Aimee Stone MunsellAimee Stone MunsellSeptember 28, 2020
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6min201

As lockdown has been incrementally lifted and the good weather has rolled in, there’s been a return to some semblance of normality. Pubs are welcoming patrons, shoppers are back in stores and many businesses are returning to normal operations. During this period of forced contemplation, however, many retailers have begun to question what the real value is in going back to ‘normal’ — and whether their brick and mortar stores are really viable anymore.

As stores have been closed for so long, businesses everywhere have been relying solely on digital channels for income while still remaining anchored to their physical presence on the High Street. It’s also worth noting that even as they reopened, restrictions and reduced footfall have lessened the revenue that physical stores have been taking in during this critical period.

This has proven to be a challenge too great for even the largest High Street brands, with the likes of Victoria’s Secret, Debenhams and Laura Ashley all falling into administration.

Interestingly, you haven’t been hearing news of too many e-tailers suffering the same fate.

Many have at least remained buoyant in the choppy economic waters that the crisis has brought in, with some posting higher transaction levels than they were pre-COVID. This is because pure-play brands with limited or no physical presence can be more flexible, allowing them to adapt faster to customers’ changing needs. As digitally native businesses, they also do a better job of understanding the metrics behind their customer journey, optimising their sites and inventory to match changing consumer demands.

This need for agile, digital-first strategies can be seen in data from the retail industry itself. For nearly six months, Contentsquare has been monitoring the impact of Coronavirus on online consumer behaviours, analysing over 7 billion website visits via the COVID-19 eCommerce Impact Data Hub.

Globally, the trends are what you would expect. Traffic peaked at the height of the epidemic in May, where visits were 29 percent higher than our pre-Covid benchmark. Since then, they have steadily fallen to 7 percent below pre-Covid levels. Naturally, transactions followed a similar curve in May, reaching an impressive +48 percent increase against our benchmark, before falling to only +14% percent.

Taking those figures at face value, you’d be forgiven for thinking that all online shopping has been booming, rising to colossal highs and then simmering out to more ‘normal’ levels. But it’s when you take a deeper dive into specific industries that you get a better picture. What has been net gains for some has simply been recuperating losses for others.

Taking fashion retailers as a good example from the High Street, you see a much more volatile trend. Fashion stores bottomed out in online traffic back in March, falling to 27 percent below pre-Covid levels. Then, only a month later, they shot back up to 24 percent above pre-Covid levels with renewed customer engagement over massive sales and promotions. They have since evened out at pre-Covid levels with many more fluctuations in between. This was all while retail stores were closed, and leaning heavily on their online presences to recover from the shutdown of their physical locations.

In contrast, “pure players” in the market — who have little to no physical presence — are experiencing much greater stability with their digital activity. Like physical stores they’ve seen a decline in traffic and transactions, however, unlike physical stores they remain above their pre-COVID benchmarks in both. Unlike their brick and mortar counterparts, this translates to a much more stable business environment.

As of now it certainly looks like digital-only brands are emerging stronger from the Coronavirus crisis. For these digitally-native brands, extra traffic and transactions are a net gain, while for more traditional retailers the surge of online business has merely gone some way towards compensating for a drop in physical sales.

Based on this data, the key takeaway is the importance of not only providing a digital alternative to your physical storefront, but also making sure that your customer experience remains consistently strong. It shouldn’t matter whether your offering is focused online or in physical stores, a positive customer experience is just as vital.

In this regard pure-play brand’s customer intelligence is completely data-driven, they own the entire end-to-end journey and have the metrics available of what elements are working and where customer’s pain points lie. Traditional brands, however, have been playing catch up. Where they are used to splitting focus between optimising customer journeys in store and online, they’ve been suddenly thrust into an environment where customers experience their brand remotely.

Traditional brick and mortar brands were able to lure away customers with heavily discounted items in sales, but the stable growth of pure-play brands is a testament to the quality of the experience they provide. In short, if you’re going to go online, do it properly.


Elliott JacobsElliott JacobsSeptember 25, 2020
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8min428

In a normal year, retailers would be deep in Black Friday, Christmas and the January strategy execution. This year, however, is anything but normal, making it nigh-on impossible to plan so far ahead of time – even in China, where the economy has been unlocked for some time now, retailers find themselves in an unnerving position ahead of Singles’ Day. 

In the UK, consumer spending habits are far from clear. While retail figures have started to rebalance, clothing and footwear sales have continued to suffer, with household names like Marks & Spencer, Boots and John Lewis all announcing thousands of job cuts.

Our research revealed that almost half of UK businesses had to furlough staff to stay afloat, meaning it is likely spending will be less for many, particularly as the scheme comes to an end in October.

On the other hand, those fortunate enough to have retained financial stability have been unable to spend on big-ticket items like holidays, Black Friday and Christmas to release some of that pent-up capital.

Retailers must decide whether to offer big discounts to shift locked-up stock, stay put and attempt to cash in, or take this time to completely rethink their business model. The only certainty is uncertainty – what we’ll want to buy, whether we’ll be able to visit stores or if we’ll be celebrating under another lockdown is all very much up in the air.

So how can brands ensure they’re prepared to maximise growth this holiday period?

The digital drive

The pandemic ushered in irreversible changes to the way we shop. When it comes to eCommerce spending, what’s past is prologue has been the rule to follow – that said, Covid-19 has tipped the balance and now all bets are off. Consumers are buying online at a blistering rate, with some now shopping exclusively online despite the reopening of the high street.

Before the pandemic, a traditional shop was made up of four key components: browse, touch, try and queue – none now seem appropriate, with consumers instead opting for a more functional approach.

Research suggests the pandemic accelerated digital adoption by five years in a matter of just eight weeks, and online spending will likely skyrocket this holiday season compared to previous years – retailers must therefore ensure they can cash in on the drive to digital.

This means integrating agility across every process is now a must. Rather than focussing on what’s worked well in the past, brands would do well to focus on recent trends – align products and promotions around observations noted during the pandemic. What’s more, product lines must be ready to switch if necessary – here, having ABC campaigns with alternative digital marketing, social and merchandising options ready to roll-out will be mission critical.

Insight-based Marketing

The golden quarter is the epicentre of eCommerce digital marketing activity, from email and social campaigns to performance marketing and SEO competition. Some businesses reacted to the pandemic pragmatically by pulling back digital marketing spends with the idea of saving for a big push during peak periods. While this was understandable, leaving all revenue hopes and business goals until the end of the year adds further risk to an already turbulent 2020 – now is the time to cash in at a lower cost-per-click and bring digital advertising spend forward sooner rather than later.

In addition, the pandemic’s forced pivot to digital has seen new demographics who were previously considered less tech-savvy take to the web. This is a whole new audience for many brands, and understanding their spending habits and preferences will help them segment, target and maximise marketing and merchandising efforts.

A lack of understanding about new customers and so much uncertainty around existing customers’ shopping behaviour means relying on historic data is a big risk to take. Instead, digital teams should spend time analysing search reports and other web analytics to inform merchandising and marketing decisions – by doing so, they will gain the necessary insights to understand what users are really looking for and how they’ll likely behave.

Back-end investment

Finally, with increased eCommerce demand comes increased requests for scan and go, ship from store and click and collect services. Not only this, but returns in the weeks following peak can put a huge burden on logistics. Brands should ensure their warehousing and in-store logistics capabilities are up to scratch, along with the systems behind these operations. If a store doesn’t have stock, being able to ship from an alternative store, or facilitating same-day click-and-collect services will help retain a customer’s purchase.

Equally, checking stock online, going through the hassle of masking up and coming into the store – which is less of a convenient and pleasant experience than it ever has been – only to be let down by no stock, is the worst possible outcome. Providing the frictionless journey customers desire requires a combination of multiple fulfilment options and transparent, real-time information regarding inventory levels and delivery.

A seamless golden quarter

Exactly how this year’s peak period will pan out is anybody’s guess. Employing the usual strategy of what’s worked well in the past seems counterproductive. While we can expect the drive online to be a key component of the post-pandemic shopping holidays, exactly what consumers will be buying is currently up in the air.

To prepare, brands should have multiple campaigns ready to roll-out in advance, along with the processes in place to capitalise on the digital migration. While it may be too late to implement large-scale changes to the technology stack or warehousing options, there is still time to ensure the processes, training, automation and communications are in place to ensure peak operations run smoothly.


Astrid PocklingtonAstrid PocklingtonSeptember 24, 2020
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5min547

The ongoing migration to cloud contact centres is continuing apace. Even before the pandemic, analyst, Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for the Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) landscape was projecting that by 2022, CCaaS will be the preferred model of adoption for 50 percent of all contact centres.

The benefits of cloud contact centres are indisputable. For instance, using cloud allows businesses to avoid the cost and headache of over-provisioning – quickly scaling from a handful of agents to thousands (and back again) without downtime. This has been key during the recent Coronavirus crisis where many businesses have not only had to mobilise their workforce but have also seen unprecedented demands on their contact centre.  On top of that, there are also advantages in terms of standards compliance; enhanced security and improved business continuity, which is imperative when up against shifting work patterns.

But one of the far-reaching benefits is the ability to offer flexible and remote working. This not only creates a better work/life balance for agents but also brings additional cost savings to the organisation through reduced overheads.

Act in haste, repent at leisure

The advent of COVID-19 has accelerated this long-term migration to remote cloud-based contact centre working. However, a note of caution to the wise: as contact centres move their workforces off-premise, they need to understand that there is a lot more to working remotely than equipping agents with a headset, an internet connection and a laptop.

Organisations need to ensure they have the right levels of security in place for their contact centre staff, manage agents’ performance and wellbeing, report on business KPIs, communicate efficiently and transparently as well as deliver training programmes. Coupled with this, they must make certain they provide the features and functionality needed for agents to deliver consistently high levels of service quality.

