Time to Close the Customer Experience Gap

Customer experience includes all interfaces that firms have with people. A great experience leads to satisfaction and repeat business. Accordingly, closing the customer experience gap is vital.

Closing the Customer Experience Gap

Some firms are rather weak in this area and have created a customer experience gap. Jana Barrett writes for Business 2 Community:

Bain & Company surveyed 362 companies. Eighty percent said they delivered ‘superior customer experience.’ According to customers, 8% did. In the age of hyperconnectivity, firms should be more in tune. But in reality, a wide gap exists.”

Barrett offers several tips. “(1) A great experience is seamless. It works across channels and devices. (2) A great experience is proactive. It anticipates customer needs. (3) A great experience is receptive. the firm seeks feedback. (4) A great experience is human. It’s built on relations. (5) A great experience is dynamic. It adapts to shifting preferences.”

The video is a good summary from Business 2 Business.

 

Improving the Customer Shopping Journey

McKinsey has a “CEO Guide to Customer Experience.” It includes the customer shopping journey.

“What do my customers want? Leading firms know they are in the customer-experience business. And they know how they deliver is as vital as what they deliver. This guide taps the expertise of McKinsey and others. It explores customer interactions. In addition, it looks at steps to improve customer-centricity. See the infographic.”

 
Time to Close the Customer Experience Gap. This CEO guide explores the basics of customer interaction. It covers steps to be more customer-centric. See the infographic.
 

Posted in Part 1: Overview/Planning, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Best and Worst Workplaces for Women Executives

Earlier this week, we reported on research by Great Place to Work. Its 100 best firms for women were cited. Today’s post cites other research. It is broader in scope. And it is global. Best and Worst Workplaces for Women Executives.
 

Background

For 2017, 24/7 Wall St. conducted its own research on women in leadership positions. 24/7 Wall St. is a financial news and opinion company. In sum:

“Despite strides made by women, stereotypes persist and gender equality is slow coming. In 2016, a woman earned 80 cents for every dollar a man received. This was 20 cents more than in the 1960s. Yet , this is still not equitable. The gender gap is greater in senior leadership positions at large firms. Some firms do not have any female executives or board members.”

“To identify companies with the best and worst female representation, 24/7 Wall St. examined data from LedBetter. The latter, created an index of the share of women on the board and the share of women in executive leadership positions at 237 global corporations.”

Best Workplaces for Women Executives

According to 24/7 Wall St., retailer “Chico’s FAS Inc. leads the group with the most representation of females in senior management positions. At Chico’s, women hold 73% of executive positions and are 56% of the board.”

These are the top 10 of the 237 firms reviewed. Several of these 10 are retailers.

  1. Chico’s FAS Inc. Women in leadership roles: 56% (board), 73% (executive).
  2. Etsy. Women in leadership roles: 50% (board), 63% (executive).
  3. H&M Group. Women in leadership roles: 64% (board), 35% (executive).
  4. Kering. Women in leadership roles: 64% (board), 29% (executive).
  5. Best Buy. Women in leadership roles: 40% (board), 40% (executive).
  6. L’Oreal. Women in leadership roles: 47% (board), 33% (executive).
  7. Diageo. Women in leadership roles: 40% (board), 40% (executive).
  8. Target. Women in leadership roles: 33% (board), 42% (executive).
  9. Gap, Inc. Women in leadership roles: 30% (board), 43% (executive).
  10. Prada Group. Women in leadership roles: 22% (board), 50% (executive).
Best and Worst Workplaces for Women Executives. Number one best company. Chico's has the greatest female representation among board and executive positions is women’s retailer Chico’s FAS, Inc., at 56% and 73%, respectively. CEO Shelley Broader is one of the few female chief executives among the largest global corporations.

Source: John Fowler / Wikimedia Commons

Worst Workplaces for Women Executives

With regard to worst workplaces, 24/7 Wall St. says: “Women are inadequately represented in several positions worldwide, most notably within the managerial sector. Only 16 of the 237 companies assessed by LedBetter have female CEOs. Seven of the companies do not have any females in executive positions or on their boards of directors.”

