The holistic customer experience was the forefront topic at the 2017 eTail West conference this past February. Magnetic’s CEO James Green sat down with Kevin Moffitt (SVP of Office Depot), Blair Dunn (VP and General Manager of Old Navy), Yona Shtern (Chief eCommerce and Omni-Channel Office of Sears Canada), and Nick Worth (CMO of Selligent) to discuss marketing strategies across multiple channels, and how important it is to think about marketing holistically, which involves considerations for online, retail and the overall customer experience.
Key Theme: Put the Customer at the Forefront of Everything You Do
James Green asked the panel to explain how the structure of their organizations have become truly omni-focused. Kevin Moffitt explained, “Omni-channel is critically important to success for retailers who have both digital and physical selling experiences.” Previously, as Moffitt explains, Office Depot (and many large companies) had three separate selling channels, but now retail stores, ecommerce direct businesses and B2B businesses all report to the same Chief Operating Officer with a shared set of metrics and focus on customer centricity. This change occurred alongside the growing movement of putting the consumer first, having all three selling channels report to the same place, and consolidating how we communicate and send messages to our customers.
Blair Dunn of Old Navy also emphasized the transition to omnichannel. “It is [about] refocusing on the customer and putting the customer at the forefront of everything we do. We think about how we want to service the customer when she is shopping. Where is she shopping? How do we meet her where she wants to be met instead of trying to force her into one channel versus another channel?”
Yona Shtern of Sears Canada oversees the transition of their strategy towards omni-channel and emphasized the process of trial and error in smaller factions. “For example, we have a large appliance business and that is somewhere where we thought we could drive an omnichannel experience easier. There was a finite group of vendors and it was actually the same group of buyers, so you could put a team together that was focused on the consumer and give them a consistent experience. We did it as a pilot and learned a lot by making a lot of mistakes.”
A common question that pops up for advertisers is what channels they should focus their efforts on. “I like to think about channels as children,” said Nick Worth of Selligent. He continues, “You love your children all the same, but they need different stuff. You love your email child differently than you love your mobile child and they require different care and feeding.” This brings us back to the core theme – refocusing on the individual customer experience. The planning must start with understanding the consumer and be built backwards.
James Green and the panel also touched upon the topic of company compensation, evolving attribution challenges concerning ROI across channels, and how customer segments tie together across various vehicles. It appears customers are taking back control of the marketing experience.
For more on these topics, please tune in to the full panel video below!