Yesterday afternoon, we got in a room with Shopify agency and technology partners to talk all things customer, new features, and checkouts. In case you missed it, Omneo gave talks alongside the Shopify Plus and Disco Labs teams and here's what we covered:
Hosted by Zendesk on Collins st, a common theme of the evening was just how far we've come in the technology and retail space — and how this continues to define how we operate and make decisions in business. Of course, the introduction of the online store and uptake of personal mobile devices has completely revolutionised the way we discover and buy product and services.
No longer it is enough to just provide goods and services - these do not equal customer satisfaction. Instead, businesses must construct and deliver a total package, whereby the memory itself becomes the product. Enter - "The age of experience."
We didn't arrive here overnight; it's been an evolution, of adapting business models over time, as they developed so to did customer expectations.
Initially, we thought it was enough to put the customer at the centre of business decisions; then we realised we needed to put empathy at the centre of their experiences.
This change in mindset has come at a time when the retail world is in flux. Discovery and purchasing are not happening in one environment, and the technology we use to breakdown physical and metaphorical silos is quickly changing. A sentiment reflected by the Shopify Plus team - who talked through this year Unite Announcements. The only way to keep up? Cut it off the head and build reliable views of your customer!
This means we need to rethink how we measure success. Often when we're in the day-to-day of operation, we can imagine success to look like minimal bugs, delivering on time and budget and meeting all the requirement laid out in a document. When we view it through a lens of empathy, success looks much different: Flexible payment options, fast delivery, providing feelings of value for the customer.
"Two-thirds of customers say valuing their time is the leading sign of excellent customer service"
So what are the consequences of getting it wrong? Loss of revenue and competitive advantage. 70% of customers said that a single negative experience with a brand would send them to a competitor, so there's a lot is at stake when brands fail to provide an empathetic experience. (Forrester Research)
Where do brands typically go wrong?
Disparate views of their customer. Like with any new business initiative, it is essential to lay the groundwork. When it comes to customer experience, those foundations can be separated into four distinct pillars: People, Process, Data & Technology.
At Omneo, our goal is to help business overcome the hurdles associated with laying these foundations.
Many brands have different versions of their customer record. With POS accounts, eCommerce accounts, concessions (David Jones, Myer etc) and email subscribers. Nothing matches up - they tangle themselves up with their views of customer accounts and don't have a single trustworthy and accurate picture of their customer. Solving that from a marketing point of view is essential, but solving that from a customers point of view is even more critical.
Ecommerce systems will typically show you order histories, but there is a fundamental difference between an online order and a transaction. Online ordering is: a thing I'd like to buy > how I chose to pay for it > the current status of that order. An order is a transaction that hasn't finished yet. That isn't the case in stores, you have either transacted, or you haven't. There's no in-between state - it's in progress, or finished.
The customer has a fragmented view of themselves between channels, and their purchase history isn't consistent or available in-store or online. As a customer, I would feel comfortable buying online if I could see what I'd bought in store last time. I've purchased in store x3 times, where is that history?
That's where Omneo comes in, as the unifier. With partners like Shopify Plus, Zendesk and different POS systems, we ensure that no matter where a customer left off, there's no starting from scratch. Another by-product? More empowered and engaged staff, arming customers and the people and system that serve them with everything they need means that you can make space for the human empathy element.
From a business standpoint, it also creates an informed dialogue from which to operate and prioritise initiatives.
It means you can quantify the cost of acquisition, of customer churn and how sentiment impacts performance. Put simply; it means you can create context and adapt and adaptation is prerequisite for long term success.
A theme echoed by the DiscoLabs team, who deep-dived into their Shopify custom checkout app - Submarine — surfacing all sorts of implementations. The app delivers the administration of customer payment methods, subscriptions and a merchant-facing interface inside the Shopify admin.
We capped off the night with a few beers and got talking to all of the intelligent, curious characters that make up the Melbourne eCommerce community. Thanks, Shopify Plus, for another great event! Keep an eye on our LinkedIn page for photos!