Article by Ernan RomanFeatured on CustomerThink.com
Summary: For years brands told consumers “YOU play by OUR rules.” Now, innovative companies are transforming themselves and developing new products/services built specifically to deliver on the changing needs of customers.
Consumers are increasingly disconnecting from brands that do not go the extra mile to understand their needs and are flocking to brands that do take the time to understand them.
VoC research we have conducted indicates that consumers feel that actions which demonstrate a commitment to personalization and value, build strong ties and reinforce loyalty. Conversely, when consumers feel that brands do not understand them, or fail to meet their needs, then the brand relationship is weakened and often, irreversibly damaged.
To connect with consumers, the following innovators are developing game changing methods of meeting consumer’s needs.
1. Test. Evaluate. Expand.
Nordstrom did a test run of their Reserve Online & Try In Store as a pilot and it was so successful that 80 percent of shoppers who tried it continued to use the service multiple times. So now the company is expanding the program. Consumers can select the service from the website’s product detail page. They then receive both a text notification when their items are ready to try on at their nearest location as well as an in-store notification to locate their dedicated dressing room.
Per Shea Jensen, senior vice president of customer experience at Nordstrom, “Many of our customers like to feel and try on clothes and shoes before they purchase them and we’re excited to offer them a more convenient way to do so.”
Nordstrom’s innovative use of multi-channel engagement with consumers is just one of the reasons the company has seen 45% year-over-year growth for its in-store pickup options in 2016 as well as being one of the only department stores to see positive results in its latest quarter.
2. Anticipate What Consumers Want, and then Deliver.
Apoorva Mehta founded the same-day grocery delivery start-up Instacart to meet an unmet need. “It was 2012, people were ordering everything online, meeting people online, watching movies online, yet the one thing everyone has to do every single week — buying groceries — we still do in an archaic way,” he said. So, he came up with the idea for an on-demand grocery delivery platform. The strategy behind Instacart has been to, “… innovative and respond to challenges creatively.”
Mehta noted that, “if you use new technologies or look at the problem in a different way, you can come up with a solution that’s much, much better … I liked putting myself in a position where I had to learn about an industry and try to solve problem.”
3. Don’t Compromise Brand Standards
On Amazon’s first day as owner of Whole Foods they spent their efforts cutting prices as much as 43%. This move is a direct action to demonstrate that they are serious in their promise to change the way customers shop for groceries. Amazon also understands that they can make changes, but they need to maintain the Whole Foods reputation.
“Everybody should be able to eat Whole Foods Market quality – we will lower prices without compromising Whole Foods Market’s long-held commitment to the highest standards,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer.
The company has also rolled out new services specifically for its Amazon Prime members such as its selection of 17 new Amazon Fresh meal kits, access to exclusive deals and benefits. 365 Everyday Value, Whole Paws, and Whole Catch, can be purchased via Amazon’s Prime Pantry and Prime Now food delivery programs and Prime members will be able to order food items online and pick up at an Amazon Lockers at their nearest Whole Foods.
In summary, the new bottom line is knowing customer’s needs so completely that you can transform your business to innovate and create new services that break unchartered ground in customer experience engagement and value.