Retailers Need To Focus On The Customer Journey Not Just the End Sale

Retailers Need To Focus On The Customer Journey Not Just the End Sale
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In this opinion piece, retail industry strategist Michele Arpaia (pictured) says the customer journey is a difficult one to get right but there are big rewards for retailers who manage to achieve it…

Omnichannel strategies — the many critical moments when customers interact with the organisation’s channels and its offerings — are a source of ongoing frustration for most retailers who are busy trying to  keep pace with their competition.

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But the narrow focus on maximising satisfaction on those touch-points has diverted attention from a more important picture – the customer’s end-to-end journey.

Customers don’t think in terms of channels or even omnichannel. Furthermore, retailers need to excel in more than just individual interactions with customers.

Adequate attention must be paid to the customer’s complete experience on the way to purchase and after. This will result in enormous rewards, including enhanced customer and employee satisfaction, reduced churn, increased revenues, lowered costs, and improved collaboration across the organisation.

For retailers, it makes a lot of sense to treat “customer journeys” as a discrete discipline within the organisation. This means that the jurisdiction of the marketing and sales functions — as reflected in the organisational structure —  need to be redefined.

A recent study conducted by McKinsey & Company shows the emerging of new capabilities that must be embraced. Let me highlight three new roles that are rising fast and furiously:

  • Chief Experience Officer (sometimes covered by Chief Digital Officers). Don’t confuse this role with quality control, user experience design, etc. This guy has only one pressing task before him — overseeing all of a firm’s interactions with customers.
  • Journey Strategists. This individual answers a simple question: which journey investments and customer segments are worth focusing on?
  • Journey Product Manager. People in this role are the journey’s economic and creative stewards. They have ultimate accountability for its business performance, managing it as they would any product.

As soon as you start investing in customer journeys, these three roles will emerge naturally. Obviously, the restructure is more involved than this summary lets on but the point is to treat customer journeys as a service.

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