It is also important that they choose the right solution for their business requirements. Organisations that have settled for a cloud contact centre solution in haste have regretted the decision when it failed to deliver the functionality they were looking for. It is crucial that organisations investigate cloud providers and settle for solutions and business tools that provide a rich set of features and functions, supporting long-term business growth and customer service excellence.

Key considerations

Having the right technology is vital but organisations also need to prepare for the processes and challenges that remote working entails. To successfully manage a workforce of remote contact centre agents, businesses need to get a handle on agent performance as well as support agent progression, identifying their strong points and training requirements.

Ultimately, it has to be about utilising the workforce in the most efficient way possible and that means regular, if not continuous, engagement. It is of critical importance. For many contact centre agents, the job has become more multifaceted, requiring a broad mix of skills and specialist capabilities.

An organisation also needs to think about the agent’s working environment. Do they have the right office equipment, is the area the agent is working in too cramped or cluttered, and is their broadband connection sufficient to handle calls, including video calls?

A model whose time has come

Remote working is here to stay and organisations have done well in adjusting to ‘The New Normal’. In recent months, many have seen it working well and have recorded increases in efficiency and productivity. Some are moving wholesale to remote working, while others are looking at more of a hybrid model where agents come into the office or a branch facility on some days.

Moving to the cloud should not be seen as a short-term response to COVID-19 but instead as a long-term investment into high-quality customer service. Those businesses that see cloud migration in that way and put in place the technologies and processes to make their vision a reality will be best placed to become the customer service pace-setters of the future.


Ben ScogginsBen ScogginsSeptember 22, 2020
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5min532

When people talk about ‘the agency of the future’ they’re really pointing out what needs to change with ‘the agency of the present’. It’s particularly pertinent in times of great change, and a global pandemic is about as big a catalyst for change as we’re likely to see in our lifetimes.

So, with that in mind, what do agencies need to do to better serve clients? Here are five assertions:

The agency of the future isn’t ‘digital first’, it’s ‘human-first’

By definition, marketing is fundamentally about understanding people and satisfying their wants and needs. Too many agencies peddle clever tech solutions without much attempt to understand the consumer. What makes this especially problematic is that we live in a world where tech advances have made purchase behaviour and patterns more complicated than ever. This means that in order to better connect with audiences, clients need more help than ever to understand their consumer’s motivations and the behaviour behind the – often complex – purchase decisions that they make.

The agency of the future will be leaner

Marketing clients will continue to in-house and automate marcomms functions in order to save money and time. While some agencies (and their holding companies) will kick against it, those who embrace change will find opportunities to monetise new processes and ways of working. Smaller agencies with nimble and talented freelance networks will gain traction. Training and coaching clients (particularly in tech and performance marketing) will become a legitimate agency function. And agencies developing their own proprietary technologies to help clients work smarter will become ‘a thing’ in its own right.

The agency of the future will be faster

Perhaps more accurately, agencies will better bring energy and intensity to bear on marketing challenges. In tech companies, they call it ‘velocity’ – the idea that moving faster not only gets you there sooner but also gets a better-quality outcome as a result of more focused effort.

Agencies will find ways to deliver quality more quickly – be that through improved structures, clearer processes, the application of new technologies, or changes to how teams are motivated and incentivised.

The agency of the future will be able to better frame problems

Marketing academics and scholars lament the fact that most marketing professionals aren’t well schooled enough in the fundamentals. Whether you agree or not, you’d be hard pressed to find a marketer willing to boast that they’re a master of all facets of modern marketing – there’s just too much to know. The result is that marketing clients increasingly need more than just ‘solutions’ from their agencies – they need help to know the right questions to ask.

Agencies will therefore be expected to play an even more consultative role, providing an expert understanding of appropriate technologies within the context of consumer behaviour.

The agency of the future will double-down on creativity

As process and automation become more commonplace across all aspects of marketing, it’s the agency’s ability to creatively solve problems that will come to the fore. AI can already write poems, songs and even jokes but genuine emotional connection is difficult – it’s hard to measure, it’s hard to articulate, and it takes humanity to craft and hone.

A lot of my work involves digital transformation; helping clients to better understand and apply technology in order to create better marketing. But it’s important to remember that as agencies we are largely about emotionally engaging and connecting with people and, while that can be facilitated through technology, it’s still reliant on people and creativity to make it effective.


Lee JonesLee JonesSeptember 18, 2020
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12min962

“We are in unprecedented times!”

That is the declaration that I have heard over and over for several months now, and it is usually the start of an announcement about cutbacks, site closures, and redundancies.

In many aspects, we are in unprecedented times. The complete change to social relationships and economic situations has literally turned the world upside down since March of this year.

But in some ways, we have been here many times over the years. Economic downturns have happened in a cyclical way throughout history for a variety of reasons. Every decade we witness major events that affect our economy, including the recent 2008 global banking crisis that we now know as the ‘credit crunch’.

In economic terms, the simple equation business leaders must always have in their mind relates to ‘supply versus demand’. In essence, the question to answer is ‘can we make more money than we spend?’ This simple equation is the basis of many board discussions every day in every private, public and third sector organisation globally.

It is estimated that 80 percent of business market value is now accounted for by “off balance sheet” assets. What it means is that most of a business’s value lies in its human capital – or, in plain English, its people.

The pertinent question is… do you view your people as an asset or a cost?

Your response is critical for your long-term commercial success.

On August 3rd, 2020 I officially became co-founder and business owner of a startup along with 7 friends. It’s a first for me, and an exciting decision that we didn’t take lightly. We went into it with eyes wide open, knowing that every day we would need to answer the demand vs supply question and aware that one day demand for our services might stop.

Whilst we cannot control when our customers stop buying, what we can do is control 3 things:

1. Maximise performance

Maximise the revenue in our business by supporting each other to achieve optimum performance. Over the past twenty years, my colleagues and I have worked with top FTSE250 organisations to spot opportunities in their performance data that means they can leverage performance in a different way, which in turn leads to significant commercial benefits.

2. Innovation

By tapping into the experience and knowledge garnered through working with our clients we can continually evolve, changing, adapting and growing to meet demand and reflect changes in the customer and business landscape. It’s no coincidence that when you type innovation culture in to Google, you are met with multiple articles from Mckinsey, Harvard, KPMG and Accenture on how creating a culture where people want to show up, leads to employees, not leaders, constantly pushing the organisation forward.

Google once reported that it creates more customer solutions from its employee innovation day once a month than the remaining days in the month! Innovation day was set up to allow employees an opportunity to work on any (work related) project they choose. According to Dan Pink, mastery is one of the biggest motivators available to us. And Google have tapped in to this brilliantly.

3. Climate

Creating a culture characterised by low attrition, high discretionary effort, optimised working conditions and innovation. We are choosing to treat our people like a family, sharing our successes as well as our pain collectively. A group of U.K. researchers have provided the first scientifically controlled evidence of the link between happiness and productivity.

The study found that “happy people” are about 12 percent more productive than “unhappy people.” A business that facilitates employee happiness, through creating the right climate, means lower turnover and better company performance. Employees are loyal, customers are happier, and companies perform better.

I can honestly say that in our business, we will focus on, and prioritise, these principles because we know that it’s the right thing to do. They are also the foundations from which we will achieve commercial success.

There are many organisations that follow these principles and we have worked with some great ones over the years. There are also organisations that treat people as a number in a cost centre, and in troubled times take that cost out of the business to fix short term commercial goals. If you are wondering who these organisations are, turn on the news today and see if you can work it out!

There are literally thousands of news stories and articles right now about companies that have treated their employees terribly through this pandemic. Bleeding them dry, no compassion, treating them like numbers and dropping them without an ounce of loyalty to their service and contribution.

Forbes Magazine and HBR have all been quoted recently with headlines reading…

‘How you treat your employees during this pandemic will define your brand for decades’.

Wow! If this is true (and I believe it will be) then organisations have some big decisions to make right now about how they navigate their way out of this economic period of downturn and instability.

Dr. Catherine Oliver, of the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge has created a database containing over 300 organisations in the UK summarising whether they have treated their people well or badly, and it has been retweeted over 400 times! Think how many people are using this data to influence their buying decision over the coming years.

A recent piece of Bloomberg research suggests that customers that use your product or service for more than 100 days are more likely to be loyal to you. I know this doesn’t apply to all types of consumer-facing businesses, but it makes a point that customers can move their business anywhere at any time. Can organisations really afford to make poor choices around how they treat their people?

Dr. Oliver’s database shows many sectors with organisations at both ends of the scale with regard to how they treat their people. Interestingly, there are 2 well-known kitchen and bathroom suppliers in Dr. Oliver’s database which are of particular interest to me because I have worked with one of their competitors.

The contrast between how these two organisations treated their people during lockdown couldn’t be starker.

The data shows that one of them, Wren, wouldn’t provide hand sanitizer for office-based staff, treated employees appallingly and then made 700 redundancies hours before the furlough scheme kicked in. Their competitor B&Q told vulnerable staff to quarantine for as long as needed whilst still on full pay. Unwell employees were also paid as normal if they needed to self-isolate and all staff were advised that if stores had to close during lockdown, they would continue to receive full pay.

Of course, these two organisations could have completely different commercial situations, however there are some basic principles in here about how to treat people, whether you need to cut costs or not.

Now I am not naive here, I get it. I understand the commercial pressures that CEOs, Directors and Shareholders are feeling, however there are different ways to ensure organisational survival as well as the protection and safety of your people.

The people that work for your organisation are your family. I am sure we all know somebody who has been made redundant or been treated badly by their employer during these times. No doubt it has hit us hard when it’s happened to us or someone we love. Losing our job or being treated badly at work is very emotive and with suicide rates and mental health issues at very high levels, organisations and leaders have a duty of care to their people and how their actions impact on the protection and safety of our society.