These are the bottom 10 of the 237 firms reviewed. NONE of these 10 are predominantly retailers!

  1. Icahn Enterprises. Women in leadership roles: 0% (board), 0% (executive).
  2. Nissan Motor Corporation. Women in leadership roles: 0% (board), 0% (executive).
  3. Nintendo. Women in leadership roles: 0% (board), 0% (executive).
  4. Kia Motors. Women in leadership roles: 0% (board), 0% (executive).
  5. Energy Transfer Equity. Women in leadership roles: 0% (board), 0% (executive).
  6. Plains GP Holdings. Women in leadership roles: 0% (board), 0% (executive).
  7. Samsung Electronics. Women in leadership roles: 0% (board), 0% (executive).
  8. Toyota. Women in leadership roles: 7% (board), 0% (executive).
  9. Newell Brands. Women in leadership roles: 8% (board), 0% executive.
  10. Panasonic. Women in leadership roles: 8% (board), 2% executive.


 

Posted in Career Useful Information, Careers in Retailing, Part 1: Overview/Planning, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Best Women’s Retail Workplaces

Each year, Great Place to Work ranks the top 100 firms for women. With this in mind, we review its Best Women’s Retail Workplaces.

As examples, these two posts show our prior coverage of gender.   More Senior Women Executives Emerging in Retailing.    Trends in Entrepreneurship by Women.
 

Best Women’s Retail Workplaces

In brief, Great Place to Work used this process for its 2017 rankings.

“[Above all, we] surveyed 400,000+ U.S. employees. And we ranked firms based on four factors. First, Key Work Metrics. We analyzed how women rated their firms. We examined 50 metrics. They included ethics, respect, benefits, and support. Second, Comparison to Colleagues. We compared women and male colleagues. In addition, we looked at data which show women lag their peers. These include access to leaders and recognition. Third, Consistent Experience in a Diverse Group. we checked whether firms were great for all women. This was regardless of who they are or what they do. Fourth, Balance. we considered how many women were in each firm. We looked at the workforce. And we reviewed executive positions.”

And according to Great Place to Work, these are best the best retail-related workplaces. They are listed in rank order.

  • Marriott International.
  • Wegmans Food Markets.
  • Navy Federal Credit Union.
  • Hilton.
  • Build-A-Bear Workshop.
  • Arby’s Restaurant Group.
  • Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants.
  • Sephora US.
  • Publix Super Markets.
  • MOD Pizza.
  • Cheesecake Factory.
  • QuikTrip.
  • Container Store.
  • Hyatt Hotels.
  • Concord Hospitality Enterprises Company.
  • Burlington Stores.
  • Sheetz.
  • Nordstrom.
  • Nugget Market.

 

At this point, click to access the full 2017 report. It cites 100 U.S. firms (including non-retail).

Women Career Options. Best Workplaces. Great Place to Work produces a ranking of the top 100 U.S. firms for women. Click the link in the post to access the full list.
 

Posted in Career Useful Information, Careers in Retailing, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Part 8: Putting It All Together | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

E-Mail Popular. Complements New Media.

Experts regularly predict E-mail marketing’s demise. Instead, our title disagrees. E-Mail Popular. Complements New Media. Let’s discuss.
 

Background

In short, computer engineer Ray Tomlinson sent the first E-mail in 1971. During 2017, we exchange 205 BILLION E-mails each day!

All in all, these factors affect the state of E-mail. (1) We send most E-mail through mobile media. (2) Other formats include texts, chats, social media, etc.

These comments represent the E-mail critics’ view. They come from Computing.

“Unified platforms will see chat boom. The vision Fuze lays out is a ‘significant shift’ in instant messaging. It feels E-mail will not dominate. ‘Chat collaboration apps like Slack and Huddle may rule.’ Also, Fuze says this. IM apps are seen as informal tools. For this reason, vital information is shared by E-mail. Integration of chat apps will shift how people use IM. Chat functions will replace E-mail for office communication.'”

