When it comes to digital transformation, all organizations are looking to improve. We surveyed global product content leaders, commissioned from Forrester Consulting,* to find out what they thought about customer experience and digital transformation around product content, including their business priorities.
When asked “Which of the following are most important to executing on your top business priorities,” the top three responses were improving the customer experience, driving growth, and growing their eCommerce presence. Decision-makers ranked these three elements higher than reducing costs and customer retention.
In today’s marketplace, winning that shopper experience at the digital shelf requires a continuous feedback loop on eCommerce product performance, including shopper interactions with content, add-to-cart and conversion rates, and competitor activities.
Let’s look at each of these three top-ranked elements.
Improving Customer Experience
It’s no surprise that CX is on the list. After a year of accelerated online activity, no one disputes that engaging customers is important to driving sales, and the way consumers are able to interact online is incredibly important. More than half of survey participants cited it as a top business priority this year.
Interestingly however, at a regional level, the importance ratings did show a clear ranking difference between EMEA and Latin America. Latin America ranked customer experience improvements as significantly more important than their EMEA counterparts (60% vs. 48% rating CX as one of the top important elements). This may be due to several reasons, including a more established infrastructure of large retailers across EMEA (especially Europe) and a generally average older population that tends to shop physically in stores, compared to the average younger and more mobile-use shoppers in Latin America.
Syndigo has noted anecdotal confirmation as well, including strong growth in Latin America-focused eCommerce platforms such as NuSpace, a digital platform for Brazil’s Drogarias Iguatemi customers, or L’Oreal’s online activities across the region. In addition, online shopping holidays such as Hot Sale and El Buen Fin in Mexico and other parts of Latin America highlight the emphasis on mobile eCommerce, which echo the Black Friday / Cyber Monday pushes online in the US.
Driving growth was a fairly consistent choice for the number-two top concern, and while more than half ranked growth as one of their 3 top concerns, slightly more people chose it as their top concern above improving the customer experience (23% vs. 20% overall). Regionally, more North America respondents chose growth as the number-one concern above EMEA and Latin America. On an aggregate basis, both EMEA and North America were ahead of Latin America when listing driving growth as a top-three concern (56%, 59% and 51% respectively).
Interestingly, there was a pronounced difference in rating growth as a driving concern based on department, and perhaps counter-intuitively. Both Marketing and Sales leaders ranked growth as a lower priority concern than Product leaders, with product leaders ranking growth as the number-one priority more than ten percentage points higher than both – (Product- 34%, Sales- 24%, Marketing 20%).
Growing an eCommerce Presence
If 2020 taught businesses anything, it was that being able to pivot plans quickly could mean the difference between company failure and survival. ECommerce has been at the forefront of supplier and retailer plans in 2020 for a combination of reasons, and the increased share of shopper purchases is predicted to be a permanent trend.
Similar to the rankings around improving the customer experience, Latin America led as the region with the highest prioritization around growing an eCommerce presence. More than half (55%) of Latin America respondents ranked eCommerce presence as a ‘top 3’ concern, and 25% ranked it number one. this is a significant difference from EMEA, which lagged both Latin and North America, with less than 10% ranking it number one, and only 39% ranking it as in the top 3.
Winning the Shopper Experience
According to the Forrester survey, the “’Must Win’ Battleground” is the digital customer experience. To win the shopper experience at the digital shelf, both suppliers and retailers need more than their legacy PIM or a DAM. The data from this survey, as well as continually evolving shifts in shopper behavior, underline the need for businesses to develop a more comprehensive content management process that creates a continuous feedback loop for content improvement.
This process requires several capabilities: ingesting and enriching created content; syndicating the information to recipient requirements; enhancing product page listings; and optimizing it a optimized through reporting and analytics. This will allow accurate, verified information – critical for product listings and shopper sales – across retailers and other recipient sites, with added capabilities for driving engagement and optimization.