Every day I hear of another household brand that has taken steps to reduce costs for a chance of short-term survival. Another business that has looked at its costs versus its revenue and has made a judgement that costs are too high. The formula is simple, remove big costs, slash budgets and spending, close sites and remove people from the organisation to get the cost line below the revenue line.

It’s ok to right size your business and sometimes it’s a must, but there are many other things you can look at changing first. If you are going to cut jobs now, maybe take these things in to consideration as they could define your brand in the next chapter of your journey.

At the start of this article, I talked about 3 of the controllable factors we believe are important when maximising the potential in your people. Points 2 and 3 were about innovation and climate. The rest of this article focuses in on the first point that I made about maximising the performance of your workforce.

Find out how to drive commercial results through people in your organisation here.


Sandra RadlovackiSandra RadlovackiSeptember 18, 2020
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7min519

Sapio Research, a London-based leading professional business and consumer market research company delivering valuable evidence to clients to support them in understanding their audience, shone bright at the 2020 UK Business Awards, securing Gold in the Professional Services category.

This July, the UK Business Awards celebrated online the finest accomplishments from the world of British business. After a whole day of the Finalists’ presentations, Chair Judges had the honour to announce the best of the best in their category.

One of the winners was Sapio Research, a global full-service market research consultancy with particular expertise in working with marketing services & PR agencies and freelancers.

CXM had the pleasure of speaking with Jane Hales, Managing Partner and Co-founder of Sapio Research about the company values, the challenges they had faced during the crisis, and what winning an award means to the team…

Jane Hales, Managing Partner at Sapio Research
  • Tell us about Sapio Research and the area of expertise of the company.

Sapio Research is a London-based full-service consumer and B2B market research company, delivering valuable evidence to clients to support them to understand their audience, make vital business decisions relevant to their market, and create extraordinary headlines and content. Launched in 2016 we are 3 co-founders, with 5 (soon to be 6) employees.

We have access to over 100 million people worldwide in 150 countries through our online surveys and we can dig deeper through qualitative and secondary research too.

We focus on 3 key services, the “ABC”:

  • Audience understanding – unmet need identification, buying behaviour understanding, customer satisfaction, persona development, media consumption, messaging strategies
  • Brand research – brand perception and competitor mapping, price optimisation, product feature prioritisation
  • Content generation and thought leadership research – online polling surveys

We provide market research to all sectors, but have a particularly sweet spot with PR & Marketing Agencies. We use a range of analysis techniques such as Max Diff, market segmentation and gap analysis. We commit to using our skills for good, delivering fanatical service and developing a company culture we’re proud of.

 

  • Given the current unprecedented situation, what particularly stood out as the challenge over the past few months?

All our sales are on an ad hoc basis, we don’t operate a subscription model so the speed at which so many projects were cancelled during the first week of UK lockdown was a tough and frightening time. Our main concern was to have enough activities to keep the team busy, as we were extremely keen to avoid redundancies or the furlough situation.

So we quickly embarked on a number of self-initiated projects, such as the UK business barometer and collaborations with organisations such as The Marketing Club. This gave us new learnings and content and opened up the doors to being able to provide the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy with vital data for making decisions around the Covid-19 crisis ahead of ministerial briefings. I thought we worked hard before the pandemic, but we seem to step it up a level and strengthened relationships as a result. So for me, the largest challenge is maintaining the new reactive fast pace longer term, so goodness knows how the nurses and doctors will do the same?!

  • What does winning an award mean to you?

For me personally, it was a positive nod that my ideas aren’t always crazy. But most importantly for the team it’s a public recognition of all the great things we do as a matter of course. It was really uplifting to receive such lovely testimonials from clients in support of our entry. We typically play the support rather than the lead role in projects, so blowing our own trumpets feels awkward.

  • What did you like the most about the Awards experience this year?

I was amazed by how much of a buzz and anticipation an all-day Zoom meeting could engender. To be honest, it knocked the socks off my usual Zoom meetings! I enjoyed the opportunity to learn from the presentations of other entrants and talk to some of the judges afterwards.

  • What would be your message to a company wishing to win at the UK Business Awards?

The effort is worth it, even if it’s just using it as an opportunity to reengage with old clients. Get your team involved with the practices and use the assistance of a awards professional.


Andy MacMillanAndy MacMillanSeptember 17, 2020
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6min856

In recent years, ‘empathy’ has become an increasingly relevant mantra for companies and business leaders. The emergence of COVID-19 earlier this year has served as an accelerant to the realisation of how important empathy is in both business and society, as enterprises and individuals seek to navigate a path through great difficulty and uncertainty.

Having empathy for a customer is about understanding their needs and wants. It’s about having intuition about where their preferences are going and being there to greet them with new products and services.

Bold moves

Being empathetic is easier said than done, but many businesses are moving in the right direction. Take KFC, for example, and its recent decision to temporarily drop the ‘It’s finger lickin’ good’ slogan. The brand has used this iconic slogan for decades, so choosing to replace it is a huge move with some obvious risks.

Yet KFC went ahead with the decision as a result of carefully investigated market research and human insights. The decision has been supported by its consumers and praised by communications specialists, proving the value of understanding your audience and how the pandemic has shifted their acceptance of certain phrasing and tone of voice.

Likewise, supermarket chain Morrisons acted swiftly in March when lockdown measures first took effect, changing its core purpose and messaging to ‘feed the nation’. It supported employees and customers with new ways of doing business, including food parcels, more delivery slots, a dedicated call centre, and increased employee benefits.

As we emerge from the pandemic and enter the ‘new normal’, businesses must place empathy at the forefront of the agenda and consider the concept in all key decision-making. Establishing a clear two-way communication with all stakeholders will be the first step in this process, allowing leaders to directly communicate with employees or customers, to ensure that their needs, thoughts and concerns are heard.

Human experience

A renewed focus on customer experience is driving this interest in empathy, but over the next few years we will see a shift to human experience (HX), with businesses aiming to see past a simple customer relationship and look to generate a deeper human connection with stakeholders.

HX is designed to generate empathy, as it considers the reasoning behind behaviours and appeals to emotion, while CX only registers awareness and transparency of behaviour. HX leaders and marketeers will use technology and automation to support, rather than replace human experience, adapting the ways in which they are connecting with their customers.

The use of human insights and emotional data will enable business leaders and decision-makers to unlock the potential of becoming truly empathetic.

Emotional data must take precedence over numerical data and its reductive perspective. By prioritising real human insights, leaders will be on a path to understanding their audiences and predicting the future wants and needs of customers.

It’s about putting empathy into action – not just talking about it.

Key benefits

It’s clear to see why brands must embrace empathy, particularly in light of COVID-19, but what long-term business implications can this approach have?

First, empathy is likely to increase employee retention and lead to a more motivated workforce. If employees are treated well, and feel like they’re understood and recognised by executives, then they’re far more likely to be productive, loyal, and become passionate advocates for the business.

The same is true for customers. Businesses are more likely to retain customers who feel like they’re genuinely understood and their experiences are being shared. It is important, however, to begin incorporating strategies for increased empathy into business operations gradually, as a sudden increase in ‘thoughtful’ communications can seem insincere, particularly in the wake of COVID-19.

Empathy, then, begins with listening to stakeholders, taking the time to understand their experiences, and the emotions generated from them. The next stage is ensuring this lived, human experience is placed at the forefront of upcoming business decisions, campaign plans, internal communications strategies, and product launches.


Dave RosenbergDave RosenbergSeptember 16, 2020
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6min657

The festive season is traditionally one of the most profitable times of the year, especially in retail. Between 2011 to 2019, Christmas spending in cash terms continued to rise each year. Meanwhile, last-minute shopping and the rise of in-store and online discount days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday provide a steady stream of retail revenue throughout December.

But what will the picture look like in 2020, and how can retailers be prepared for a season unlike any other?

Many retailers hope that high street shops remain ‘open for business’ over the coming months, building back consumer confidence, trust and momentum in what has been a particularly challenging year. Being fully prepared to capture festive consumer enthusiasm can spell the difference between a game-changing sales season and a misfire.

Here are three important considerations for retailers to implement now.

1. Secure seasonal staff early

It is never too soon to ensure you have enough workforce to manage potential spikes in demand over the festive period. Many employers start their seasonal employee search in September to provide enough time for thorough training and integration before sales activity picks up. Amazon, for example, is already seeking 7,000 extra workers for the festive period in the UK, and many others are likely to adopt a similar tactic.

Seasonal workers can fill in the gaps when it comes to a wide range of back-end inventory jobs and provide extra help serving customers or bulking up call centre teams. However, it is important retailers have a well-balanced onboarding strategy to help the seasonal workforce successfully adapt to new roles and responsibilities. An onboarding programme for seasonal hires should always include a top-to-bottom review of the company, its products, history, and employee conduct rules and regulations, to ensure they’re ready and confident to provide excellent customer service, all while complying with COVID-19 health and safety measures.

2. The rise in ‘Buy Online, Pick Up in Store’

The pandemic has seen a huge surge in online orders, with many businesses now prioritising their ecommerce channel, whether they’re a traditional retailer that has already embraced online ordering or they’re just starting to sell direct-to-consumer (D2C). With likely limitations on the number of shoppers allowed in store this year, physical stores can expect decreased foot traffic and sales over the festive period.

However, that doesn’t mean the physical store is obsolete. Creative businesses will find a way to use their physical locations during the festive period.

The “buy online, pick up in store” (BOPIS) option has gained traction in recent years, largely thanks to customers who don’t want to wait or pay for shipping costs. But social distancing in response to COVID-19 has led to a significant spike in customers opting for BOPIS. This festive period, with inevitable last-minute shopping, it is likely going to be the perfect storm for BOPIS.

Ensuring you have options for your customers to pick up their items at your store location will help reduce lost sales and will improve customer satisfaction.