In contrast, these links highlight E-mail’s power. 25 E-Mail Marketing Statistics for 2017.   Ultimate Mobile E-Mail Statistics.   E-Mail Statistics 2017. E-Mail Is Not Dead. But IS Changing.    Potent Stats on E-Mail Marketing.

 

E-Mail Popular, Complements New Media

Check out the in-depth infographic from Every Cloud.

“It’s not a new craze sweeping the nation. It’s a rock-solid, time-tested method. It keeps your customers hooked and coming back. With this infographic, you see how effective email marketing statistics can change your business.”

E-Mail Popular. Complements New Media. It's not a new craze sweeping the nation – it's just a rock-solid, time-tested method to keep your customers hooked and coming back for more. With the help of this epic infographic, you are about to witness how effective email marketing statistics can truly change your business.
 

Posted in Global Retailing, Online Retailing, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Next-Day Delivery and Same-Day Delivery

Next-day delivery and same-day delivery are hot shipping topics. And they impact shopping. Their use will grow for the foreseeable future.

 

Background

For a long time, buyers knew mail and deliveries would take days or weeks. In fact, the U.S. Postal Service dates to 1775! Ben Franklin was the first Postmaster General. Due to limited shipping options, mail and package delivery were slow.

In the past 110 years, the USPS has gained a lot of competition. Two of the best-known private delivery firms are UPS and Fed Ex. UPS started in 1907, Fed Ex in 1971.

In 1964, Xerox introduced LDX (Long Distance Xerography). This was the first “commercial” fax machine. It worked over phones. Fax use soared with the development of faster-speed modems. Today, faxes are largely replaced by E-mail, texts, and other online formats.

In terms of package delivery, three trends dominate. (1) Higher-speed shipping modes exist. (2)Other firms emulate the Fed Ex hub-and-spoke regional network system. (3) Resellers such as Amazon have their own regional warehouses.

 

Adding Delivery Options

Throughout the latter part of the 20th century, delivery options rose.

In particular, consumers could choose from three options. Regular delivery. 3-5 business day delivery. And 1-2 business day delivery. USPS, UPS, and Fed Ex — respectively — were the leaders for each of these options.

But in 2005, Amazon disrupted consumer delivery expectations. It introduced Amazon Prime. J.P. Mangalindan reports for Fortune. “Amazon Prime aimed to get customers to increase spending. For $79 a year, members got free two-day delivery on unlimited items.”

And wow, Amazon Prime has grown. For instance, see the chart from Statista and Business Insider. Note: Today’s annual cost is $99. It includes streaming video and other services. U.S. Amazon Prime members total 85 million in 2017.

 

Next-Day Delivery. Same-Day Delivery. Emerging. Launched in 2005, Amazon Prime aimed to get customers to spend more. For $79 a year, members got free two-day delivery on an unlimited number of items. Amazon sweetened the pot from there.

 

Next-Day Delivery and Same-Day Delivery

In recent years, delivery options have further evolved. Next-day delivery and same-day delivery are key choices.

USPS, UPS, and Fed Ex pioneered next-day delivery. Today, express mail service (EMS) exists in 190 countries. EMS promises delivery in as little as 1 day. In the U.S., EMS takes 1-2 days. EMS has earned a strong following. Remember, Amazon Prime promotes 1-2 day delivery. It relies on USPS, UPS, and Fed Ex. But, Amazon keeps adding its own delivery services.

Years ago, same-day delivery started at the local level. Think food delivery and prescription delivery. It took time for large firms to see the advantages. In addition, big firms found same-day delivery costs to be too high.

20 years ago, Webvan (an online grocer) began same-day delivery. It started in 1996 and went bankrupt in 2001. At its peak, Webvan served 10 U.S. cities. Most were in California. Due to high expenses, Webvan had lost $800+ million. On the other hand, we have Peapod (founded in 1989). It works with its chain supermarkets to deliver locally. It is successful.

To summarize, same-day delivery is HOT! For example, these illustrate same-day delivery services.

 

Delivery and the On-Demand Economy

In short, delivery options transform shopping. At the same time, consumer expectations soar. At any rate, we are in the on-demand economy. To this end: See it. Want it. Buy it. Then, get it immediately. All in all, no matter where we shop.

