Thursday, December 9, 2010

Designing Consumer Experiences

We're approaching the holiday season and consumers have already spent more than 17.5 billion, a 12% increase over the same period a year ago. 
"The accounting and consulting firm [Deloitte LLP] forecasts that overall holiday sales will increase just 2% over last year, while non-store sales, about two-thirds of which occur online, will jump 15%. The rest are sales from catalogs and TV shopping shows."  “We believe that the retailers that have integrated marketing messages where their apps, Facebook pages, web site and in-store presences share a common campaign or theme will be the big winners this holiday season,”says Alison Paul of Deloitte’s retail practice head. Read the full article from Internet Retailer
Considering that only 18% of TV ad campaigns generate positive ROI and 14% of people trust advertisements, it appears the key to good marketing practices seem to be moving online.  But just having a virtual presence in social media isn't enough.
"By the time you are 60 years old you will have seen over 2,000,000 commercial advertisements.  Astonishingly enough a recent survey from ACNielson found that the average person could only remember 2.21 commercials of those they had ever seen, ever, period (Buyology, Lindstrom 2008). This proves a point that you can flood a marketplace with advertising and marketing, but if you never penetrate the mind of a consumer you will fail."
Businesses have well learned the value of integrating and designing experiences for their customers.  Social media has opened up a new ways of communicating and that includes a new way of finding and buying things. At the end of the day, good marketing revolves around good communication (word of mouth) and satisfying needs; however, if people don't really know what they want, then how is the best way to satisfy their need?
"Creating successful consumer experiences requires shifting the way companies think about innovation and how they are organized to deliver it. Companies need to give up trying to be everything to everybody, discover their authentic DNA, be willing to take a stand for something and deliver on it. Companies need to understand that myth, metaphor and theme create real value and that there are rigorous methods used to identify the right meaning-creating devices. They need to develop new research tools that unearth deep consumer insights, rather than just scratching the surface by asking the consumers what they want; new decision making methods that don't water down ideas; and, different organizational structures and values that embrace the consumer experience, not just organizational efficiencies."  Fast Company.

Overall, customers are willing to pay more for an experience that is not only functionally rewarding, but also emotionally rewarding!  Here are some highlights from Forbes' The Elements of aGreat Shopping Experience:

  • New Wharton research finds that 35% of shoppers have had an extraordinary retail experience in the past six months. But in order to hit that mark, retailers must deliver on as many as 10 different elements of the shopping experience simultaneously.  
  • Top response was related to engagement, with 63% of those reporting that during their great shopping experience, store employees were "very polite and courteous." Salespeople who were knowledgeable about the product in the store got the second-highest response at 55%.  
  • Brand experience includes store design and atmosphere, consistently great product quality, making customers feel they're special and the sense that customers always get a deal.
  • The ability of a retailer to resolve a problem once it crops up is another key factor in determining whether a shopper will have a great experience. One in four respondents mention that a store representative stayed with them until their problem was resolved. Fewer than one in 10 said they were compensated for a store error.
  • Younger consumers, aged 18 to 30, were most likely to recall having a great shopping experience. Those over age 50 were more likely to mention store representatives who seemed genuine and caring. Younger shoppers' retail experiences are colored by greater comfort with multitasking and familiarity with the Internet, making them more transaction-oriented than relationship-oriented and less tied to brick-and-mortar stores.  
Hoping everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday experience!

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