Most ecommerce platforms make toggling to in-store pickups as easy as clicking a tick box, but a successful BOPIS programme demands more consideration than simply flipping a switch. Poorly planned BOPIS is worse than none at all if it results in bad customer experience, so take every step possible to make picking up orders as easy and efficient as possible.

3. Reconfigure fulfilment centres to meet demand

Revenue projections are typically high over the festive period, and the need to achieve robust sales momentum for the duration can put intense pressure on everyone within an organisation.

With the anticipated surge in online orders, it will be important to identify the impact on retailers’ warehouses and fulfilment. With efficiency and accuracy being paramount to timely shipping, it will be critical to optimise your warehouse as much as possible.

Ecommerce fulfilment has pushed more companies to invest in warehouse management software which helps increase automation and accuracy, and improves speed and efficiency. Retailers can also temporarily reconfigure fulfilment centres to meet demand. Ensuring popular items are in stock and arrive quickly to the customer is paramount.

Confidence for a successful 2020 sales season

Retailers entering the seasonal rush will need a well-trained, unified team of employees who are customer-focused, tech-savvy and able to skillfully navigate a wide range of demands to create meaningful customer connections.

Amidst uncertainty with the future of physical stores, retailers must also ensure their online channel is efficient and engaging for customers in order to be truly competitive. With this in mind, they must also anticipate the impact on warehouses and fulfilment.

This festive period may be different than any other in many ways, but with the right preparation, retailers can be confident heading into the 2020 sales season.


John PhillipsJohn PhillipsSeptember 15, 2020
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10min1073

With the UK officially entering a recession for the first time in 11 years, it’s fair to say that many organisations are facing an uncertain future. Sales and revenues have been rocked in recent months and, with the economy still struggling to catch up alongside the threat of a second wave still on the horizon, we’re not out of the deep end just yet. 

This time of hardship for businesses has also brought about some key changes in consumer behaviour. The need to stay at home and socially distance in order to meet government guidelines has meant that buying preferences have altered as individuals sign up for services that they potentially hadn’t thought about before. COVID-19 has propelled a declining rate of ‘ownership’ in Britain. A 2018 report found 25 percent of UK adults believed they’d be subscribing to more services over the next five years and more research finding 57 percent of adults globally wish they could “own less stuff”.

As a result, subscription-based models have witnessed a boom in popularity, becoming a key means for businesses to ensure a stable revenue stream and for consumers to get the products they want in a convenient, low-cost way. In fact, a recent Zuora report found that more than half of subscription businesses have not been impacted by the pandemic, while one quarter are actually seeing subscriber acquisition rates accelerate.

Yet, whilst these stats are positive, subscription businesses cannot afford to be complacent – especially those offering Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG). In order to continue to prosper during these tough times and beyond, businesses need to focus on forming direct relationships with their customers, to both increase satisfaction rates and encourage loyalty. Ensuring positive customer experiences has never been more integral to future survival and success.

A shift in mindset

During the peak of the pandemic, with supermarkets and shopping centres closing their doors and millions of households asked to stay at home, many consumers took to ordering products online. Signing up to subscription-based models became a way of ensuring that they were able to access the goods and services that they wanted and needed. From groceries and meal-planning boxes to coffee delivery services, the businesses already implementing subscription-based models saw an increased demand for what they had to offer.

One such business is subscription-based recipe box provider Gousto. Despite the economy still being in turmoil, the growth that this business witnessed during the first half of 2020 – with a 115 percent spike in sales – has meant it has been able to create 1,000 new jobs as part of an expansion. In recent months, this success has been echoed by subscription businesses in many different sectors. For example, according to the Royal Mail, the growth of the subscription box economy has caused a huge surge in parcel delivery, with 15 percent of adults ordering a paid subscription box online during the first couple of months of the pandemic.

According to the same report, digital news and media also saw large growth from March through to May, with a growth rate of 110 percent in comparison to the baseline growth rate captured from February 2019 – February 2020.

This demand for subscription-based services is likely to increase as time goes by, with our recent CPG Subscription Report discovering that consumers who already have a subscription are 2x more likely to get another in the next 3 years. But, as things return to some semblance of normality and restrictions begin to ease, in order to continue to drive this growth and build loyalty within their customer-base, CPG subscription businesses need to place a renewed focus on customer experience initiatives.

Adding true value

In the past, CPG brands could let retailers worry about the customer experience; they only had to provide the products. Now, in a direct-to-consumer reality, CPG brands need to forge relationships based on customer experiences they themselves have created if they want to succeed. Creating a seamless and positive experience has never been more important to ensure stability moving forward. But what is it that makes a positive great experience?

For consumers, whether in prosperous times or in the midst of a global pandemic, the priority is remarkably consistent: they want subscriptions to deliver real value. But their definition of value is much more than simply a price point. Whilst saving money is important to 72 percent of consumers when signing up to a subscription service, it will often not be enough to make them stay long term. This is because cost alone does not equal a good customer experience and is, therefore, not the true driver of subscription decision making.

Today’s consumer wants to be put in the driving seat – therefore businesses who ensure both flexibility and convenience are likely to come out on top. For example, the ability to opt-out or even just temporarily suspend a service is seen as a really important factor. Moreover, the fear of being bound to a company or service is enough to put 42 percent of consumers off signing up in the first place. The delivery mechanism for the subscription must also be more convenient than traditional purchasing. It must take the pain out of tackling the high-street but still provide the experience at home for customers. There is a common thread that the most popular subscriptions will save time, deliver to the home or be something that the customer would struggle to get hold of under normal circumstances.

Customisation is also crucial when it comes to improving the customer experience. Consumers have higher expectations for a subscription model than they do with a single purchase. Taking unique preferences into account is likely to enable businesses to build a better relationship with their customers, encouraging a longer commitment and lessening churn.

In fact, research from the Subscribed Institute recently discovered for companies where one in 10 subscriptions has a change after the initial sign-up, for example, this could be an upgrade, downgrade or add-on, the growth rate more than doubles to 20 percent YoY revenue growth.

Once these models are adopted, focusing on adding value and improving the overall experience for customers will prove critical for building and retaining loyalty long term.

Getting ahead of the game and tapping into the subscription economy now will not only help organisations to bounce back following the global pandemic. It could help ensure future success. However, in order to capitalise on the changes in consumer behaviour and come out on top, businesses need to focus on adding true value and improving the overall experience for customers. Instilling the right blend of flexibility, convenience and customisation for those using a product or service could help your business boost profitability further down the line.


Lana BusignaniLana BusignaniSeptember 14, 2020
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7min750

The swift and dramatic impact of COVID-19 has created tough challenges for brands but keeping consumer relations on ice isn’t a viable solution.

As carefully laid strategies and plans continue to be derailed, brands must remember that the way they respond and interact with consumers today will affect perceptions and performance far into the future.

While the world waits to see the full impact of the pandemic on businesses, the next steps marketers take are what will separate the wheat from the chaff for brands. Being remembered for the right reasons is going to mean adopting the right set of smart and flexible tactics.

Here are four of the biggest factors they need to consider:

1. This is no time to put a stop on advertising

Even as the clouds are beginning to lift, there is still a temptation to hold off on advertising until the crisis has passed entirely. But with this approach comes a strong probability that brands will fall behind competitors.

Nielsen analysis has shown that brands typically reap almost half (47 percent) of the rewards their marketing efforts generate after one year. As a result, those cutting advertising now may face significant negative effects downstream. Alongside smaller market share, it’s likely their long absence will mean advertising messages are less impactful when they do hit the restart button, making it harder to capture attention and drive sales.

To maintain their position and place on the consumer radar, brands must resist the urge to stop all advertising spend. Instead, they should be seizing the opportunities current turbulence brings. For example, the decline in CPMs triggered by the outbreak offers a chance for brands to engage new audiences at a lower cost. The added advantage being that as well as amplifying their immediate reach across varied digital media, harnessing reduced CPMs will increase the likelihood of greater long-term returns.

2. Sudden change can create greater opportunities

The huge disruption to everyday life has fuelled massive changes in normal habits, especially media interaction. With many consumers homebound, consumption levels have soared for both online and offline media.

For brands this shift creates greater scope than ever to bolster exposure and build deeper consumer ties through meaningful advertising; particularly as a high proportion of consumers already plan to make their new behaviours permanent. But it’s also worth noting the potential to evolve standard practices.

By reassessing their usual media channels and spend allocation in line with changing viewing patterns, brands can uncover new opportunities to connect with target audiences. Put another way, they can break the cycle of ‘same as last year’ marketing and cover new ground; whether that’s moving into TV or leveraging premium video-on-demand platforms.

3. Navigating a crisis requires careful messaging

No matter what their sector, most brands have had to swiftly adjust marketing strategies and messaging in the face of COVID-19. Unsurprisingly, this has largely meant an uptick in activity based around the pandemic; according to Nielsen data, 90 percent of all Q1 ads referencing coronavirus occurred at the end of March, with the number of mentions growing particularly fast across the UK, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

But as brands continue to re-orientate, it will be crucial to do so with care. Consumers want the ads brands deliver to not only provide much-needed stability, but also authenticity and real empathy. Broadly, this involves creating ads to fit one of five central themes: assistance for frontline workers, charitable donations, championing public health advice, promoting the benefits of the business’ digital reinvention, and supporting consumer needs.

4. Every good campaign needs a firm data basis

Guiding decisions with precise insight has never been so critical, which makes analytics an essential investment. Nielsen’s own modelling data has shown analytics platforms more than pay their way in the long run; with the right mix of reliable data, sound methodology and activation, the returns platforms produce average at seven times their initial cost.

Accurate analysis of data is particularly important in today’s unpredictable climate, which has seen the value of agility soar. Opting for analytical tools capable of rapidly evaluating diverse new data is vital to drive rapid yet well-informed pivots, if needed. Better still, implementing platforms with the ability to use custom insights will enable brands to gain even more granular insight into what the next best move is to achieve their specific goals.

