Today, the customer experience looks much different from a few mere months ago. In particular, consumer-packaged goods have transformed completely from their retail presence, primarily on the shelf, to online distribution.
Brands in every industry have pivoted quickly and, in many cases, are focusing primarily on digital.
On this episode of the Transform It Forward podcast, we sat down with digital experience expert Victor Lee: a seasoned pro who has led marketing and experience for RXBAR and Hasbro, including some premier properties, like Power Rangers and Monopoly.
It’s safe to say that Victor was digital long before it was cool to be digital with fifteen years in the business.
Throughout the conversation, we explored four ways that brands can improve their digital transformations during COVID and — most importantly — how they can continue to adapt post-pandemic.
1. Factor empathy and compassion into your digital strategy
The most significant digital change Victor has seen in his career is impatience. Consumers rely on digital and become frustrated when they can’t find what they need.
Now, with COVID acting as an accelerant to the changing nature of digital expectations, brands must meet this impatience with empathy and compassion.
“It’s the empathy of having been a part of what they’ve gone through. And it’s the compassion of knowing what they’re going through. It’s about saying, I think this is what you’re looking for. Let me make your experience fast and without barriers.” Victor Lee
With the right messaging and timing, Victor says it’s still okay to provide content inside a buyer’s journey or through a retail experience. But he stresses that, at the end of the day, it’s not a buffet anymore.
You can’t push every possible option out in front of the consumer. People know what they want now and, especially during a pandemic, they want to get it quickly and easily.
Think about how you can make your online experience fast without barriers, with fewer clicks, more personalized choices, and quicker checkouts.
2. Focus on the unsexy stuff
Customer Experience is a catch-all term. One customer might value speed while the other values convenience. But what is undoubtedly true is that all customers want more of it in this day and age.
The external events of 2020 have poured gasoline on the nascent fire that was digital transformation. Where customers might have resisted the move to digital, they’re now demanding more and faster.
But to deliver on these consumer needs, Victor says the process won’t exactly be sexy. Although companies often want to jump on the latest craze to improve their digital strategy, it’s fixing the business’s core elements that will help you excel in the digital space.
“A lot of stuff that’s going to happen is very unsexy. But what I’ve seen throughout my time is, although it’s unsexy, it is absolutely effective. It’s more cost-effective in the long run and delivers results in a measurable way.”
Digital-ready companies like Amazon have changed the game. Consumers aren’t willing to wait for online goods or pay high shipping costs. Brands need to focus on the nitty-gritty operations, point of purchase delivery, and new and more effective acquisition tactics.
3. Don’t change your entire company
Instead of giving your brand a 180-degree digital makeover, make strategic additions to your current digital capabilities.
According to Victor, one example of an industry that has done well is fast food. Like Dominos, a handful of large-scale restaurants were able to capitalize on the digital transformations they had already implemented before to COVID.
Not only did they continue offering a simple way to order food on mobile, but they showed consumers how they were sanitizing and taking care of the product.
“The brands that win [during COVID] go beyond the flavor of the month message. They say we care about you, and times are tough, so we’re going to take care of it. Versus saying that we’ve changed our entire company.”
The most successful brands show they care about their customers and are adapting to their evolving needs. But to be clear, there are business models that will be at a significant disadvantage in a more digital world.
4. Meet consumer needs with convenience
According to Victor, the most important takeaway from the last few months is that anyone who wasn’t an avid online researcher or shopper will be now.
People have realized that digital services they never paid attention to before, like online grocery shopping and delivery, were helpful in their lives. This pandemic has created muscle memory that makes it difficult for consumers to revert to their old ways.
But as we look to the future — beyond a vaccine and into the “new normal” — brands must remember that people didn’t adopt it just out of necessity. They assumed it for convenience.
In case you missed last week’s episode, read all about five lessons for digital transformation with Anna Foat.
To listen to the full podcast episode, click here.