In part 2 of this blog, Understanding the Customer Journey , we looked at how to see things from the customer point of view. To round out that goal of moving toward a technology strategy built around the customer, implications for the business need to be viewed.
Understand the operational implications for the business.
It bears repeating: successful execution depends on good planning. It’s imperative to understand the demands and implications that each aspect of your plan will have on your business operations. If you roll out features that overpromise on what you can actually deliver, service will suffer and you’ll end up with unhappy customers.
So, make an honest evaluation of organizational capacity and create a realistic roadmap of what to do when. If part of your strategy will require making changes in the store footprint, consider what kind of modifications to your supply chain or training, retraining, or hiring of new staff that may require.
As an example, let’s look at a relatively simple sounding idea: buy online, pick up in store (Let’s call it BOPIS). It seems straightforward, but in the case of a large chain of stores, the investment and change in processes could be significant. BOPIS may require structural changes at the front of the store so consumers can easily park and come in, or even drive through. Store processes may need to be modified if additional labor is necessary. If you are using existing associates, they need to know how to respond to orders, which may require training. The store may also need additional space to stock products as well as a way to monitor those stocks to ensure they can fulfill online orders. There would likely also need to be modifications to the software systems, so that the online channel could talk to the store channel in real time.
Conduct regular reviews to measure progress and make adjustments.
Once a business implements any component of its shift to digital, it’s essential to regularly measure and evaluate its impact. Establish a set of internal and external metrics to measure progress, and when you analyze the results, bring different departments together to foster a deep, three-dimensional understanding of how your customers and your business are responding to the changes you’ve implemented. New insights spark new ideas and will inevitably lead to yet more possibilities of how you might improve your customers’ online experience.
A thorough review process will also help you identify where further adjustments need to be made to optimize the impact of your strategy. The changes you implement likely won’t be perfect right out of the gate, so expect to do some finessing before you get things right.
Whitepaper: Customer Journey Led Retailing
As companies make the shift to online commerce, the ones who do it successfully have one thing in common: a technology strategy built around the customer. Technology has changed the relationship between businesses and their customers in countless ways, and among the most fundamental is this: if people can walk into your store and buy something, they now expect to be able to buy it from you online, too.