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Key takeaway from eTail West: Customer experience trumps all

March 1, 2013

Throughout the dozens of sessions at eTail West, there was one topic that was stressed in virtually every session: customer experience.

No one is arguing that retail is changing constantly. As Nicolas Franchet, head of ecommerce at Facebook, mentioned, everyone has discussed the new omnichannel model.

Retail may not be stagnant. However, it is just a matter of effectively adapting current marketing tactics.

Speed of change
Technology is moving at an alarming pace and it is bringing consumers along for the ride. Expectations are growing, and if a company does not provide the easiest, the fastest and the most cost-effective solution, it is not hard for the consumer to find the company that will.

According to Brian Walker, senior vice president of strategy at Hybris Software, the speed of change is getting faster and marketers need to keep up with the evolution. Otherwise, they will be left in the dust.

From a consumer perspective, everything is becoming easier and more convenient. However, marketers need to leave these expectations behind in the workplace.

There are many ways that retailers are trying to provide this customer experience.

Christina Callas, senior vice president of ecommerce and digital marketing at Hudson’s Bay Company, said that stores are now letting customers buy in-store and receive home delivery, or conversely, buying online and picking up in-store.

These tactics are aiming to provide a competitive edge in a world that compares all retailers to Amazon.

Customer experiences
Robert Cell, CEO of MyBuys, said that it is imperative for marketers to be customer-obsessed. Just look at Amazon.

A company that has a stated strategy of delighting the customer is undoubtedly doing just that.

Consumers see the personalization, the convenience and the speed that are available, and they have come to demand this across the board.

At Office Depot, store associates are becoming tech-empowered, allowing them not only to carry out transactions digitally, but also in hopes of eventually being able to recognize all of the customers before an introduction is made.

In-store is being driven to follow suit of Amazon, who is able to see purchase history and past searches and personal information.

Though the idea of customer experience is nothing new, it is certainly becoming increasingly important with each new step in technology – a reality that was very highly stressed in Palm Springs this week.

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