Delivering excellence in retail experiences requires a blend of art and science. Unifying master data, operational data, and experience data helps view drivers that contribute to customer interest, conversion and post-purchase feedback. Still, merchants have a great feel for what resonates with customers. Combining this art with the science that comes from experience metrics can explain how a customer came to to buy as a part of their customer journey.
RIS’ recently published “The Art & Science of Experiential Retailing” special report to explore leaders in experiential retailing.
To uncover how to blend old-school retailing techniques with new-school data based approaches, Rick Chavie, the CEO of EnterWorks, sat down with RIS for an exclusive Q&A on the topic.
RIS: Crafting an engaging retail experience is equal parts art and science. How can retailers best couple their deep analytical insight with first-hand knowledge to develop a differentiated path to purchase?
Chavie: First, a definition. Experience Lifecycle Management is defined as the P&L-based orchestration and streamlining of experiential moments in customer journeys, where customers include both internal (e.g., sales floor associates) and external customers (consumers as well as trading partners). We see that the delivery of excellence in experiences – including end customer engagement – is dependent on a variety of cross-functional teaming within and across enterprises.
The P&L focus is centered on a return to the storytelling of great merchants, who intuitively understand how the products must be a part of an offer bundle that combines excellent service with compelling products served at the point of need. They understand that a great product that is overpriced or cannot be kept in stock ultimately fails to deliver the right experience to consumers, so they work as hard on getting the trading relationship and supply chain right as they do in presenting an offer in a compelling way in whatever channel a customer prefers.
ELM is measured by Return on Experience in Commerce (ROX/C): Inflection point metrics arising from experiential moments contributing to P&L outcomes, including omnichannel attribution. This measurement includes a feedback loop that unifies master data, operational data, and experience data. Effective measurement is omnichannel in nature and views key drivers that contribute to supporting customer interest, conversion and post-purchase feedback.
The art comes from merchants who have a great feel for what resonates with customers. The science comes from experience metrics that can assess and confirm attribution - i.e., what tipped the scales in getting a customer to buy your offer as a part of their customer journey.
RIS: Which experiences do customers truly desire that can be implemented today to build lasting and meaningful engagement?
Chavie: A consumer is truly engaged when their interest intersects with discovery in the form of an experiential moment. But in order for them to discover a product that meets their needs, a retailer must have the right search words presented in the right online vehicles, the right visual display that helps a customer envision how they might use a product, or the right sales associate to guide them as a consumer tries to learn how this product best meets their needs.
Lasting engagement means a retailer can store and monitor the effectiveness of their delivery against those experiential moments: Could the customer find the product? Did we have it in stock so they could see it in the store? Did we have people available online or in a store to handle their questions prior to purchase?
The key to extending a customer affiliation with the retailer’s brand also requires post-purchase engagement. Whether there was a great experience or one that came up wanting, the retailer needs to measure the outcome that goes beyond purely transactional sales results. It is the social feedback, the referrals to friends and family, and yes, the complaints that all need to feed back to the merchant to provide insights into the key factors contributing to successful engagement.
RIS: There is a host of technology on the market designed to foster an experiential retail environment. Can you point to a couple that you believe are must haves?
Chavie: We consider a cohesive Multi-Domain Experience Management (MxM) platform to be essential, one that enables eCommerce, mobile, and physical store content in a consistent and compelling manner. MxM includes Master Data Management (MDM - those master data elements that are common and shared across applications and include the domains of data such as product, customer, location, asset, supplier, location), Product Information Management (PIM – all the content, attributes, descriptions needed to support omnichannel content), and Digital Asset Management (DAM – digital assets such as videos, audio, images, and more to enable a customer to imagine a product as it comes to life or its ultimate use).
The other components for enabling an end-to-end connection to internal and external customers includes modules such as portals (supplier portals, sales and service portals) and excellent workflow capabilities to enable the cross-functional team collaboration.
Finally, the centralized hub that MxM offers in the integration point for seamlessly connecting a host of systems that are otherwise too siloed to contribute to great experiences, systems such as ERP, planogram solutions, POS, logistics and more.
EnterWorks redefined the market with its Multi-Domain Experience Management (MxM) platform for creating compelling customer experiences across commerce channels. MxM enables a foundation for Master Data Management, Product Information Management and Digital Asset Management to intersect multiple domains for personalized experiences across supply chain and demand chains while also converging new technologies such as machine-learning-inspired Combinatorial Intelligence™. Leading analysts recognize our advanced B2B2C functionality and report some of the highest customer satisfaction and loyalty scores in the business. EnterWorks’ proven experience empowers customers such as Fender, Mary Kay, Restoration Hardware, Farm Boy, Big Rock Sports and HD Supply. Learn more at www.enterworks.com.