What does the future hold for the digital customer experience? Part 1

Sarah Beams

April 1, 2015

The latest eRetail Benchmark results from eDigitalResearch shows how continued technical innovation and investment in digital touch points is having a positive effect on the digital customer experience – in the twelve months to January 2015, we saw a three per cent increase in the overall multichannel customer satisfaction.

For the past fifteen years, the eDigitalResearch eRetail Benchmark has been tracking the changing digital customer experience across established and emerging digital channels.

Leaders of the benchmark’s latest results – such as New Look and John Lewis – are averaging top scores we’ve not seen before in the eRetail Benchmark’s fifteen year history and offer up a seamless digital customer experience across all channels.*

But what does the future hold for the digital customer experience?

The digital revolution shows no signs of slowing down – and with new innovations just around the corner, such as beacons and wearable technology, consumer adoption and confidence with digital channels is only going to grow.

Investing in the digital customer experience

It also means that retailer investment in digital technology will also continue at apace. As more and more shoppers turn online and to new technology to fulfil their shopping and browsing needs, brands will begin to plough more and more resource into their digital channels until eventually, all digital customer experiences will be on a par with one another – we’re already seeing minimal differences amongst today’s leaders of the digital experience field – as more brands more to responsive sites.

The service factor

Instead, a great service will become vital if retailers want to make their brand experience stand out from the competition. Getting the digital basic right is key, but the whole brand experience falls apart if retailer are unable to replicate that level of service across their entire customer journey.

Customer contact will become fundamental to the future success of retailers. With more consumers switching to digital channels to browse and buy, it’s likely that demand on customer contact channels will grow. But at the moment, too many retailers are failing to deliver a seamless customer contact experience.

Of all the customer journey points measured, customer contact has continuously been one of the poorest performing areas of the eRetail Benchmark. But with competition in the digital marketplace being continually squeezed, an excellent customer service experience is just one way to set brands apart from the ever-growing online retail sphere.

Fulfilling promises

Another areas that retailers are able to differentiate themselves from the competition is through their fulfilment and logistics processes.

Too often, brands are still relying on the old ‘back-end’ systems of years gone by, leading to delayed or suspended orders. 2014’s Black Friday revolution is a fantastic example of retailers unable to cope with an unprecedented number of online orders.

By developing a robust delivery system that offers consumers an efficient and convenient delivery experience, retailers will be able to hold their head high above the rest of the competition – innovations, such as John Lewis’ Click and Commute store openings and even drone deliveries will all help to offer more choice and convenience to customers.

As Mark Lewis, Online Director at John Lewis, explains, “Supply chain is the unsung hero of ecommerce.

“We’ve been able to take a business that not that long ago was only able to deliver product in bulk to a small number of locations for store replenishment, into a business that does that very well but also delivers products individually picked, individually wrapped, packed and sent to the individual customers in their home or to a collection point.

“Customers are telling us that convenience is really important to them and we see that they respond really well when we offer increased convenience”.

Getting the whole experience right

Getting the digital customer experience right is now key – a brilliant basic if you like. Fail at this hurdle and a good customer service experience means nothing. Get it right though, and good customer service means everything – truly ‘wowing’ customers at each and every stage of the customer journey is perhaps the only way in providing a fantastic overall customer experience.

It means listening to customers across the entire multichannel customer experience, interpreting what they have to say and turning that feedback into action to delight them with an experience that is ahead of the competition.

At eDigitalResearch, we’re passionate about the customer experience. Our SaaS technology, focused insight and thought leadership combine to provide a bespoke and flexible Voice of the Customer programme that empowers you to make informed decisions in the moments that matter.

*Read more on how New Look achieve such high levels of customer satisfaction