As recent times have seen the emergence of a very different digital customer, complete with new different behaviours and decision making criteria, businesses must continue to evolve their online proposition to stay relevant.
Consumer expectations were already on the rise before Coronavirus hit, especially for Gen Z who have had technology seamlessly integrated into their lives since day dot. Now though, with the pandemic inducing a marked digital shift which as impacted all parts of society, regardless of age, it has raised the digital bar even higher.
The majority of customers are now using online channels, they know how to source the best deals, which websites they prefer and are comfortable making more purchases online.
But that’s not to say it’s made ecommerce any easier. Amid the upsurgence of social media platforms for customer service, visual commerce and video sharing, consumers are much more likely to gravitate to those companies who command their interest with compelling experiences.
More than ever it’s about hyper-personalisation and customer centricity, anticipating and addressing their individual needs, inspiring demand and providing products which are simple to purchase and supported with flexible after-care for a seamless digital transaction.
And this digital mandate is only going to grow. According to recent research1 more than half (55%) of UK adults will interact with brands more through digital and virtual channels than face-to-face post-pandemic. A separate global study has reveals that 50 percent of consumers won’t engage with a brand as often if it doesn’t offer online experiences.2
Clearly then, those who do not continue to create good online experiences and consider how to ensure brand differentiation online, run the risk of losing custom. This will become even more pertinent as face-to-face brand-building opportunities are reduced.
But with the Christmas on the horizon and so many other considerations for the busy business trying to recoup any losses incurred during the past 18 months, where to begin?
First impressions count
Did you know that it takes less than a second for a user to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they’ll stay or go?3
An even more sobering fact is that 88 per cent of online shoppers wouldn’t return to a site after a bad experience.3
The reality is that the Internet doesn’t give out second chances and as your shop window your website is everything in attracting pulling power, getting consumers to pull out their purse – and even more importantly, come backing.
It’s perhaps surprising then that many companies still fail to get it right. According to an extensive analysis4 of the Fortune 500 website homepages conducted by Storyblok, only one in five had a performance score – based on a number of key metric such design, SEO, accessibility – above 50%. More so, we found that 92% needed to improve their website best practices and 64% needed to improve their SEO scores.
What’s the real shame is that the reality is that creating an immersive, dynamic online experience which is intuitive to your customers’ needs and easily adaptable doesn’t necessarily have to be either complex or expensive.
Staying ahead with headless CMS
The big mistake many companies make is in thinking that getting a big tech stack from a well-known brand is the best and easiest way to enable a successful marketing output. Not only is this usually an expensive approach, but it may also mean being locked into using products that don’t fit your business’s changing needs.
Instead, there are now a huge range of new solutions available that, via APIs, can usually be easily integrated together. This means you have the freedom to build a suite of tools that work for your business. In addition, you also have the flexibility to swap out different solutions as your marketing develops.
Identifying just what you need comes down to how you think about the future of your business and its marketing output. As consumers continue to crave personalisation, creating a suite of tools that enables you to amend content quickly and easily is essential. So too is the ability to leverage existing customer data and other information streams to provide tailored and relevant marketing messages. A headless CMS that is flexible enough and can output content in different channels enables this type of marketing strategy.
The final major piece of the puzzle is building the expertise you need to maximise the impact of your marketing. Gone are the days when a catchy email subject line or funny tweet would be enough to draw significant attention to your brand. You are no longer competing against your competitors but your customers’ last best online experience – so you need to make it count.
Everything from delivering dynamic content on your website through to post-conversion follow up needs to happen. This requires having a marketing department that is multidisciplinary and cross-functional. They need to have data, development, commercial and marketing skills and, critically, ensuring a regular flow of information between other departments is essential. For example, data gleaned from marketing can inform product development and data gathered from areas such as customer service are needed to enable a truly personal experience.
This may seem like a lot of work but get it right and the rewards can be great. For example, our recent work with leading Swedish beauty brand Stronger. Thanks to a new technology stack and headless CMS, the business now has much greater creative scope and is able to deliver monthly campaigns. It aligns with seasonal trends, key calendar events and changing customer requirements. The result? Just six months in and has helped to boost revenue by 172% while also supporting business’ successful expansion into the USA.
Realistically speaking, investing in a new marketing approach and the infrastructure approach, might be achievable in time for Christmas. But, for the shrewd looking to ensure relevant, create stand-out and grow market share in 2022, it’s certainly one New Year’s resolution to add to the list.
4 Storyblok ‘The State of Enterprise in Web: Fortune 500 Websites’ Report, launched October 2021