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Retailers please measure my experience not my page views!

Published: Monday, 3 April 2017 by Matthew Tod, Head of Analytics, D4t4 Solutions plc
Digital Intelligence

I needed some new shirts; my current wardrobe seems to have mysteriously shrunken meaning I have a shirt crisis. But fixing this problem turned out to be very frustrating and made me think again about how important it is to measure the right things.

So here is how it went…I picked a favorite retailer who I have ordered from before, went straight to their website and dived in to find a shirt:

  • I started out with a choice of 692 shirts, which on the face of it sounded great
  • I then selected my size, color and style choices and ended up with 13 to choose from
  • I saw some interesting pricing £39.95, reduced to £30 and offered £27.50 if I bought four, which is cool but not a motivating factor for me - my shirts have shrunk remember!
  • Nothing looked good so I left to try elsewhere

It is also worth noting what I didn’t see on my trip:

  • Shirts on page two; I was not inspired enough to look further than page 1
  • Any banners or promotions; they were on the page but I scrolled past so fast I didn’t see them!
  • Any delivery messages or prompts promising me new fresh shirts in time for next week
  • Any product reviews or company feedback scores. They must have been on the page, but I didn’t see them either

I have to say this is a fairly typical experience for me; the experience was disappointing as I couldn't find a solution to my shopping needs. And to be fair, it isn't just retailers but airlines and travel companies as well as banks and insurance companies who often disappoint.


Digital analytics can’t explain the Customer Experience!

To try to understand poor conversion rates most businesses turn to digital analytics tools to get the answer, focusing on the reasons why conversion rates are so poor. Typically a digital analytics analysis would focus on campaign triggers and then basic page views but that data set is really not enough to deliver actionable insight to help the business.  In this case what is needed is more than just a digital experience change, but something more fundamental, and this was eloquently expressed by Steve Rowe, Chief Executive, Marks & Spencer when he explained recent positive results by saying “better ranges, better availability and better prices helped to improve our performance”. All that effort clearly created a better customer experience by ensuring that there was available product, at the right price in the right place; easy to say but very hard to deliver.


A better framework for understanding Customer Experience

If the business really wanted to understand my customer experience then it would have to join several datasets together to fill out the following 5W2H analysis framework:

  • Who are we talking about?  Existing customer, lapsing as no order placed in the last 9 months, online only, marketing segment ‘Boring, middle-aged’
  • Where? >10 miles from a store, at work in the UK (Sorry boss, shopping from the office!)
  • Why are they on the website?  To buy shirts as all browse activity was in that shopping area of the site
  • When did this visit happen? No previous visits in the last seven days so early in research phase of a purchasing journey
  • How much? All the products had special offer pricing, minimum discount £9.95
  • How did it end? Disappointed customer - couldn’t find what he wanted

This type of analysis offers a much more holistic view of the customer experience that all those involved with designing, selecting, ordering, merchandising, pricing, displaying and promoting the product can use to make better decisions.  Reframing thinking away from silos of data to a complete view of the business from the perspective of the customer and then placing the data in the hands of all those who make decisions that impact the customer experience is the key to driving improvement.

This might look impossible, but big data technology, clever visualizations, machine learning and Experiential Data collected from a tool like Celebrus make this a realistic leading edge analytics approach, one which is now being pursued by many leading retailers, airlines, travel companies and retail banks. If you want to move beyond basic digital analytics and to truly understand and interact with your customers, please do get in touch


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