The future has been permanently changed by the pandemic, with many more changes are still to come. Advertisers that strive to continue building and implementing thoughtful and effective marketing plans will maintain awareness for the right reasons, placing them in a powerful position in the long term. By understanding the opportunities of the current situation and relying on a strong data foundation, brands can weather the storm and come out the other side stronger than they were before.


Debbie CliffordDebbie CliffordSeptember 11, 2020
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7min817

Recent reports show that the blended workplace is very much a reality. Nearly 1 in 5 UK workers plan to work from home indefinitely, half expect to go into the office every day, and two thirds of Londoners plan to divide their time between the office and home.

While flexible working is well reported to increase productivity by as much as over 10 percent in some cases, today’s hybrid world has taken flexible working to a new level with scope to elevate staff engagement and motivation further still, which will have an even greater positive impact on customer service.

To reap the rewards of this exciting workplace of the future, managers do need to rip up the old rulebook and consider new ways of managing a collaborative, engaged team that is now more dispersed.

Don’t be ‘On Demand’

Start first by looking at your self-management and wellbeing. Working remotely can mean the chance to be more productive but only when managed correctly. Virtual leaders can easily fall into the trap of becoming the ‘on demand’ manager, as employees assume that outside of the normal day to day office distractions, managers are more easily and readily available.

Gone are the visual cues of the office that gauge when to hold off from approaching your manager – like head down at the desk, on a call, or having just finished a long meeting.

It’s too easy in the virtual world to think you have to join every Teams meeting, reply to every email and answer every call, which ends up being unproductive and can make you lose focus of your own leadership goals.

Instead, use the benefits of being virtual without the office distractions. Control how responsive you are to your team. Book space in your diary to focus on your own tasks, goals and demands, and when teams know you can’t be disturbed. Allocate time to reflect and think, and to coach individuals.

Your team will soon realise that you don’t need to be involved in every minute customer service problem and teaches them good virtual working habits. It shows trust in your team to handle matters while giving them greater responsibility and authority to make decisions. This in turn boosts morale and leaves you to handle the more complex and strategic activities.

Accountable culture

Fostering a culture of trust is essential to delivering excellent customer service in a virtual world. A place where employees are given the autonomy and authority to make key decisions wherever they’re working and without manger input. Where employees are accountable for their decisions without feeling like they’ll be chastised if they make the odd mistake, but rather learn from it. Where employees are responsible for where, how and when they work in order to get the best results for the business.

This all leads to not only a more engaged workforce but one that has the flexibility and freedom to resolve customer enquiries quickly and effectively.

At Olive, when faced with a challenge, our Operations Leaders will regularly come together in a self-facilitating coaching session to share experiences, assess results and ways customer service could be improved. This learning and innovation culture requires trust and respect to succeed; a culture where leaders can confidentially share mistakes or acknowledge where things could be done better to refine our service delivery which at the same time draws out innovation and ideas from people whether working remotely or not.

Measuring productivity

There are also measures you can put in place to see how well your blended workplace is performing. Team productivity can be assessed through objective led measures, such as how professionally were customers enquiries handled, virtual or not? How slick are company processes such as the time it takes to refund payments? And what are the overall service levels like – from customer holding times to time needed to resolve a query?

Is your technology suite supporting a better connected blended workplace? How agile and effective is your customer service platform to support customer and employee regardless of location or device? Are you able to use chatbots to resolve some of the more commonly asked questions to relieve employee time?

One front line person isn’t the only customer touch point. Sales, finance, and technical experts, will also be customer points of contact so check your technology effortlessly bridges these teams through secure access to share customer data and conversation threads so your teams can collaborate swiftly to seamlessly resolve customer queries from anywhere, any time.

Return to the office

When employees are asked to come into the office for any reasons, ensure you keep communicating and reassuring them. Be mindful that some will be nervous about coming into contact with colleagues for fear of Covid-19.

Be clear on the new office Covid safety measures and workplace policies. Something we did at Olive was to introduce a ‘Back To Work’ plan including health & safety videos to show staff the changes in place, required temperature checks and sanitisation on arrival, and a ‘Welcome Back’ pack to make employees feel comfortable and safe. For those with heightened anxiety or stress concerning Covid-19 offer a counselling service if possible.

The blended workplace is the future workplace but it will take time for some employees to adjust. With the right support, management leading by example, and secure communications technology infrastructure in place, businesses and their customers can reap the rewards fairly swiftly.


Sion LewisSion LewisSeptember 9, 2020
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6min3102

There is no question that video calls have become a lifeline for many over the past few months. Sales of the software have skyrocketed, virtual happy and coffee hours were our new favourite pastime, our workdays became cluttered with video meetings and we held more quizzes with friends and family than we thought possible.

As stay at home restrictions continue to ease, many businesses continue to support remote working for their employees. Video conferencing is still playing a big part in our lives. Especially our work lives.

But in a summer that has not only challenged us with a pandemic but also confronted us with questions about equality and diversity, how does this new way of working play a role in this discussion?

A new unconscious bias

With much of the strive and upheaval of this summer, unconscious bias is back in vogue. Organisations were praised or plundered based on responses to ongoing political and racial discussions, working groups were formed, and a renewed focus was put on diversity at every level of business.

We did this all remotely. For many of us it was restricted to a small rectangle sitting at our kitchen table, living room or in our makeshift office. It was a screen filled with tiny camera images that our colleagues occupied to work through hard discussions. But I doubt any of us took a step back to think about how this format of the discussion impacted unconscious bias.

The office used to be an equaliser. It was professional and separate from life outside of work. But with mass remote working becoming the norm we are forced to invite colleagues into our homes. So, this begs the question, has our bias evolved?

We used to focus our efforts to combat unconscious bias on first impressions, handshakes, eye contact, clothing choices. But much of this has now been taken away. Instead replaced with images from the shoulders up without physical interaction and limited body language to read. However, it could be argued that video conferencing has actually opened up new avenues for unconscious bias as we showcase more of our personal life to those we work with.

Family pictures, furniture choices, style preferences – they all contribute to the decisions that someone makes about us on a video call. Most of these are subconscious.

But what if it was actually the opposite? What if video conferencing actually made the playing field more equal?

The great neutraliser

While doing a video call from your dining room table might feel like it adds extra opportunities for bias, it could also be viewed as taking them away. One beige wall in the CEO’s house is no different from a beige wall in the home of a new university graduate. You are no longer walking into an intimidating office; you are being invited into the home of a colleague.

While the removal of the office might have been anticipated to create more inequality within the workforce, it has actually taken away some of what the office environment provides. Everyone is at home. Everyone has family or pets or deliveries that might unexpectedly join a call – no matter how senior or professional you are, nobody is immune to this situation.

This shared experience could actually be a trigger to relieve some of the unconscious bias we still hold onto in the office.

Powering compassion

Another unexpected side effect of our working world being on video calls is the outpouring of compassion we have seen for each other.

When you work in an office, to an extent, you are expected to leave the outside world at the door. You take on your professional persona. But when your professional world and private world collide in the way they have done this year, that is almost impossible.

Even if you were used to working remotely before the pandemic, it is unlikely that you were used to working remotely with kids and spouses and elderly parents around you as well. You probably weren’t used to scheduling times for meetings in your home office around the other people who needed it or sharing internet bandwidth with children doing online coursework or teenagers wanting to facetime their friends.

Each of our situations was different, but none without their own challenges, and this pushed our colleagues, managers, potential customers to be more understanding. To leave their bias at the virtual door and accept that these distractions might occur.

It humanised us and pushed us to accept that each person we interact with is unique and that is a good thing.

While unconscious bias in the workplace is unlikely to disappear because we have adopted a more remote working culture, we can also make sure that we don’t let it grow. Seeing video conferencing as a great equaliser that builds compassion and comradery – instead of an additional layer of judgement – will go a long way to embracing our new normal.


Sonja KotrotsosSonja KotrotsosSeptember 8, 2020
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10min689

It is impossible to build a cutting-edge skyscraper with a hammer and a box of nails. Modern construction projects call for modern tools designed for the job. And the same is true for a content strategy.

Businesses can’t deliver the experiences that modern markets expect using tools designed for a different era. But because technology and content marketing evolve fast, businesses often face legacy tools and methods from a bygone era without even realising it. And at the enterprise scale, chances are the business is being held back by misaligned goals and knowledge silos that make it difficult to adapt.

So how can businesses create a modern content strategy that makes the best use of emerging technology?

Take stock: Find the weak spots in the current content strategy

As technology and marketing practices have evolved, so has content strategy. But there are always weak spots – typically tactics and tools that once worked, but have been kept well past their expiration date.

Meanwhile, the information that an audience wants has shifted, in large part, because technology keeps providing new ways for them to access content. As a result, businesses need a content strategy that takes advantage of emerging technology, just like those markets.

In an age of the Internet, this means going far beyond a website with necessary information and a periodically updated blog –  a business must be active across other digital platforms. An effective content marketing landscape requires much more than just being present, and target audiences — no matter who that is today — expect more.

New content formats (including video), platforms such as the IoT? and advanced content management and distribution tools allow modern content marketers to share content more widely and personalise it for each customer. To be competitive, this is just the first benchmark.

Growing up beyond the SEO years

SEO is undergoing a much-needed evolution. Search engine algorithms, led by giants like Google, are continuously updated. They can now spot, and often lower the ranking of content that stuffs keywords without adding value.

The new best practice is to create high-quality, long-form content that naturally uses relevant keywords instead of stuffing them where they don’t belong. And for those businesses looking to get ahead of the curve, all of this content needs to be optimised for the coming onslaught of voice searches.

In an era of deep content saturation, businesses are trying to maximise SEO results by doubling down on content creation — using different keyword variations, of course.

