Since March 2020, many companies have scrambled to accelerate their digital strategy to augment customer digital experience. My company found that consumer expectations have increased dramatically as digital means have become the only point of contact consumers have with many brands.
This acceleration and shift in consumer behavior has put the spotlight on organizations that don’t have the systems or technology in place to make the quick pivots needed to deliver the most desirable digital consumer experience. Brands that truly understand the digital journey saw this global disruption as an opportunity to rewrite their strategy and deliver a more empathetic and human digital experience.
If you had the chance to start from scratch and create a new digital experience, what would you focus on?
From a business perspective, it may be impossible for an organization to rebuild their digital strategy from the ground up. However, as the general manager of a digital consultancy, I’ve found that redistributing resources can be just as impactful in delivering an optimized end-to-end customer experience. One of the greatest advantages of the digital world is that it doesn’t take years to redevelop a digital experience. You just need a few smart decisions to realign resources in a cohesive way.
Here are some important considerations to focus on when building or refreshing your company’s digital experience:
Aim to gain a deeper understanding of customers.
If you don’t know what your customers are looking for, you won’t be able to serve them a great digital experience. It’s as simple as that. Consumer research is helpful, but it can only go so far. Most companies have great data but don’t know how to effectively use it.
A solid data and analytics strategy can help you understand in real time how the landscape is changing and provide insight to changing trends, new opportunities, what your consumers want — which can help you anticipate their needs — and so much more. I think developing and aligning your data and analytics strategy with your business objectives and customer experience should be a key focus for any company. The result of doing so can enhance customer experience and drive future growth.
One of the greatest advantages of a digital ecosystem is that data is everywhere. This means that you have multiple touch points that allow you to connect the dots of your consumers’ behavior. In order to align your analytics strategy to your digital experience I would recommend a few different steps: Determine which touch points are most important to your business goals, as too much data could lead to confusion or a lack of focus. Outline how those data points affect the longer term view of the customer. Set benchmarks that will allow you to understand how changes in your ecosystem affect the consumer experience. Analyze your data regularly so you can see subtle changes that allow you to react quickly.
Simplify the digital journey.
Complex digital experiences are no longer tolerated by consumers. They want a simple journey that gets them the results they’re looking for quickly and easily. Creating easy-to-use digital experiences can be difficult, especially for companies with legacy technologies and without the foresight in anticipating the evolution of consumer needs.
Identify where the most important touch points are along the customer journey, and figure out how to make those touch points easy and delightful so the experience adds value to your brand — and sets you up for long-term success. For years, simplicity has been the mantra of tech-first companies coming out of Silicon Valley. And for the most part, it’s worked and displaced larger, slower moving companies. That’s the beauty of digital-first startups — they’re starting from scratch. We’ve all seen firsthand the impact of simplicity.
Connect to everything, everywhere.
Our digital world consists of multiple brand touchpoints and 24/7 access. A survey of 2,000 adults examined the average amount of time people spent using various devices throughout the day. The survey found that the typical American spends 4 hours 30 minutes watching TV, 4 hours 33 minutes looking at a smartphone, over 3 hours using a gaming device, and nearly 5 hours on a laptop daily. And since 2020, those numbers have increased by around 30 minutes for each device.
So what? The average American is spending more than 17 hours a day in front of a screen, and they aren’t scrutinizing at a category level any more. This means that any and every platform gets an even priority for potential eyeballs.
Brands have an opportunity to distribute delightful digital experiences in a number of different ways and regardless of the entry point. By developing a content management and distribution strategy, along with technologies built for that distribution, organizations will have many opportunities to take advantage of evolving consumer behavior.
Think beyond constraints.
The digital ecosystem is changing rapidly — faster than many of us expected. The original assumptions used to build your digital experience may be outdated. Consumer digital experiences now require frequent monitoring to adapt to the evolving landscape.
You may not have to rebuild your digital strategy from scratch. However, you may want to consider a reevaluation exercise that inspires thinking beyond your current constraints. Through data and analytics, focus on areas that are most important to your consumer and business objectives. Approaching the challenge with a fresh set of eyes will help shape your digital experience now and better prepare you for the future.