Over the years of advising and supporting well-known brands to engage with their customers and deliver great experiences I have been privileged to be part of some customer initiatives that have both shaped my career and demonstrated how powerful customer research can be. I want to share some of those stories with you.
High Street Fashion – Online Experiences
This well-known boutique, high street fashion brand were really starting to make a difference in their stores increasing their understanding of customers through their experience surveys and the way that they were turning that feedback into connecting with their customers. However, they weren't seeing the same kind of uptake online and they really wanted to make a difference and drive more sales through their e-commerce site. So, I expanded their existing listening programme to include the online site, so we were looking at the digital experience, but also listening to the customers in store about why they were such fans and seeking to understand whether there was anything that we could borrow from that to take online.
We found that there was nothing wrong with site, the way it was working, there were no functional issues that needed changing, it was about the experience. It was missing the little things that they were known for in store. They made people feel that they were a safe space to go in and try on new fashions. One of the key elements was how their staff were really good at helping with things like outfit choices or giving advice and making people feel more comfortable about the shopping experience and that that's why they went there.
So, we looked at what we could do with the online site that would make it more like the in-store experience. Creating digital outfit matching or outfit suggestions to feel more like the in-store offering was one thing, however, that wasn't necessarily going to drive people to the site without them knowing about it. So, we also suggested that they run a campaign to drive awareness through stores. As a smaller retailer they have limited shop space and a real challenge with product range, particularly around small or large sizes. They don’t have this issue online. So, we suggested they use staff members in store with iPads linked to the webstore and when customers couldn’t find what they wanted, letting them use the iPad with assistance from the staff to showcase the site experience and functions and find the greater range online. The customer got to see and ‘feel’ the site and the functionality first-hand .
The results saw shopper frequency and sales increase over the next three to six months and basket sizes also rose. We were able to measure how many came through the in-store experience on the iPad to show that it was a good use of time, and also captured comments from customers saying it was really helpful, enabling them to search for themselves and find what they needed. It was a really powerful way of listening to customers, understanding what they're looking for and thinking a little differently. We also saw no sales decline in store, so it wasn't driving people away. It was adding to their experience and because it was done through the help of the in-store team, customers also got that level of enhanced experience as well.
So, knowing your customers and keeping connected to them can be a really positive, powerful way to drive your business forward.