3 Brands That Are Smashing Digital Customer Experiences
This month, Elitsa Konstantinova, Director Strategic Services, and Miranda Magee, Strategic Services Consultant, explore their favourite brands who are leading the way in digital customer experiences, powered by data.
We are both suckers for great marketing and advertising. Neither of us can tell you how many times we’ve seen a shiny new ad, perfectly tapping into our psyche, and driving us to act (and likely purchase something we did not need!) Yet, well executed advertising and marketing isn’t always the norm; still to this day, many brands are refusing to walk away from bad retargeting methods that frustrate so many of us. These bad experiences we are all far too familiar with has caused a huge backlash from consumers and their willingness to share their data, forcing global regulations to tighten down on data privacy. It’s not rocket science – old ways of working are no longer applicable in today’s world.
Consumer demands grow and evolve each year, and businesses really should be paying attention to building consumer trust and delivering a valued customer experience. In fact, 71% of consumers now expect personalised experiences online, and become frustrated when they don’t find it. And we don’t blame them. In a world where technology advancements in how to unlock the power of customer data is rife, businesses don’t really have an excuse for poor customer experiences any more.
However, for every business struggling (or refusing) to transform their marketing and advertising strategies, there’s an abundance of those doing a fantastic job. And, we are here to showcase a few that we absolutely love!
So buckle in, and let’s explore those who are simply smashing customer experiences through data and tech.
Airbnb is one of Miranda’s favourite brands to interact and engage with. A brand who relies solely on their online presence, Airbnb is the master of branding and delivering seamless CX. For the hotel industry Airbnb often is referred to as the ‘digital disruptors’, representing a system that takes advantage of human and technology innovations. From their ‘easy-to-use’ website and app, to their inspirational emails, we’re going to share some of our favourite examples.
- In-App Personalisation: From a customer data and technology standpoint, Airbnb continues to improve its matching algorithms to present users with the most appropriate information and listings. Miranda uses the app to not only plan holidays she intends to go on, but also to browse the many places she could only dream of staying in!
- “The Airbnb TV ads (which I have been known to cry at – did you see the one with the dog and Dolly Parton 😭) do an amazing job of driving me to open the app and have a flick through. When I initially open the app I’m met with the fun categories along the top toolbar – here I can have a look at the cow shaped huts in Suffolk, the tropical treehouses in Indonesia or the hillside mansions in LA. For me, a really convenient feature of the app is the search memory – a very simple thing that is actually very handy, removing the issue of having to input all location, dates and guest details all over again.”
- The CX: We absolutely love the simplicity of the design. The main page of the app is a long scrolling experience including a sticky search bar, a whole bunch of recommendations and extensive content such as guidebooks. There’s no faffing about in a menu, discovery is baked into the homepage of the app.
- Email Marketing: Further, Airbnb executes pretty good email marketing campaigns. They understand what the perfect amount of emails are needed, to gently nudge you back into browsing and booking, but aren’t so pushy that you’re forced to unsubscribe. They personalise their emails based on properties you were previously looking at and bring in their own suggestions around the same price bracket. Their marketing emails don’t even feel too marketing-y, sending broader emails based on their top bar categories (hello beach houses) and sharing posts based on relevant topics like where to stay for the marathon and coronation. Finally, the tone of voice used by Airbnb brings a level of warmth, comfort and friendliness that makes browsing and booking feel stress free.
You can explore some of Airbnb’s other technical advancements in this article in Hospitalitynet.org.
H&M is one of our most used fashion brands – not because of the clothing quality as such – but because of their investment into their digital channels. We are huge advocates of retail therapy, and have both signed up to all the high-street apps; from Zara, to ASOS – you name it, we’re on it. But, there’s something about H&M that just hits the mark.
- The CX: When you download the H&M app, you are encouraged (not forced) to become a H&M member. It’s free to sign up, and offers you personalised benefits as a loyal customer. From a monetary voucher on your birthday, to exclusive membership discounts and ‘first-looks’ on new product ranges, being a H&M member offers the true example of a value exchange.