However, the top search engines have learned to spot duplicate and low-quality content, which gets penalised in search rankings. Today, search engines place more emphasis on page quality and relevance, which makes it easier for people to find the information they want.

Modern best practices emphasise high-quality content on well-designed web pages that are easy for visitors to navigate. Considering that more than 90 percent of unique website visitors are using mobile devices, today, a well-designed website is a mobile-ready website. And of course, with all things mobile, the aim is to ‘go viral’.

Overcoming the race to go viral

Marketers are now obsessed with decoding the magic behind online successes, in the hopes that they will crack the formula that will draw massive traffic to their digital platforms.

However, the conditions that cause a piece of content to go viral are mostly unpredictable, and the effects can be short-lived once people grow weary of over-the-top headlines. Even if a business hits the holy grail of huge sharing and interaction, there is no guarantee that this will attract the target audience. Trying to force it only diverts energy away from creating consistently credible content that will keep people coming back in the long term.

This commercial realism is critical as businesses embrace digital platforms as a sales opportunity. This now goes far beyond just including a call-to-action encouraging people to make a purchase.

Complete digital engagement is crucial – and the great content that drives this focuses on the customer, not on the brand. Content strategy should align with the sales cycle, which includes different tactics for engaging people at the top and the bottom of the funnel. Content marketing excels at the top of the funnel, where a business can cultivate a digital following by positioning itself as a valuable and credible source of information that helps customers solve their problems.

Forward momentum: How to modernise a content strategy

Updating content strategy isn’t rocket science. It begins the same way that processes have begun for a very long time — by documenting it. Gartner’s research shows that nearly two-thirds of the most successful marketing leaders have a documented content strategy versus only 14 percent of the least successful.

Clarifying the goals of a content strategy

Content marketers can only create compelling content if they know what the company needs that content to achieve, and the answer isn’t always obvious.

This demands in-depth discussion with internal stakeholders to learn about their priorities. Once they are clear on the overall direction that sales and leadership teams want to go, marketers can develop a content strategy that delivers.

Equally important are the buyer personas that underpin any content and this is another opportunity to consult with colleagues to ask some key questions and refine the understanding of the target demographic(s) and the associated buying habits.

This will inevitably lead to a content audit that must balance the invested energy (and money) of maximising a return on existing content, with cutting irrelevant or inaccurate material. Any inventory of content needs to include not just its topics, but also the personas they speak to, the type of content, and – critically – how well it performs.

The goal is to identify those pieces that still align with business goals and buyer personas, then emphasise this best-performing content, or look for opportunities to update older material. While revisiting and removing old content might seem counterintuitive to developing a new content strategy, editing and auditing are essential to the content lifecycle management process.

Identifying new content

Whilst businesses can often reuse old content, the chances are that an audit will reveal gaps to fill, not just in the substance, but also the type of content. This demands new content creation.

Marketers love to brainstorm new ways of delivering content and any portfolio that develops will likely include =visual assets like infographics and video, long-form content like case studies and ebooks, or even a series of email campaigns to follow up with people who purchase specific products.

Because modern consumers trust a variety of different content types, website and application analytics, social media listening, SEO research, and even discussions with customer service and sales teams can inform which topics should be covered.

Going omnichannel

The final consideration is that today’s customers expect to have a seamless experience no matter where they engage with a brand. An omnichannel distribution plan allows a business to reach the target audience wherever they prefer to be, increasing the chances of meaningful engagement.

As part of persona research, businesses must learn where a target audience spends their digital time. Using this information, the creation of tailored content for each audience on each channel is made much more simple.

Managing all this demands a modern content management solution that eliminates the need to recreate content by separating content creation and storage from how the content is published. Application programming interface (API) technology is then used to locate the right content module, run it through whatever personalisation and optimisation platforms that have integrated (such as CRM, translation, A/B testing, etc.), and then distributed to the chosen channels – no more hammers and nails.


Joanna HetheringtonJoanna HetheringtonSeptember 4, 2020
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8min821

CCaaS (Contact Centre as a Service) AI, CX, Omnichannel, Unified Reporting, Automation, Analytics, Deflection, digital transformation…. The list of desirable jargon in the industry rumbles on in the minds of those chasing the ultimate transformation of their ‘Customer Experience’ and is echoed in board rooms throughout the world when leaders are pursuing answers to ‘fix’ broken customer journeys.

Technology can all too often be assumed as the silver bullet to fix cost-saving issues, poor service & resolution experience. Having built a successful career around the deployment of such technology it may seem ludicrous for me to say this is not the answer, but it is not. Technology is critical however it is the enabler only.

Let me expand. There can be no doubt that Contact Centre Technology has evolved and dramatically enhanced business capability to achieve a volume of and quality of customer contact management previously unattainable through non-integrated and traditional solutions however with the right skilled and experienced specialists in place to drive the objectives forward there is much more opportunity to be gained through a back to basics approach than simply investing thousands if not millions in contact centre technology as some kind of band-aid.

As an example I had a discussion with a Senior acquaintance recently who said they ‘desperately need AI in their business‘ – I asked them ‘why?’, they replied ‘to improve the customer experience‘. I asked them ‘what are you going to do when you get it ?’ they replied ‘no idea but we need it to be competitive‘ – a sales person’s dream but heading on a course of failure for the business.

Transformational ‘technology‘ programmes in an operational and customer facing environment often extend far longer than they should, cost much more than they ought to, fail in preventable places and leave leadership, employees and customers feeling somewhat conned by the result if the basics are not right and the company investing in the technology does not really (and I mean really) know why they are buying it!

So, how do we get to the answer?

How do we delight our employees and customers? What do we mean by back to basics? The key to solving a business’s CX and operational efficiency issues lies within.

1. Identify your Pain Points, internally and externally. Through a combination of measures across your existing processes, people, product performance, customer feedback & technology. Try and associate the impact of these pain points to time and ££ lost to address issues or complete processes and grade these pain points in priority to fix. Your frontline employees & customers will be critical in contributing to this exercise – they know feel and deal with the pain points every day.

2. Baseline your data against what you want to achieve based on the priority profile of pain points – meaningful KPIs, effort measures and service standards – review benchmarks, ideally competitors, do you want to meet industry standards or stretch to best in class? What do these standards mean – are they applicable to your business or meaningless to you and your customer?

3. Analyse your transactions. All of them. Not just volumes but the purpose of transactions – internally and externally. Do you need them all? Are internal transactions serving an internal purpose only but causing delay or frustration to the customer (do they contribute to the pain points already identified either for the customer or the employee? If so, are they necessary?). ‘We’ve always done it this way ‘is not a justification for keeping a process or transaction. Challenge the Status Quo. The likelihood is if you have not done this before you will be astounded by your emerging transaction profile, but this will in turn give you compelling data to enable investment in the right areas.

4. Once you have identified points 1-3 align, add to or use your emerging story to input directly to the company strategic direction for the next 3 years. This means the organisation must use your insight and analysis to help define its value proposition and its customer experience strategy and engage the entire organisation in a collective mission to succeed. This is critical. Without this collaboration, leadership & engagement true transformation is not possible, and you are at risk of adding more problems into the mix with bolt-on solutions which eventually will not fit either. It is critical that every member of the board understands the situation and the opportunities which exist to be able to dramatically change your company’s game through investment in the inevitable change of operating model, processes and technology. Yes, the ‘ask‘ will almost certainly be for investment in technology however contact centre technology must first and foremost enable a single view of the customer’s contact experience with your organisation, sometimes it is very difficult even to get to this mandatory CRM goal due to complexities of retiring legacy systems and consolidating and eliminating data & processes but it needs to be the core foundation of the transformation before any bells and whistles are added

Contact Centre Technology as an enabler

During the course of my career, I’ve been asked by clients and colleagues alike whether the promises of ‘ROI’ and true transformation of CX  that are (rightly) pitched by contact centre technology salespeople and partners are really possible – you know what – I believe these ‘technology win’ targets absolutely are possible and beyond but only if the business actually knows what they want and need for themselves before writing lengthy RFPs or engaging technology vendors in detailed design or solutioning which is at high risk of missing the point entirely.

In essence, if points 1-4 are followed with all of the organisation engaged and aware, followed through with and followed up on post-deployment in an effective customer success partnership, if the business is serious about CX transformation & invests in qualified experts to manage its technology truly can do anything you want it to….

If your organisation really knows what they want it to do!


Wayne KayWayne KaySeptember 3, 2020
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6min942

Digital transformation agendas have been accelerated in both public and private organisations, where innovative cloud solutions have quickly been adopted, making a cloud strategy the unsung hero in the fight against COVID-19.

It is no secret that the pandemic has already exacerbated the struggles of brick-and-mortar sellers while digital sales are booming. And now, in an effort to stay competitive in online sales, cloud services have become even more important for organisations.

As more organisations recognise the value of having CX solutions ready-to-scale in the cloud we are seeing new technologies and opportunities such as AI changing how we deliver those services.

Recently we had the opportunity to speak with CISCO’s Kevin Ferrell in our webinar on how to address common challenges facing cloud migration in the contact centre space. Here are the 3 key strategies that we discussed:

1. Orchestrate the entire CX journey

Traditionally, contact centres have focused on how to optimise customer interactions only once the conversation has started. However, innovative customer experience organisations have moved beyond a narrow channel focus, into proactively engaging the entire customer journey.

Think of it as customer centres, not contact centres. In this space the customer journey is usually well underway before an agent is reached, be it defective products, emergency questions, or feedback on prior service. Leaders need to consider in a broader sense how to orchestrate this end-to-end journey.

Customer journey orchestration is not something that you do after you move to cloud, it needs to be understood well before to help inform and influence the cloud design. Leaders need to ingest, analyse, and fine tune customer interactions to become increasingly proactive and knowledgeable.

