BounceX, discussed what it takes to deliver a seamless, channel-agnostic customer experience.

“Focus on the customer”

One key factor to drive innovation for your business is to focus on the customer and not the channel, the panellists said.

“When we first rolled out omnichannel, we didn’t think about the whole customer journey –  we looked at us as a business instead, which I think was a mistake,” Crebbin said. “It would have benefited us better if we had rolled it out to fit with customer journey.

“When you’re trying to roll out [omnichannel], don’t think about yourself as a business – that’s how you can end up getting it right from the very beginning.”

Henton agreed: “The ultimate aim is to serve customers whatever they want, whenever they want and on whatever channel.”

Massa added that it is hard for retailers to keep up to date with digital customer-first strategies: “It’s not easy at all. Most retailers are having challenges with it. Retailers are getting smarter about putting all their data in one place, but they need to be focused on the consumer and not the channel.”

“Unifying technology”

Retailers need to find out how they can unify the customer journey to keep up with changing demands, the panellists said.

Henton said: “Unifying technology is vital, but it’s more important to talk about unified vision, in order to be able to serve customers with a unified experience across whatever channel it is.

“It’s so much more than just technology – it’s the way we structure our teams and set out our processes to be able to deliver against that vision.”

Massa agreed: “Retailers need to know what they want. Sit down, spend some time and understand what you want to achieve as a business. Then map out the process of how you are going to achieve it.

“Many companies dive in head first and don’t think about what they want or how they will roll it out, and they’ve had to start all over again. Sharing is caring – it’s true within the ecommerce world.”

“Roll with the times”

Massa said retailers must “roll with the times” and change modules to keep up with changing customer needs: “Don’t build a brand on heritage, which can’t be adjusted for modern times.

“Make sure any platform you’re building on is done in modules. Otherwise, you can find yourself stuck in a legacy nightmare 20 years later.”

“Help from heroes” 

Henton said: “Just remember that you’re not alone – someone else has already come up with a solution to whatever the problem is.

“One retailer I often go to is Schuh regarding UX hurdles etc – they seem to have gotten a lot of things right.

“Find those heroes you can look to and you can see how they have tackled those problems.”

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