Balance Consumer Needs with Business Needs

Businesses often feel challenged by balancing their customer’s needs with the needs of the business. This position of trying to balance needs suggests a compromise in which case both sides lose something. But there is a better answer.

The trick is to make the business best at what their customers want most. Customer Experience Design, Service Design and Business Design make that possible. Watch this short video to learn more.



Foursquare Gets Personal

 

Personalization is what consumers want but few businesses are designed to deliver it.

Amazon was first. Once people became accustomed to the idea that a retailer (albeit a digital one) could make suggestions based on your past purchases, they were hooked and looking for the same customized attention across all avenues of life.Foursquare logo

Enter Foursquare.

Foursquare is the latest in businesses that are not just using the word personalization, but are dedicating their entire infrastructure and marketing efforts to becoming more of what customers want. By using the data that their customers provide, they will be offering suggestions that match individual tastes rather than just whatever is in the neighborhood.

While foursquare is serving its app users/customers better, they’re contributing more and deepening their profiles. That means that foursquare is positioning itself to be a broker of sorts (on the backend) and may soon have the capability to match ‘suggestions’ to the highest bidder.foursquarescreen

Five years ago foursquare was launched with the notion that local search could be better. With the introduction of the new and improved app with personalized local search they are getting close to the goal envisioned from the beginning.



Nordstrom’s Acqusition of Trunk Club is a Win for Shareholders, Employees, and Customers

Nordstrom’s [JWN] acquisition today of Trunk Club (a personal shopping service for guys who hate to shop but want to look good) is reported in the business press today with all the right financial reasons: scale, financial strength, distribution efficiencies, etc. Sales may double to $100 million according to its founder, Brian Spaly, the chief executive at Trunk Club.

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Nordstrom’s acquisition increases its footprint in the booming [14%, Bain] global luxury menswear market and expands its reach. These are impressive operational wins.

Strategically, the value may be much higher. The Trunk Club acquisition gives Nordstrom an almost turnkey capability for scaling its popular personal stylist service. Imagine what would happen to Nordstrom’s $2.8 billion quarterly sales if all of its customers had access to hundreds of brands, their own personal shopper, the ability to return anything that didn’t fit, and fashion advice—all without having to go to the store. Imagine again what those numbers might be if Nordstrom’s used Trunk Club’s road-tested personal shopping solution to give new customers a taste of the Nordstrom’s brand experience.

In retail, fit matters. Nordstrom is known for having one of the best retail customer experiences in the business. Trunk Club may turn out to be a near-perfect cultural fit. It has a few stores, but most of its sales are done through virtual personal shoppers who are accessible through the company’s website, app, phone, and email. The shoppers know how to answer men’s questions, build their wardrobes, and help them feel confident about spending more on clothes than they are used to. Trunks contain both requested items and surprises from the shopper arrive by FedEx. Kept items are paid for. Returned items are not. Shipping both ways is free. The customer support is an on-brand blend of personal and automated.

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Nordstrom’s Trunk Club acquisition achieves a triple bottom-line benefit. Shareholders get a good investment and potential upside around scaling the personal stylist service. Employees get to engage with new partners who share values and appreciate each other’s skills. Finally, customers should benefit from expanded services and an even better experience.

Inquire about our services if you would like  great retail experience designs for customers on the front end of your business with clearly detailed capabilities on the back.



Digital Transformation is More Than Automating Processes

One dimension of a Store of the Future Initiative is a digital transformation.  Use a Store of the Future as the starting point to introduce technology while perfecting the operational side of the business for a truly seamless experience across channels.

Overhaul internal processes with a digital transformation for seamless customer experiences.

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Companies like Amazon and Apple have forever changed customer’s expectations for services and delivery. Customers have grown accustomed to real-time technology that doesn’t demand redundancy. Slick, shiny, quick, smart–this is how customers want to describe their experience with retailers.

Traditional businesses just can’t compete. The reality is that businesses that have been created for rapid delivery through digitization are disrupting the marketplace.  Without an overhaul of internal processes to fit the customer’s needs, the traditional business is on the way out.

Challenge Traditional Thinking

An overhaul of internal process is a win-win scenario for traditional businesses that commit to the change.

  • Reduce operational costs
  • Less risk
  • Better pricing for customers
  • Employee satisfaction goes up (aka reduce costs even more)

While digitization is a primary key to providing the types of experiences customers are looking for today, this is about more than just “automating” a process.  Think of this as a multi-tasking operation. Rather than just creating a way to automate a process, the objective should also be to reduce the number of steps required, reduce documents and possibly automate routine decision-making.

When paper-based processes are replaced with digital ones, you gain access to valuable data. The newly captured data can be used to provide insight into customer buying behavior letting you anticipate what your customers want and when. This knowledge can be used to improve supply chain and manage inventory with better precision.

Fundamentals for Success

  • As with all great Customer Experience Design, begin with the future state and work backward–toward today. This insures that you achieve the end result desired. Not some mediocre middle area.
  • Create cross-functional units and include people that don’t all think alike except for one trait-they should be problem solvers and not easily derailed by traditional thinking.
  • Build a team that is committed to the long-term outcome of the project. The first management team that will head up the initiative is a key investment and should be chosen with care.
  • Stagnation is death to transformation. Address protocol within the organization that slows progress.

Introducing new technology within the structure of a Store of the Future, provides the game-changing opportunity to develop a culture of innovation and positively transform your brand. Initiate change on your own terms with a Store of the Future initiative.