Interview • 01.10.2015

"Today’s consumers primarily want a seamless customer journey"

Interview with Robert Wucher, Head of Technology and Digital Client Solutions, GfK

Robert Wucher: Retailers have the chance to differentiate their business from...
Robert Wucher: "Retailers have the chance to differentiate their business from the competition through corresponding services".
Source: GfK SE

To understand what services customers expect today, retailers should know exactly what touchpoints their customers use to get in touch. Only then can they align their sales approach, advertising and services accordingly. Robert Wucher, Digital Expert at GfK, knows the customer journey in the various product categories and what services retailers should definitely offer. 

Mr. Wucher, how has the customer journey changed in the past few years? 


The change in the customer journey started with the entry into the age of electronic commerce which now dates back several years. Thanks to the emergence of more and more online stores, consumers had an alternative to brick-and-mortar retail that went beyond the classic mail order business and also the chance to get informed about the different brands, products and services before purchasing these items online. 

The fundamental change in the customer journey we were able to witness during the past few years is due to the mobile aspect: today, smartphones are the most important vehicles for consumers to go online. We know from our Crossmedia Link Panel that two-thirds of online access happen via smartphones and 87 percent of which via apps. This is why the way eCommerce providers expand their reach has also changed. Even when desktop offers still achieve the larger range, with many large providers such as Amazon, Ebay, Ikea, MediaMarkt or Zalando, desktop and mobile range are already at a similar level – and this impacts the customer journey, of course. 

How does the customer journey differ across the various product categories? 

Today eCommerce enjoys a high degree of maturity and yet the level of development clearly differs between the different product categories. We know from our consumer and retail panels that almost every other Euro Germans spend in the travel area flows into the online channel. At the other end of the spectrum are the fast moving consumer goods, where the value-based eCommerce percentage is barely one percent. This doesn’t sound like much, yet at more than one billion Euros in sales volume in 2014, there is a significant volume. What’s more, we expect strong growth for FMCG over the next years; just in 2015 alone we assume 33 percent. 

All of the other product categories lie between the two extremes of travel and fast moving consumer goods. However, the purchase is only the end of the customer journey, which generally starts with a triggering moment and continues with gathering information. Here we also see big differences between the product categories. It’s not surprising that the use of digital touchpoints increases with the relevance of online purchases, meaning the more people buy online in one category, the more online touchpoints are also being used before the purchase.

What’s interesting is that despite the comparatively minor importance of eCommerce, digital touchpoints already play a significant role in the customer journey in individual FMCG product groups, such as baby food and chocolate for instance. We can intuitively understand this with baby food for example when you think about people researching the ingredients. However, when it comes to chocolate, the thought of online research prior to a purchase is rather counterintuitive. Yet here this is generally not about research. In fact, online touchpoints are used in this case after a corresponding trigger such as a TV spot, for example, references the brand website that is subsequently being visited. 

This shows that customer journeys differ depending on the motivation – and it in turn is very category-specific: when research and comparison take center stage, the customer journey tends to be broad, long and complex. Booking an all-inclusive vacation package is a great example of this: before a purchase- regardless of whether it’s online or offline – consumers visit 11.1 different websites on average and take 35.6 days to reach their purchase decision. This is different for more impulse-based categories like baby food. Here, the purchase decision is reached after only 2.4 days and by visiting 1.8 different websites.

Which touchpoints are the most important ones today? 

Keeping the online percentage of the customer journey in mind, with one exception, this also greatly depends on the category. The exception is retailer websites that represent an important touchpoint across all categories. The relevance of other online touchpoints depends on why people buy. With categories that depend on the brand such as hair color and chocolate, the websites of manufacturers are very important reference points. 

And so your very own online brand presence in these categories is more important than ever – and even for offline purchases. Not only as part of a brand communication strategy but with an immediate effect on sales: we discovered that when the consumer has visited the brand’s website before reaching the purchase decision, the percentage of sales for the brand increases 44 percent on average. This begs the question how website traffic for the brand website can be generated beyond SEM and SEO. This is where offline touchpoints provide great opportunities. FMCG websites, in particular, can increase traffic through TV ads; the top 20 percent of the TV spots we analyzed increased traffic on the brand website by 16 percent and more. 

Today customer service is wanted on all channels. What services do retailers need to provide at which touchpoints? 