One of the initial benefits within journey orchestration is the ability to monitor customer behaviour to perform pre-emptive and proactive services as opposed to the responsive service you see today. Anticipating and detecting needs before they even happen can help reduce the volume in the contact centre while also reducing the overall effort on the customer and agent side.

2. Make CX effortless through digital messaging

It is time to redefine digital channels. This platform is no longer confined to chatbots or webchat, it has evolved into myriad communications including text, asynchronous messaging, and video. These are the channels of choice for several demographics and all in the cloud.

It is also all asynchronous, all in one place. Customers now expect you to meet them on their terms, in their own time. That is why enabling customers to communicate with agents this way has made the digital messaging channel a much richer and candidly more convenient channel than traditional voice or webchat.

Cloud is the key to unlocking its potential even further. With digital messaging in the cloud, organisations can handle hundreds of thousands of contacts in a day. It is quick to turn on and quick to scale.

It also adds value to the employee. With many contact centre agents working from home due to COVID-19, digital channels are more conducive to a work-from-home environment for employees who may not always have a perfectly quiet environment, especially with home schooling. For many, digital messaging enables a conversation to go beyond background noise.

Interactions are also a better experience when both parties are familiar with the channels they are using. Digital channels are so prolific in everyday life for customers and agents that it has become a comfort zone.

3. AI is the game-changer for true digital experience transformation

Once you have proactively orchestrated the customer journey and connected to digital channels you must ensure that it does not overwhelm your agents. That is where artificial intelligence comes into play.

Many contact centres have tried to create an effective, digital self-service approach, but are unable to significantly reduce voice interactions. AI has changed that in the cloud space.

AI enables you to not only meet customers in the digital channel, but also immediately deliver assistance instead of asking the customer to wait in queues. You can identify a customer in a moment of need, and immediately serve them in time.

Typically, a lot of processing power is needed to run AI. But as a cloud consumer you simply turn on the AI capability and start to focus on where it fits in the entire customer journey. It is part of optimising your agents and making every party’s experience as effortless as possible.

Embark on your cloud journey

Your customers want to be on the receiving end of effortless experiences and the technology to deliver it is there for the taking. But if you have a fragmented cloud strategy, creating effortless experiences will be nearly impossible.


Sundara SukavanamSundara SukavanamSeptember 2, 2020
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5min785

Human interaction is critical to our wellbeing, which is why many of us struggled with the COVID-19 lockdown. As Nicholas Christakis at Yale put it “The world called on us to suppress our profoundly human and evolutionarily hard-wired impulses for connection: seeing our friends and getting together in groups.” This is why we saw a dramatic rise in the use of apps like Zoom and HouseParty as we found different ways to interact with our friends, family and colleagues.

This yearning for human engagement is driving an important shift for customer service teams. Customer experience can no longer be formulaic: it must be driven by empathy, connection and the desire to resolve problems actively. And these changes need to be implemented whilst large parts of the workforce are still working remotely. So how will businesses navigate this change?

Balancing empathy and efficiency

Even before lockdown, positive human interaction sat at the heart of good customer service. Consumers were seeking a personalised experience. In fact, research from Microsoft found 72 percent of customers wanted customer services teams to know who they are and what they had previously purchased. However, personalisation alone is not enough; nearly a third (30 percent) of consumers expected customer services agents to be knowledgeable and friendly. Failure to deliver this positive experience can negatively impact Net Promoter Score (NPS) and see customers turning to the competition.

This need for personalised, human engagement has increased as we ease out of lockdown. For businesses, this means a delicate balancing act between empathy and efficiency. Every organisation is looking to streamline operations; ultimately, the goal is to have agents deal with more enquiries whilst delivering a higher ratio of positive outcomes. However, an efficient customer service capability that also provides a sensitive, empathetic experience is not as counterintuitive as you may think. Enter technology and upskilling.

Human plus digital

To deliver a customer experience that is fit for these unsettling times, agents will need to be driven by empathy and the resolve to solve customers problems proactively. This is where technology has a critical role to play as an enabler to your team. By taking away administrative tasks and equipping customer service teams with data-driven insight, it will be easier for agents to have positive, empathetic conversations whilst speedily resolving issues.

Just as important as elevating human interactions is identifying the areas that are ripe for automation. There are many low-lift, non-strategic engagements where a digital solution can deliver better results. Enterprises should review the customer journey and identify where there is a role for automated systems such as chatbots, which consumers are increasingly willing to engage with. Research has found 30 percent of consumers rate chatbot interactions as “very effective” when dealing with their queries. Implemented in the right way, these systems can quickly resolve simple issues while freeing up agents to focus on more complex issues where human interaction is essential.

Finally, customer service staff have also been impacted by lockdown. Many are working remotely and need support and upskilling to help them reshape customer experience for the current climate. One UK media company provides a great best practice example here. Remote teams were supported with digital training around products, processes and compliance. This was supplemented with in-depth training assessments, train-the-trainer initiatives. The result was more positive customer interactions across the board; NPS rose by 4.5 while productivity grew by 10 percent.

Get the right guide

Given the unprecedented disruption that businesses have faced over recent months, the task of revamping customer experience may seem daunting. Taking a digital-first approach that supports staff and customers alike makes it possible to drive change fast, effectively and affordably.  Service providers and technology partners can act here as experienced guides for businesses embarking on this journey.

No one can be certain about what will happen next. However, making the right decisions now, organisations can ensure they are ready to surprise and delight customers in the next normal.


Rebecca BrownRebecca BrownSeptember 2, 2020
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13min1124

Great customer experience doesn’t happen by accident. It takes a long-term commitment to learning about your customer, an understanding that the work is never ‘done’, and a universal vision shared by everyone who works in your organisation – to provide your customer with the service they expect; each and every interaction.

Even with the right intentions, the sad fact is that fantastic businesses fail every day. So what makes one business succeed, where another one doesn’t? Is it down to luck? Hard work? Getting the right support?

Let’s take the current climate as an example. Businesses have had a stark choice to either adapt swiftly, bring in radical new policies and change how they operate or, in some cases, remain closed – possibly forever.

This could be the perfect time to use Covid as an excuse. To let complaints build up or leave customers waiting on the phones for longer than usual with the misconception that your customers will show understanding. We are all in this together after all – aren’t we?

The problem is that whilst customers probably were more understanding at the beginning of the nationwide lockdown, sentiment amongst our customers is shifting now – and with good reason.

Ian King, Business Presenter for Sky News put it well when he asked: “Will coronavirus be latest ready-made excuse for poor company performance? From the weather to the World Cup, there is a long history of companies blaming factors beyond their control for missed targets.”

The public are starting to feel more and more that businesses have had enough time to make plans, to bring in more staff to help with increased demand, or to re-set expectations where things have changed beyond recognition. Customers have run out of patience and if we don’t take that seriously, we run the risk of seeing them vote with their feet.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Amongst the businesses doing the bare minimum, there are plenty of shining lights. Businesses who have taken control and been proactive about their customer experience from early on in the situation, genuinely looking after both their staff and their customers in the process.

One business leading the way in post-Covid preparations is South-Coast based chocolatier, Montezuma’s.

Whilst walking past their Chichester store last week, I was struck by how clear and simple they’d made their guidance to anyone visiting their shop. You could see from a distance whether they were full and if so where to queue and a friendly staff member was permanently present to offer support and guidance.

A quick scan of their recent reviews shows two things. Firstly, that they aren’t hiding anything. Like any large-scale business, they will get the occasional unhappy customer, and those (few) negative reviews are left online for all to see. Their transparency is refreshing.

The second thing is that they clearly pulled their socks up and made changes that impacted positively on their customer experience very early on, whilst some other retailers were still ‘solving’ large call queues by turning off phone lines.

“Challenging times demand chocolate”, “Excellent service despite current difficulties” and “A very good service in these difficult times” are just three direct quotes from customers.

I will certainly never disagree that challenging times demand chocolate, (that’s one customer who has their lockdown strategy figured out!) but I was keen to understand what had left these customers so satisfied, what had driven the changes in store, and whether Montezuma’s had landed on a positive customer experience by chance.

I reached out to Co-Founder Helen Pattinson to ask her about Montezuma’s approach to customer experience, and the challenges they’ve faced since the start of 2020.

Here’s how they approached re-opening, and some handy tips that retail stores can take on board!

1. What’s been your biggest challenge in re-opening and have you experienced a difference in overall customer satisfaction?

Helen: Our biggest challenge was ensuring the stores were safe, and above all the perception by customers (and staff) was that they were safe. Our customers have been fairly understanding about the measures in place, they probably miss their little chocolate taster when they pop into store but again, they understand the reasons why and hopefully this will be back in some form soon.

2. How did you approach your plan to re-open, to ensure you placed the welfare of your staff and customers first?

Helen: As soon as we had the green light from the government to open our stores again, we decided not to rush back in to it and to wait and see what the high street was doing.  We wanted time to ensure that we captured the best practice and had time to train the teams; the extra two weeks meant we were comfortable we would get it right first time for our customers and staff. Risk Assessments were carried out in each store, resulting in a phased opening on reduced hours and days to ensure we didn’t over commit to staffing levels and gauge what the high street was doing. Our Head of Retail and his teams have a WhatsApp group to ensure regular communication. We also ensured every store had a laptop to help with communication and interaction, making training and regular communication via Zoom or Teams much easier now.

3. What do the changes look like in your shops?

Helen: We’ve always had a policy that the customer must be made to feel very welcome with no pressure to buy and a chance to taste and chat about their favourite foodstuff, so a lot of the changes we’ve had to make in store really go against the grain and we’ve had to work really hard to ensure they achieve all our goals.

