How To Smash Your Funnel, Increase Close Rates And Shorten The Sales Cycle By Focusing On Just 12 Magic Metrics

Source: https://www.square2marketing.com/blog/how-to-smash-your-funnel-increase-close-rates-and-shorten-the-sales-cycle-by-focusing-on-just-12-magic-metrics

Here’s How To Simplify The Measurement Of Your Efforts Toward Scalable Revenue Generation

Since we published our latest book, Smash The Funnel, the response has been unexpected, to say the least. People are recognizing the challenges associated with the outdated traditional funnel and embracing today’s buyer journey metaphor, the cyclone.

But we always get similar questions from people who have read it, connected with it and want to start applying it. What should we be expecting in terms of business outcomes, and what should we be measuring if we’re using this methodology?

Great questions, and I love it when CEOs start asking their marketing and sales leaders to express their goals in terms of business outcomes, instead of campaign launches and the delivery of stuff like whitepapers and e-books.

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The 3 Best Market Strategies For The Hospitality Industry

Source: https://postfunnel.com/the-3-best-market-strategies-for-the-hospitality-industry/

The hospitality industry is facing unprecedented challenges: customer loyalty is fading, acquisition is more costly than ever, and customer data is subject to strict regulation. Meanwhile, Airbnb has surged in popularity, transforming the landscape. Fortunately, the industry isn’t out of options: niche markets present an untapped opportunity. In fact, they may define the future of hospitality.

More from PostFunnel on the Travel Industry:
5 Ways Airlines Improve Travel Experiences with Analytics
Planes, Trains, and Mobiles
“We’ve seen how manual offers tailored to the customer work better”

A niche market is a smaller segment with needs that differ from those of the larger market. The payoff of a niche strategy includes reduced competition and resource conservation. But, perhaps most importantly, it allows hotels to narrow their focus, glean expertise, and serve one group exceptionally well. No one knew this better than Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines. Southwest embraced its identity as the economy airline, serving peanuts instead of meals and eschewing first class service. Southwest targeted a niche market who wanted no frills, efficient, affordable travel, in a time when the luxury experience dominated. They are now the world’s largest low-cost carrier.

These lessons can be translated to the hospitality industry—in fact, some players have already shifted their focus to niche markets. The following are three strategies the hotel industry should pursue to hook the right niche for their business.

Adopt an Identity

Lifestyle brands like Nike offer more than a product or service: they tell a story that aligns with their customers’ identity. The hospitality industry can capitalize on this trend as well. Hotels can craft an identity that resonates with a specific community, such as foodies, art-lovers, or musicians (and those who wish they were). These hotels have taken identity marketing to its zenith.

21C Museum Hotel

This hotel hooks customers by offering the chance to “Sleep at a Museum.” They curate modern art exhibitions and at each of their hotels and offer clientele the chance to “consume global culture and connect with local communities.” For art lovers, 21C is the perfect escape.

Hotel Palomar

This Beverly Hills hotel is designed to attract filmmakers and film aficionados. Its lobby showcases a chandelier made of film lights and couches decked out with count-down pillows. It’s a haven for movie lovers—even offering movie-themed cocktails at its restaurant, the Double Take.

W Hotels “Sound Suite”

W Hotels partnered music director DJ White Shadow to design their “Sound Suites,” which are professional recording studios for musicians on the road. The W brand is sending a message that it knows music and caters to those who love it.

Tap into Fandoms

Targeting niche fandoms entails more than adopting a gimmick. For some travelers, a transformative and immersive hotel experience is the adventure of a lifetime. Some hotels have made a names designing magical experiences for their guests—chief among them, Disneyland Resorts. This strategy works best for hotels that are near an event, museum, or theme park.

Georgian House Hotel “Wizard Chambers”

This hotel, located near the Warner Brothers UK studio, offers a complete Harry Potter experience. Its rooms are designed to look like Harry Potter dormitories, equipped with wooden owls and four-poster beds. They even offer complimentary DVD rentals for those who wish to relive the magic. In the morning, they serve a “Wizard Breakfast” themed from the films.