Today’s consumers primarily want a ”seamless customer journey“, meaning a seamless integration of the online and offline world. This makes retailers face disruptive challenges but also gives them the chance to differentiate their business from the competition through corresponding services. The spectrum of possibilities is very broad. It begins with very simple services like picking up an order made online on-site at the store. Other possible options are the digitization of the physical POS, starting with mobile payment, via interactive shopping options even after store opening hours (for instance via QR codes displayed at the storefront or in the shop window), entertaining and practical formats such as digital or social mirrors all the way to the use of beacon technology to deliver personalized offers and rewards to registered customers when they enter the store. 

Interview: Daniel Stöter, iXtenso.com

related articles:

popular articles:

Thumbnail-Photo: Evolving need for AI and big data analytics in mobile marketing...
10.02.2020   #digital marketing #marketing research

Evolving need for AI and big data analytics in mobile marketing

Global mobile marketing industry report 2020-2024

The "Mobile Marketing Market by Component (Platform and Services), Channel, Organization Size (SMES and Large Enterprises), Vertical (Retail and Ecommerce, Travel and Logistics, Automotive, and Telecom and IT), and Region – Global ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Retail & Brand Experience World Congress
30.01.2020   #e-commerce #retail

Retail & Brand Experience World Congress

The second Retail & Brand will seek to awaken the consumer’s emotions

“The event will showcase technology, business models and disruptive experiences in commerce and brands.”The most disruptive current retail will be on display at Fira de Barcelona at the second Retail & Brand Experience World ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Launch: SBA’s paycheck protection program for small businesses...
09.04.2020   #personnel management #coronavirus

Launch: SBA’s paycheck protection program for small businesses

Economic relief provision to protect workers and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic

The U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza launched the Paycheck Protection Program, a 349 billion dollars emergency loan program created last week with the President’s signing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and ...

Thumbnail-Photo: LED: optical illusion at the airport
16.04.2020   #digital signage #brick and mortar retail

LED: optical illusion at the airport

‘The Fashion Gallery’ concept in Vienna International Airport Shopping Plaza

BrightSign, LLC® announced  that Lagardère Travel Retail has recently opened its new ‘The Fashion Gallery’ concept, an 800m² shop in Vienna International Airport Shopping Plaza Terminal 2 Departure under customs ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Professional Development Guide – newly updated...
22.01.2020   #security #digital marketing

Professional Development Guide – newly updated

Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2020

Just published, the Second Edition of the Professional Development Guide contains full details of the learning and development opportunities at ISE 2020. Full listings of manufacturer demo and training sessions have been added, along with updates to ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Britain’s thrifty young fashionistas
24.01.2020   #customer satisfaction #sustainability

Britain’s thrifty young fashionistas

More than half of 25-34-year-olds buy second-hand clothes

Savvy young Brits are buying, selling, mending, swapping and renting their clothes, according to the latest research from Mintel.‘Thrifting’ is the way forward among young British fashion shoppers, as Mintel research shows that in the ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Customer-centered, digital and adaptive
23.03.2020   #brick and mortar retail #digitization

Customer-centered, digital and adaptive

Bonprix’s Fashion Connect Store in Hamburg

In-store shopping via app – the fashion connect store in downtown Hamburg makes it happen. Daniel Füchtenschnieder, chief executive officer of Bonprix retail, is one of the creative minds behind the new retail concept. An interview about ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Love greetings from the online shop
17.04.2020   #online trading #digital marketing

"Love greetings" from the online shop

With the web-based application ViDGREETS, online shoppers can record personal messages and send them together with their purchase.

ViDGREETS – the name says it all. With this feature, customers in the online shop can quickly pack and send video greetings with their order. Retailers can also use it to send messages to their customers. In an interview, Marco van Eersel ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Crowdsourcing campaign to save Modells Sporting Goods and 3300 jobs...
03.03.2020   #digital marketing #brand management

Crowdsourcing campaign to save Modell's Sporting Goods and 3300 jobs

Mitchell Modell offers outside investment opportunities

Modell's Sporting Goods, America's oldest, family-owned and operated retailer of sporting goods, has announced that for the first time in its 130-year history, they are closing more than 15 percent of the stores in its fleet, and offering ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Coronavirus: digital commerce spend to fall by 14 percent in 2020...
28.04.2020   #online trading #e-commerce

Coronavirus: digital commerce spend to fall by 14 percent in 2020

Spend set to recover in 2021 as offline spend moves online

A new study from Juniper Research found that global spending on digital commerce will fall by 14 percent in 2020 as lockdowns and reductions in consumer spend are felt. Spending will fall from $11.2 trillion in 2019 to $9.7 trillion.The new ...

Supplier

iXtenso - Magazin für den Einzelhandel
iXtenso - Magazin für den Einzelhandel
Celsiusstraße 43
53125 Bonn