Why are sales of vinyl records on the increase?

Many of you will have a box of dusty vinyl records tucked away in your attic. Why? Because you’re emotionally attached to them. You remember how you felt when you bought them. You love the artwork, the feel and the smell. You keep them because they’re a part of who you are. You love owning them.

So when kids who have grown up in the digital era begin buying vinyl, this tells us that human beings crave the emotional attachment that comes from ownership. Logically, vinyl should have disappeared years ago, but its tangible, un-duplicatable and imperfect nature clearly connects with us on a deep level.

Recognising the importance of ownership is critical for customer experience as we move into an increasingly omnichannel environment. Businesses are trying to work out how best to join up traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ infrastructure with digital channels. Determining the value of both in the customer journey is essential if we are to design seamless and intuitive omnichannel experiences.

Reducing Customer Effort

Understanding when – and why – customers are prepared to exert effort is a key to this problem.

The digital age has dramatically reduced the amount of effort that we are prepared to invest in simple tasks such as browsing and searching for information. But there are still times when we are happy to make the effort to visit a store.

However, that’s not to say our expectations of physical retail experiences aren’t changing. While many of the recent digital innovations in retailing have yet to become mainstream, the use of technology to enhance the in-store experience is on the increase. Trends such as augmented reality and beacon technology are enabling retailers to deliver more dynamic, personalised experiences, and have the potential to significantly reshape the retail landscape.

The challenge for businesses is to identify the precise moments in the customer journey when increasing effort will lead to a more desirable and authentic experience.

I Want It All

Increasing vinyl sales show us that people want both the digital and the physical.

While I want the convenience of downloading a track onto my phone, I also want the emotional attachment of physically owning the product. And while older generations are finally appreciating the benefits of streaming their entertainment, younger generations are learning the value of ownership.

There is a place for both physical and digital experiences in the customer journey, and there will be for a long time to come. But understanding how digital can complement traditional bricks and mortar infrastructure presents a significant challenge. It’s not a question of whether one is better than the other, it’s a question of finding ways to merge the physical and the digital to provide a seamless and authentic customer experience.

If we are to bridge the physical/digital divide for our customers, we must also do the same within our own organisations. Ironically, solving the problem of ownership in customer experience requires us to let go of the tendency to ‘own’ aspects of the customer journey and find ways to break down the silos that restrict the flow of knowledge.

I Want It Now

Designing and delivering intuitive, omnichannel experiences requires the effective and rapid sharing of data and knowledge across a business and its partners. But this can only be achieved if employees and partners are able to engage in real-world, real-time conversations where they can express their emotions about what is actually happening.

Enabling employees and partners to share their experiences in an authentic environment can reveal the insight needed to design seamless customer experiences. In doing do, an organisation is able to perpetually evolve in response to the changing needs of its customers.

As we move further into the digital age, physical experiences will become increasingly valuable. While our minds crave the immediacy of digital, our senses crave the tangible uniqueness that only physical experiences can provide. And although we are now beginning to understand the building blocks of a ‘digital mindset’, we now need to work out the order in which to stack them to achieve the results we desire.

So don’t worry, those vinyl records in your loft are safe for the foreseeable future.

 Join the bricks and mortar vs digital debate that is The QoE. We help you investigate what the future of customer experience means for your business and your specific context.

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