Smart entrepreneurs know that in order to grow a business you must keep an eye on both being productive and being innovative. How do you continue to be reliable and efficient with your existing customers while trying to push the boundaries on providing the best customer experiences? What are the technologies, philosophies, and systems you need to have in place to keep pace with your competitors and best serve your customers?
After all, reliable service typically equals loyal customers.
In this on-demand webinar, presented by Comcast Business and Entrepreneur, New York Times bestselling author and customer experience expert Bryan Eisenberg, and Teresa Ward-Maupin, vice president of customer and digital experience for Comcast Business, uncover the best practices for improving productivity and reliability, while striving for innovation and growth.
My son Zack went to Tennessee to carve a rocking chair.
He’s into that sort of thing.
When all is said and done he is going to have hours and hours and a couple of thousand dollars invested in his chair.
You can buy a rocking chair at most Cracker Barrels for less than $200.
The man teaching the class made the observation that if they actually were interested in selling their chairs … they couldn’t sell a chair.
They were selling ART.
And when people buy ART … they are buying the STORY that is wrapped around it.
What does this have to do with AMAZON?
When I went through the article I thought … Amazon is selling the stories in the books with stories about the books.
They are providing a satisfying way to find a book that fits amidst the almost limitless number of books you can get.
That Bezos’ guy is a clever guy.
Tom Grimes is a clever guy too. He recognized why Amazon will succeed in retail. Amazon’s is showing that curation and presentation remain the primary reasons for retail to exist. They’re just showing the world what happens when bookstores go through a digital transformation of the customer experience.
What retail categories do you think are ripe for digital transformation?
Customers are more connected than ever. Software continues to reduce customer friction everywhere, from customer service to fulfillment. Logistics and payment systems continue to expand what’s possible for customers. Customers expect more and better.
Retail customers aren’t delighted with retailers. They feel differently about Amazon and in both cases it’s the CEO’s fault.
All the above is true. It’s why CEOs green light new and growing investments in technology and marketing. So how can I say that retail CEOs don’t care about digital?
Digital is not just a series of new shiny objects, cost cutting tools or new media ads. Digital should be the glue that connects every part of the organization with customers. Digital should allow every part of the organization to analyze data, learn from it, and act on it. The competitive advantage is putting that customer at the center of their universe.
Sam Walton said “You can make a lot of mistakes and still recover if you run an efficient operation. Or you can be brilliant and still go out of business if you’re too inefficient.” Price, selection, and convenience were good enough to destroy their competitors. Wal-Mart focused on logistics and SKUs, not individual customers.
Sam Walton changed the retail landscape of his time. He expressed a clear narrative about operational excellence and efficiency. Wal-Mart would always offer customers a larger in-stock selection at the best prices. It was the right solution to the challenges he faced. It isn’t now.
Wal-Mart jumps on the e-commerce Jet
According to recent data from eMarketer, Walmart is the second largest U.S. online retailer. While that is about $13 billion in sales last year, it is well below Amazon’s $82.8 billion. Walmart’s digital growth lags behind the economy-wide rate of 15.1% in the first quarter. E-commerce accounts for about 3% of Walmart sales. Compare that to approximately 8% of all retail sales.
Wal-Mart‘s uber-expensive acquihire of Jet.com should improve their e-commerce team. Especially since Marc Lore (Jet.com’s founder) will now be president and chief executive of e-commerce at Walmart.
Wal-Mart misdiagnoses the challenge
Brick and mortar stores everywhere are closing. Many blame it on Amazon and other e-commerce players. The sad truth is that the small percentage of digital sales aren’t the problem. What ails retailers is the lackluster efforts to enhance the customer experience . The connected buyer journey is evolving. Customers expect to buy things where they want it. They expect to buy things how they want it and when they want it. They expect to engage with the brand irrespective of the channel and/ or device. And most of all they expect to have a great experience all along the way. And you can’t do that without stitching it all together with digital.
Wal-Mart, retailers in general, need a cultural change.
Digital is not just a series of new shiny objects, cost cutting tools or new media ads. Digital should be the glue that connects every part of the organization with customers. Digital should allow every part of the organization to analyze data, learn from it, and act on it. They must put the customer, NOT the SKU, at the center of their universe.
Wal-Mart needs to focus the whole organization on the entire customer experience. They need to improve the interactions customers have at every touchpoint. Then they need to convey that change in narrative to everyone from the boardroom to the stockroom.
Improving e-commerce is relatively easy. Cultural change is hard. Marc Lore may do wonders for Wal-Mart’s ecommerce channel. What he won’t do is transform Wal-Mart’s retail culture. Wal-Mart still doesn’t think it has anything but an e-commerce problem.
“When a magician waves his hand and says, “This is where the magic is happening.” The real trick is happening somewhere else. Misdirection.” – Thaddeus Bradley in Now You See Me
What was everyone’s focus on Amazon’s Prime Day? This is from their press release:
The second annual Prime Day was the biggest day ever for Amazon. Amazon today announced customer orders surpassed Prime Day 2015 by more than 60% worldwide and more than 50% in the U.S. It was also the biggest day ever for Amazon devices globally and record Prime Day for each Amazon device category including Fire TV, Fire tablets, Kindle e-readers and Alexa-enabled devices. Prime Day was a great savings day too – members globally saved more than double on deals over Prime Day 2015.
Prime Day was a success. It also revealed where the future of commerce (not just eCommerce) is headed.
Voice is the big reveal
Amazon, as always, is focused on improving customer experience. Prime Day is valuable to Amazon but focusing there is simply misdirection. Pay careful attention to Amazon’s magic, they’re focusing on voice as the primary UI (user interface) and IoT (Internet of Things).
How Amazon creates sales momentum
Voice and IoT improve the customer experience. This is from Amazon’s press release – Prime Day 2016 highlights from the U.S.:
Amazon devices were up over 3x compared to Prime Day last year.
Biggest day ever for Amazon Echo – up over 2.5x compared to previous record day.
The most popular Amazon Dash Button brands purchased on Prime Day were Cascade, Charmin, and Tide.
Conversion rate (an output) is a result of the many inputs that make up the customer experience. Amazon understands that the experience they provide has the chance to annoy, satisfy or delight their customers. They continuously optimize their inputs. Their superior experience is rewarded with higher conversion rates. It’s this laser focus on the input of customer experience that is responsible for Amazon’s 74% conversion rate from Prime Members.
More than half of all Amazon customers in the US are now also Amazon Prime subscribers.
Where have eCommerce executives been focused?
There is a slight shift of focus in 2016. “The big rise of explicit mentions of the word “customer” was very noticeable in the results of this year’s survey,” said Mark Raskino, Vice President and Gartner Fellow. “CEOs seem to be concerned about improving customer service, relationship, and satisfaction levels.”
Amazon has changed the game. While those CEO’s get around to improving customer service, relationship,and satisfaction levels Amazon is eating their lunch.
Amazon is consistently trying to stay ahead of their customers’ behavior instead of their competitors.
Focus On Your Customers!
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We kick-off the workshop with a two-day onsite visit. We help you create the Four Pillar foundation for your organization. The entire process takes between 4-8 weeks and the typical investment is $30,000 – $100,000.