Nickelodeon Resort “Pineapple” Suite

The Nickelodeon Resort invites guests to “rekindle their sense of play” with their Spongebob-themed Pineapple suite. This special room is designed to mirror the house of Spongebob Squarepants—complete with a life-size statue of Gary, the snail. This hotel offers a memorable experience for the entire family.

Star Wars Resort at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

This addition, which is now under development, will provide an immersive Star Wars experience for fans. Visiting families will board a starship, with every cabin offering a view of space. Guests will even be invited to dress in Star Wars–inspired attire for the duration of their stay.

Highlight Differentiators

A niche market strategy doesn’t have to involve contemporary art or animatronic characters. Often, simple features, policies, or services can make a world of difference to the right niche. A hotel may consider the clientele they already attract, then highlight or expand the features that appeal to them. For example, if a hotel sees a lot of solo female travelers, they may offer free airport transportation at night. These hospitality innovators use what makes them different.

Airbnb & Accomable

Airbnb recently purchased Accomable, an accessible travel startup. Through this partnership, they now offer detailed filters to help elderly and disabled travelers select the right space. Features such as ground floor bedrooms, shower rails, and elevators can make a major difference for guests.

Kimpton Hotels

Kimpton Hotels are boutique, luxury, and dog-friendly; making it a top choice for pet-lovers. The hotel brand even promoted this in a partnership with Nationwide Pet Insurance: they are offered a free stay as a part of Nationwide’s “Road Trip with Rover” sweepstakes.

Ashbury Hotel

The Ashbury targets solo travelers by designing activities and spaces that foster community. They have recreation areas replete with board games and ping pong tables. The hotel encourages mingling at meals and offers communal activities that help bring solo travelers together, such as yoga classes and film nights.

Own What Makes You Different

Niche markets are the future of hospitality. Niches like Star Wars, culture-junkies, and pet-lovers are all massive untapped opportunities. When hotels shift their focus and become experts at serving these select groups, they distinguish themselves in a crowded market. Hotels may tap into these niches by adopting an identity that attracts a certain clientele or by creating an immersive fan experience. Even a strategy as simple as hyping pet-friendly policies can become a differentiator and create a loyal customer base.

The post The 3 Best Market Strategies For The Hospitality Industry appeared first on Post Funnel.

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5 Ways the Shopping Experience Has Changed (And 14 Tips to Keep Up)

Source: https://postfunnel.com/5-ways-the-shopping-experience-has-changed-and-14-tips-to-keep-up/

Cultural changes, global trends, and technology have changed how consumers shop. Amazon has been conditioning its customers to expect increasingly rapid deliveries, while Netflix radically redefined the notion of ‘personalization’. As consumers’ behaviors shift, companies have no choice but to keep up with their evolving desires. 54% of consumers expect brands to implement change within six months and 29% expect it to happen within one month. This article unpacks consumers’ rising shopping expectations and drops some tips on how you can keep up.

More from PostFunnel on the future of shopping:
Should You Be Confrontational as a Marketer?
Why eCommerce Blogs Fail and How to Make Yours Succeed
Maximizing Value of Holiday Season’s Customers

1. Secondhand Shopping

Driven by the desire for newness, sustainability, and affordability, consumers are adopting new ownership models to access product. 64% of women bought secondhand products in 2018 and more than 1 in 3 Gen Z consumers will buy pre-owned clothing in 2019.

Source

To get in on the $24 billion secondhand market, employ the following pre-owned methods:                                                           

1. Refurbish: Strengthen your sustainability credentials and open new markets by giving consumers the option of purchasing refurbished products. Before launching a refurbishment program, ensure the durability/reparability of your products, create and maintain an efficient cleaning and repair process, and price items at a fair discounted rate.

2. Resale: A growing segment of consumers no longer buys with the intent to keep. 40% of customers now consider the resale value of an item before buying it. Tap into this shift in consumer behavior by implementing a resale component such as offering discounts in exchange for used items. Highlight your product’s resale value and partner with resale sites that carry logistics, renewal, and repair expertise.

3. Rent: In today’s sharing economy, many consumers are choosing to rent clothing. Experiment with rental services by partnering with rental sites, and offer consumers perks for purchasing your products on these sites.

As consumer attitudes toward ownership and sustainability change, it’s clear that the wardrobe of the future has few permanent items in its closet.