Measures put in place include a barrier at the entrance to keep the number of customers in the store at a safe level, implementing Perspex screens at till areas, providing staff with masks, visors and gloves, installing hand sanitiser stations, using floor tape to demarcate 2m zones, applying a one-way system in store, maintaining card only payments (encouraging contactless), utilising a pairing system for staff to work together where possible, frequent cleaning of the store – especially high touch areas – following additional control procedures, removing ‘naked’ chocolate from sale, no sampling of open chocolate to shoppers, encouraging all customers to wear masks instore (where appropriate i.e. we are not refusing those who are exempt). 

We managed the customers’ expectations by using signage at the barrier to communicate our measures to customers with the aim of ensuring they still feel welcome but also reassured we’re taking every possible measure to keep them safe.

4. What about your people, how do you make sure you find the right team to deliver excellent service, and how are you supporting them through the current situation?

Helen: we want people who are as passionate about the brand and share our values. You can easily train someone on how to do something, it is much harder to change a person’s behaviour – our interviews are interactive and relaxed to ensure their personalities can shine and encourage people to be themselves – we look for people who love people and enjoy making people feel happier than when they arrived in store.

We’re running customer service training sessions via Zoom every 2-3 weeks (so far for managers, to be expanded to the rest of the team). This has increased since re-opening as stores have benefitted from having laptops to enable more regular and convenient remote training sessions.  We’re about to launch LinkedIn learning for all our teams and in the medium to long term we are reviewing our customer service training, with a view to bringing in an overhauled programme that will deliver consistent Extraordinary Experiences!

I’d like to thank Helen for being so willing to share some of their secrets to success. It’s clear from the detail that she’s gone into in her answers that their customer experience strategy is no accident. In fact, they care about their customers so much at Montezuma’s that they work with a Customer Experience Agency to help collect the right insight, and transform that insight into a meaningful experience.

So, this week’s top tips:

  1. Deliberately design your customer experience, don’t leave room for chance or errors.
  2. Take your time, don’t rush to re-open if waiting to see how things work out will give you better access to best practice and ultimately enable better support for your customers.
  3. Invest in great teams – find the best staff, treat them well, and empower them through regular training!

Check out the previous instalment of Bill and Doug:


Efrat VulfsonsEfrat VulfsonsSeptember 1, 2020
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7min709

There are numerous technological options to choose from in order to collect customers’ data. What they all share is the ability to keep track of your customers’ spending, how often they visit your website, their overall opinion of your business, etc.

Why should you care about consumer insights for your business? You can use it to improve your business in the present and the future. According to a recent article posted on Forbes 76 percent of clients believe that companies should know their needs and expectations.

The data will give you insights about your clients, providing you with an upper hand on your competitors. In this article, I’ll share just why consumer data is essential to enhance your business and how automation is used to improve your customer relations and bottom line.

Improves Customer Experience

When clients are happy with your product and service, they are more likely to come back to shop with you, which is what you want.

Data can assist in creating the best experience for them. Firstly, when you know their names and other information, you can create a more personal interaction. For example, one of the everyday email marketing hacks used by marketers is to personalise the welcome email sent to a customer with data gathered during the purchase path.

Another use case for data analysis is sentiment analytics when a text is processed to understand whether it’s positive, neutral, or negative. The words you analyse are those of reviews or comments about your business. When they’re mostly positive, you’ll know your customers are happy with their experience.

However, negative comments will give you insight on what isn’t working in your company. You can then look into ways of solving this problem, like training employees, making your website more user friendly, or improving products. Then, your customers should have a better experience shopping with you.

Customise Marketing Strategies

Data-driven marketing is a great way to attract new customers and keep loyal ones coming back. Consumer data is used to refine your approach to marketing. For example, you should understand where your customers are demographically from collecting data and make your target accordingly.

Such insights help to identify your buyer persona, the ones you should strive to reach out to gain new clients. You won’t have to waste time contacting those who aren’t likely to shop with you, and you’ll spend more time on the ones that fit your target market.

Attracting customers to return to your store is an important KPI for every retailer business continuity plan. You can often look at your shoppers’ habits, like their average spend, which products they tend to buy frequently, and how often they shop with you. Based on this commonly used insight, most merchants offer their customers with some sorts of incentives.

For example, if they usually spend about $50 every time they come in, give them a coupon for a discount when they spend $60 or more.

For this customer, this amount is reasonable and not too much to spend. They’ll want to shop because they know that next time it’ll cost less. Although you’ll be giving them a discount, they’re more likely to get into your store to spend money now with the coupon, which is better than them not coming back.

Allows You to Predict for the Future

Consumer data helps with modelling and creating predictions about your business. You will know how often you get new clients and how many loyal customers you have and see if you should rely on customer loyalty, or if you better spend more time investing in getting new ones.

Also, you can monitor how promotion campaigns worked for your profit during those times. If boosting sales is your main KPI, knowing how specific promotions are better than others is crucial. You can understand if your pricing is just right for your customers, or if it has to be changed.

There are many ways to understand how your business might look in the future based on customer data. Knowing this before it’s too late will assist you in being proactive with your business decisions.

The Bottom Line

We live in a world where you can obtain any information you want within a couple of clicks. Although it takes a little more to figure out customer data, it’s a lot easier now than ever before.

Whether you’re a huge corporation or a small business just starting out, knowing your clients’ information will improve your company. It will enhance your customer’s experience online or in person. You’ll be able to market clients more effectively with the information you have. Lastly, consumer data can help you make assumptions on what is going on with your competitor’s market.

The more you know about your customers, the better you’ll know how to run your business today and in the future.


Paul BidderPaul BidderAugust 31, 2020
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7min818

At the beginning of the year, the retail industry was focussed on providing customers with the best possible experience to entice them in-store. We saw interactive windows, smart mirrors and VR showrooms deployed to improve efficiency.

However, the pandemic put a stop to this, ushering in irreversible changes to the way we shop. In response, retailers have had to redraw their roadmaps to ensure they can drive growth post-pandemic.

Our research has revealed that Covid-19 has put the focus on digital as a key business priority. With more people shopping online than ever before, 62 percent of UK retailers have now named eCommerce as a cornerstone of future investment. Companies are now looking for ways to improve their customer engagement strategies and provide more seamless buyer journeys.

To this end, brands had previously developed new apps in a bid to supplement traditional sales channels with digital equivalents. That said, app fatigue has now arrived, and investing large sums of time and effort into app development seems counterproductive.

Progressive web apps (PWAs) could likely be the contender to succeed apps, allowing brands to take a proactive approach to customer engagement – but how can this be done?

The power of our smartphones

PWAs have the potential to be a real game-changing moment for mobile shopping, disrupting the very foundation that mobile commerce sits on. They represent an opportunity to create a better, more stable, smoother mobile shopping experience. Not only this, but they also work well on low-quality networks and have full functionality when loaded, meaning shoppers can now even checkout offline. Current mobile experiences struggle to meet ever-changing consumer expectations, and PWAs represent the next evolution in mobile-driven commerce.

But why is this so important?

We’ve reached a milestone when it comes to internet traffic across the globe, with over 50 percent now generated through mobile devices. Almost every third person now owns a smartphone, and this is set to grow by several hundred million in the next few years which will have huge implications for both PWAs and mCommerce.

Almost three-quarters (73 percent) of all retail eCommerce is expected to be generated through our mobile devices by 2021, and so it’s clear how the development of PWAs will sit at the heart of this development.

What’s more, from a business perspective, PWAs have the potential to reduce the burden of maintaining both a mobile website and a mobile app. They’re already beginning to replace standard websites since retailers have been using them to generate more conversions – with conversions seen as the lifeblood of eCommerce, this means we’ll likely see uptake rise over time. They also have the potential to cut costs compared with developing a new native app, since PWA code works across all platforms – desktop, mobile and tablets, along with every browser.

PWAs applied to business

PWAs were announced back in 2015 as “experiences that combine the best of the web and the best of apps.” While the technology is still developing and maturing, a group of early adopters has showcased the transformative change the technology stands to bring to business.

The UK clothing brand George is a shining example of what can be achieved by upgrading a website to a PWA – after making the move, the retailer saw a 31 percent increase in conversion on its mobile site. Other quantifiable benefits included:

  • 3.8 x – Faster average page load time
  • 2 x – Lower bounce rate
  • 31 percent – Increase in conversion rate
  • 20 percent – More page views per visit
  • 28 percent – Longer average time on site for visits from the home screen

Elsewhere, PWAs have helped Debenhams deliver a 40% increase in mobile revenue and a 20 percent rise in conversions; Tinder has cut load times down from 11.91 seconds to 4.69 seconds; and Trivago saw a 150 percent increase in customers adding it to their home screen along with a 97 percent rise in clicks onto hotel offers.

Going beyond app stores

Clearly, PWAs can help brands across every industry generate substantial ROI, but one issue which needs to be overcome is distribution and consumer behaviour.

Once a PWA is designed, it’s uploaded straight to a web server like any other web app – users can then interact with them as soon as they visit the website, providing they’re signposted well.

It follows that a major issue for PWAs is a proven way of distribution. If companies fail to establish and spend money to notify consumers on how they can be accessed on the internet, they are unlikely to go mainstream. Consumer awareness needs to build for this new type of app.

A first mover advantage?

A lot of the noise around PWAs has focussed on their use within mCommerce strategies, but their impact could be far wider-reaching. They represent the first time in a single app can be used on a smartphone, voice channel, watch, or the rest of the multi-channel pantheon of offerings.

Early adopters are beginning to scratch the surface of what can be achieved through PWAs. Taking them to the next level will require other progressive brands getting involved to further prove the benefits they bring to business. There are many factors brands must consider before implementing PWAs, but we’ve already seen pioneers like George, Debenhams and Trivago make a compelling case for others to follow suit.




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A free way to improve your business.

Customer Experience Magazine is the online magazine packed full of industry news, blogs, features, reports, case studies, video bites and international stories all focusing on customer experience.


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