How fashion industry can improve the customer journey using technology
Digitization concerns not only the production and internal management, but also the relationship between companies and customers. In fact, the ability to interact with people is a differentiating factor and greatly affects competitiveness. Therefore, it is important to go beyond the traditionally product-centric approach and start offering an engaging customer journey.
What is the consumer journey
The customer journey is the path that a person takes to become aware of a need or a desire, evaluate solutions, choose a product or service, and then purchase it.
Actually, the customer journey does not end with the sale: it continues beyond. We can say it is the set of all touch points between a consumer and a brand/product/service. It includes moments of direct interaction and others of indirect one -such as reviews and opinions -, both online and offline.
It is generally divided into 5 phases: Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, Retention, Advocacy.
But the customer journey is by no means a linear path. On the other hand, it is chaotic: as Google explains with its Messy Middle model, the consumer jumps from one phase to another and many are the factors that affect their final choices.
Customer journey and customer experience
As with all journeys, even in the customer journey what makes the difference is the quality of the experience. For this reason, companies must pay attention to the customer experience.
This is the overall experience that customers have throughout their relationship with a company. It includes everything before, during and after shopping.
Therefore, the success of a fashion brand no longer depends only on its product but also on elements such as customer care, e-commerce usability, speed in deliveries, ancillary services and digital content.
Why is it important
The customer journey is fundamental because it helps companies to understand their customers, give them what they really want and engage with them. As a result, companies can reach new customers continuously and encourage purchases from existing ones. Indeed, it is easier to sell to an existing customer than to acquire a new one. In other words, taking care of the customer journey allows brands to increase revenue and lower acquisition costs.
But how can companies reach this result? Using technology.
Technologies to support the customer journey
Today, many are the technologies available to support the customer journey.
Here are some of the most interesting examples.
- Social media monitoring
Social networks give great opportunities to connect with people, improve the customer engagement and build loyalty. In particular, social media monitoring tools help companies track conversations and understand sentiment around their brand. This can be useful to identify areas of the customer journey that need improvement. Indeed, companies can track users’ opinions on the market, on their product, on a competitor, on their brand. Thus, they may find, for example, that customers do not appreciate the after sales service or why a competitor is particularly successful. Starting from this information, they can make changes to get closer to what customers really want.
- Live chats
Thanks to technology, today many of the touch points along the customer journey can be in real-time.
Indeed, customers are no longer willing to wait for answers to their doubts or problems, and companies that fail to be fast risk losing them.
Live chats allow to provide customer support at the exact moment they need it, improving the overall customer experience.
Chatbots are similar to live chats, with the advantage of being automated. This allows companies to solve a series of predefined issues quickly and without human intervention. This can help reduce wait times and improve the efficiency of customer service. The result is a satisfied customer and a reduction in costs for companies.
- Internet of Things (IoT)
While digitization is a reality, many touch points between companies and customers still take place offline. And new technologies offer numerous opportunities.
For example, brands can install smart devices in theirs stores with which customers can interact to obtain information or respond to surveys. The automatically collected data is useful for identifying preferences, determining the level of satisfaction, and, ultimately, improving both the products and the customer experience.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Thanks to the combination of personal, demographic, transactional and behavioral data (preferences, web browsing, use of social networks), CRM allows brands to have a complete and realistic idea of what customers' habits, needs and priorities are.
In fact, CRMs allow them to observe and analyze every signal sent by consumers: changes in orders, after-sales calls, complaints, responses to marketing campaigns, and much more.
This makes it easy to identify which parts of the customer journey need improvement.
- Data Management Platforms (DMP)
DMPs are platforms that organize all the information about the interactions between customers and brands. Artificial intelligence and machine learning allow the rapid processing of the large amount of data, making possible to carry out predictive analyzes on customer behavior. In this way, brands can discover and anticipate customer’s needs and, consequently, improve the customer experience.
As in any relationship, those between companies and customers are stronger when customers know they are being heard.
Technologies, such as those mentioned above, allow companies to have a truly customer-centric approach. So, if you're looking to improve your company's competitiveness, start by improving the customer journey.