- The App & Site: There are a few things we love about the H&M online experience. First, the ‘Personalised Start Page’ on hm.com offers a customised welcome page when customers visit the site with tailor-made inspiration and suggestions based on your style preferences. Second, ‘Styleboard’ is a feature within the H&M app that allows customers to create their own mood-board using items from H&M Group brands and outside the H&M universe. They can also shop from their style-boards directly. And finally, ‘Visual search’. Through image recognition technology, this feature makes recommendations and suggestions for styling and matching items based on pictures that you have taken or been inspired by.
- The In-Store and Online Hybrid: H&M, like many, are putting the wheels in motion for the future of retail, joining the digital and physical worlds. ‘Find in store’ is a feature on hm.com that helps customers locate quickly and easily the product they are looking for in the size they want in a physical store location where the item is in stock. In-store-mode, within the H&M app, allows customers to see which items are in the store they are currently shopping in, as well as whether the item is available to purchase online.
H&M are investing heavily in their technical advancements – take a look at their 2022 report to discover all the incredible transformations they are exploring.
Tesco is the UK’s largest supermarket, with an annual turn over of £54.8 billion. From the ‘Tesco ClubCard’ offering loyalty benefits such as money off, to the partnership with German-based on-demand groceries suppliers, Gorillas, Tesco is one of the most advanced players in the digital transformation space.
- The Online Experience: There is so much to talk about regarding Tesco’s online presence and impressive digital marketing experiences, but today we are focusing on one particular journey of being a Tesco Groceries customer. E-commerce is one of the most exciting, yet challenging opportunities for retailers. The “supermarket psychology” is a huge part of the consumer experience and revenue impact, and it relies on the shop visit itself; walking through the colourful, bold aisles with beautiful packaging, well-organised shelves and pockets of ‘special offers’. Many struggle to bring that in-store experience to their digital hubs. Yet, Tescos has truly blown Eli away!
- Enhanced CX: E-commerce websites – as much as they can be well categorised – need another level of CX excellence when it comes to grocery shopping. Just think about the amount of products and categories they come with, it’s pretty mind blowing. Tesco’s approach to their online store is what I would consider as ‘best in class’, offering seamless consumer experience and easy shopping on the website. Two reasons why Eli loves it: 01| Generally, it is brilliant to navigate: products follow classification based on how you would use or store them, i.e. fresh, frozen, item type etc., and there is the perfect level of subcategories. The combination of categorisation is brilliant: ‘search all’, or ‘see all” product’ visuals, interconnected categories such as ‘rest of’, or ‘bought with’ – it makes the customer experience extremely easy. 02| Smart Search: It is incredibly important to give users the option for sophisticated and efficient search to navigate the huge amount of online inventory. The recipe for success here consists of showing results quickly, allowing flexible sorting and filtering options. Further, it works well with common typo’s and a good level of common associations. It’s pretty clever stuff.
- Personalisation & Recommendations: Whilst personalisation and recommendation belongs to the overall CX, we feel that Tesco’s online stores deserve a special shout-out for how this is built. We can clearly recognise AI being well leveraged and powering truly personalised user journeys, and some of our favourite factors include: 01| Solving the “supermarket psychology” problem for online shopping: so much happens to our brains and emotions when we are physically in store surrounded by the colours and packaging. Transferring that to digital is no easy feat. For Tesco, AI-driven recommendations come to the rescue, by suggesting possible ‘favourites’, ‘usuals’ and ‘top-bought products’. And the beauty is, the more you buy, the better these get trained, so you really do feel like you have a virtual shopping assistant. 02| “Are you sure you didn’t forget something?” – this is classic tactic in building a good e-commerce check-out experience, and Tesco has truly understood that. The check-out experience introduces several different stages where proactive and personalised suggestions are being made, whilst avoiding interruptions or frustrations throughout the user experience. In Eli’s words “The combination of ‘missed offers’ based on discounts and products that would result in savings, alongside the smart product suggestions often increase my total basket value up to 2X with products I actually need and have missed! “
Now we’ve converted you to book your holidays through AirBnB, to get your summer wardrobe from H&M, and order your BBQ favourites at Tesco, we’d love to hear your favourite brands. Who is standing out for you regarding customer experience?
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