Total Experience: A New Approach to Retail Business Strategy
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to disrupt traditional markets, imaginative ways of engaging customers are essential.
The Internet has dramatically changed the way human society interacts and operates, and this is perhaps no truer than in the realm of commerce, trade and retail.
The idea that businesses need to offer more than just products to customers has been around for a long time. Indeed, it could be argued that the birth of advertising in the 1920s was based on an idea of selling ideas rather than products.
However, since the late 1990s, a new, more expansive concept of marketing has emerged, which puts the idea of Experience at the pinnacle of what customers look for in the products and services they purchase.
First proposed by Joseph Pine and James Gilmore, the idea of the ‘Experience Economy’ stipulates that companies need to engage their customers with more than just products and services, creating a wider network of values, ideas and experiences that can elevate their product offerings to something beyond just the material.
This idea forms the basis of Total Experience.
Total Experience: Full Spectrum Marketing, Sales & Strategy
We have already discussed a number of concepts related to the Experience aspect of digital marketing and business strategy, including UX Design, Unified Commerce and Search Experience Optimization (SXO).
Total Experience refers to a unification of UX Design, marketing content and strategy, and customer and employee experience in order to provide a seamless, unified experience of engagement with your brand.
As the COVID-19 crisis is highly likely to continue well into 2021, the ability for companies to create new, unified and rewarding ways for customers to engage with them digitally is considered a big priority.
Companies that are able to treat all points of interaction that humans have with a company as a unified whole will be better positioned to operate in remote work conditions, and will be able to expand their digital revenue streams by creating rewarding experiences for customers.
For example, let’s take the example of a shoe store that has both a physical outlet and an online store.
If the company has adopted a Total Experience approach to its marketing and business strategy, customers will be able to place an order for a product on the company’s website, then receive automated updates through other media channels on the status of their order. At the same time, the customer can be targeted with additional marketing CTAs that are fine-tuned according to the experience and choices that led to their first choice of a product.
Shoes tend to be a type of product that consumers like to try on before buying, but with the current situation, there may be limitations on how many customers can be in a shop at one time, and people may be concerned about being in busy indoor places. But at the same time, companies that are able to offer the option of physically collecting a product to customers will benefit if they can do so.
So, once a customer has been prompted to go to the store to try on the shoes of their choice, which can be managed through a unified commerce approach, they can then receive a queue number when they are within a certain distance of the store, through a geo-location algorithm. This can then optimize wait times and make the collection system easier and effortless.
All of these different components work together to build a seamless, Total Experience for customers. And the possibilities are only limited to the imagination of marketers, technical teams and UX designers.
No More Silos
Ultimately, the fundamental idea of Total Experience is to stop treating each component of a business strategy as an individual silo.
From software tools used by employees, to the unification of front and back offices and an imaginative leveraging of technology for marketing and customer engagement – Total Experience is all about breaking down walls between business segments in order to create all-encompassing, engaging experiences for customers. Companies that are able to deliver Total Experience to customers will be able to stand out from the competition, and do well to ride out the current crisis.
Do you have IT assets that need alignment with your broader business goals, strategy and brand identity? Contact us to find out how we can help you.