This week, digital experience company Episerver held its eighth annual Episerver Ascendevent in London.
Bringing together partners, customers and ecommerce brands, the event provided an opportunity for experts and digital leaders to discuss the future of customer-centric digital experience.
This year, the show’s theme focused heavily on human experiences and the intersection between digital transformation and customer-centricity. With this in mind, here are three of the key lessons that marketers, digital experience leaders and brands can take away from the show:
1. Think about digital experience as a sat nav
Speaking at the event, Episerver Chief Product Officer, Justin Anovick told brands that they should think of digital experiences as a “satellite navigation system”.
Unlike other technologies, sat navs don’t replace human users – they simply help guide them in the right direction and can be as hands-on or hands-off as the user wants them to be. Brands should look at their digital investments in a similar way. Customers should maintain their autonomy and self-direction, but technology should always be present to guide them along the right path.
Rather than adopting technology that restricts customers – forcing them along a pre-set customer journey – a good digital experience should simply help customers get where they’re going. Freedom, not restriction, must lie at the heart of customer-centric digital experience design.
2. You can put a price on customer centricity
Cate Trotter, head of retail consultancy Inside Trends, spoke at Ascend about the measurability of customer-centric digital transformation. While many brands still struggle to prove the value of CX and transformative tech, Trotter argues you can in fact tie these investments back to ROI. According to her research - collated by Inside Trends - the average company can see an increase in profits of 117% if they embrace both customer centricity and digital transformation.
In explaining how brands can achieve such a significant boost in profits, Trotter stresses the vital importance of combining both technology and customer centricity. As she put it at Ascend, “You need both to happen at once. All the technology in the world won’t help if you don’t have customers at the very heart of your business.”
3. Avoid the periphery of customer centricity
A final key lesson emphasised at Ascend, was the need for brands to take a step back and look at their customer experiences from a distance. Sometimes, it is those closest to a brand who struggle to spot its flaws. By taking a step back and thinking about the digital experience approach of other companies – or even other sectors – brands can broaden their perspective and develop entirely new ways of thinking about their customers’ needs.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, it can also be useful for brands to get even closer to their customers’ experiences. This means taking on the mindset of a new customer and experiencing their journey first-hand.
Whether taking a step back or a step toward, the key for brands is to change their perspective. As Cate Trotter summarised, to understand what’s working, we must either fully immerse ourselves in the customer experience or try to view it from as far away as possible – we cannot stay in the middle.