According to Robert Memery of 2flow, an Irish logistics firm:

“I have produced an infographic analyzing the on-demand economy. It offers advice to firm about short delivery times. This is important if they want to keep happy. 43% of shoppers report post-delivery satisfaction is influenced by whether purchases were delivered on-time? Same-day or next-day delivery might not be possible for some firm. But, it’s vital that all firm try to reduce delivery times. Long delivery times are a killer.”

Look at the infographic for a number of insights.

Next-Day Delivery. Same-Day Delivery. In short, delivery options are transforming. At the same time, consumer expectations soar. At any rate, we are in the on-demand economy. To this end: See it. Want it. Buy it. Then, get it immediately. All in all, no matter where we shop.

Posted in Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Part 6: Merchandise Management and Pricing, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Engineering a Great Retail Customer Experience

In 2017, we have presented several posts on the retail experience. The topic is that important! Here are some of these posts:

Today, we offer some new insights from Kali Hawlk, writing for Shopify:

“The products in your retail store speak for themselves. That’s all the experience your customers need: the joy and delight of interacting with the incredible items that line your (physical or digital) shelves. Many retailers slip into this line of thinking and then get stuck. As Doug Stephens pointed out in a blog post on his site, Retail Prophet, ‘most retailers assume customer experience is primarily an aesthetic concept and more about how stores and Web sites look and feel’ than anything else. Settling for this definition of retail experience will limit your brand and cause you to miss out on opportunities to craft something truly great for customers. Retailers and in-person sellers both big and small have the opportunity to create memorable, immersive experiences for their customers.”

These are Stephens’ five main considerations in offering a great customer experience:

  1. Engaging — Find ways to engage with customers—both where they’re at, in the store, and everywhere in between (like the Internet). If you’re not sure what would engage shoppers, start by building a customer persona to better understand their preferences and pain points you could address.”
  2. Unique —  Think outside the box to provide something that no other brand gives to shoppers. From your signage or logo to the colors you use or the music you pipe through the speakers, a uniquely branded experience makes a lasting impression.”
  3. Personalized — You could customize loyalty programs or create curated collections and special pop-up shops to tailor to specific customer needs and wants to design highly personalized experiences.”
  4. Surprising: Brush up on your consumer behavioral psychology to engineer experiences designed to provide something expected (and hopefully delightful).”
  5. Repeatable: A customer experience can fall flat if it’s just a one-time, happenstance occurrence. Make sure you create processes you can use to give every customer the experience you design, every time they interact with your brand.”

 

Click the image to learn more.


 

Posted in Part 1: Overview/Planning, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Part 6: Merchandise Management and Pricing, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

UPS to Aid Retailers in Return Process

Many firms not named Amazon are looking for a way to greatly improve the customer return process. Now, UPS comes to the rescue.

As Andria Cheng reports for eMarketer:

“In retailers’ fight against Amazon, it looks like there is a new weapon that could help level the playing field against the online retail giant. UPS has introduced UPS Returns Manager, a free online tool that allows E-commerce retailers, especially less well-resourced small- and medium-sized merchants, to not only customize their own shipment rules, but also manage return shipments without having to integrate their own IT systems.”

“For consumers, who in the past had to go to a retailer’s Web site to print a return label or use a label retailers include in package boxes, the feature allows them to print a return shipping label directly from UPS.com’s tracking page both on desktop and mobile devices and through E-mail alerts. Consumers can also print return labels at The UPS Store locations at no additional cost.”

“Why is this relevant? Retailers want to please increasingly demanding customers. Thus, the ability to meet the expectations of consumers accustomed to straightforward returns with retailers like Amazon can potentially affect their purchase decision. It also gives retailers a better view of what’s being returned. Some retailers can cut costs by skipping the need to place pre-printed return labels in each box.”

 

Click the image to read more.

New UPS online return manager. It's for small and medium firms to better compete with Amazon.
 

Posted in Online Retailing, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Technology in Retailing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment
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