2. No Plastic

The harmful effects of plastic waste are impacting the way many people shop. 44% of consumers are concerned about single-use plastics and 34% are happy to switch to more sustainable alternatives. In response to the movement to reduce plastics globally, brands are rethinking how they use the material. Consider these strategies to become waste-free:

4. Plastic-Free Zones: Plastic-free stores or aisles where consumers can shop without the need for plastic packaging is a good way to reduce your plastic footprint. Lush Cosmetics recently launched a plastic packaging-free shop in the UK.

Source

With their recently launched #LushLabs app, customers can scan products from the shelves—using their ‘Lush Lens’ feature—and examine the ingredients without needing the plastic ‘ingredients label.’ Follow Lush’s lead and use sustainably sourced alternatives with minimal environmental impact by enabling consumers to check product information via smartphone scanning.

5. Phase Out Single-Use Plastic: Eliminate single-use plastic like plastic bags by offering reusable bags, expanding loose produce ranges, and introducing refillable format options. Encourage sustainable choices among consumers by allowing them to bring in reusable containers. Offer plastic-free options like bagless deliveries for online orders.

6. Recycle: Use recyclable packaging and remove non-recyclable plastics such as PVC and black plastics from your product range. Iceland recently announced plans to remove all plastic packaging from its private label product range by 2023. Encourage consumers to recycle plastic items by placing recycling instructions on products, providing recycling bins, and offering consumers rewards for recycling.

It’s not enough to verbally commit to reducing plastic pollution. Determine a measurable and time-bound goal for reducing plastic packaging and publish annual reports on your plastic footprint to prove you are enacting meaningful solutions.

3. Contextual Commerce

Contextual commerce is the idea that customers can buy anything, anywhere, anywhere, by clicking one button. If you’ve noticed the buy buttons on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram, this is contextual commerce at work. 58% of consumers have engaged in contextual commerce, and most would be happy to experience it again. Below are two ways brands use contextual commerce to reach consumers:

7. Social Media: Social media platforms have increasingly grown to resemble commerce tools as their eCommerce features meet consumers’ need for anytime, anywhere shopping. 81% of consumers engage in contextual commerce through social media. Use social to create awareness about your brand by engaging consumers with interactive elements such as augmented reality ads. Leverage commerce features like shoppable posts to move consumers from discovery to purchase.

Michael Kors Augmented Reality Ad

8. Smart Speakers:  Voice-activated speakers fit seamlessly into consumers’ daily routines and simplify their shopping experience. 28% of consumers who own voice-activated speakers used them to make a purchase in the past seven days. But before jumping on the voice wagon, determine that a meaningful portion of your customer base actually wants voice technology, and make sure there’s a natural connection between your brand and voice-activated tech. For more on how to use voice technology in your business, check out this post.

Apart from the above channels, contextual commerce is also taking place over platforms such as Yelp and Spotify. Find out which platforms your customers use and partner with those that have a strong payment infrastructure. 

4. Alternative Payment Methods

Though credit and debit cards remain popular payment methods, many consumers are choosing to complete their purchases with alternative payment options. Alternative payment accounts for more than half of eCommerce transaction volume. Here are three alternative payment options gaining popularity with consumers:

9. Digital Wallets Digital wallets eliminate the need for re-entering card details and allow customers to pay without worrying about the security of their data. 2.1 billion consumers are expected to use a digital wallet to conduct transactions in 2019. If you choose to feature a branded digital wallet, ensure it enhances the shopping experience, use your loyalty program to acquire users, and integrate your digital wallet into your mobile app.

10. Buy Now Pay Later: Installment-based purchasing has become an attractive payment option for consumers. 31% say they wouldn’t have made a purchase without a Buy Now Pay Later option.

Source

When using this strategy, create a fast and easy application process and establish interest-free payments. Help consumers keep track of their repayments via your mobile app or online account, and clearly state the terms and conditions.

11. Biometric Payment: Biometric technology presents retailers with the opportunity to improve the payment experience and eliminates the need for PINs and passwords. 86% of consumers are interested in using biometrics to make payments.

Source

Biometric payments are already the norm in China. 60% of Singles’ Day customers biometrics to make payments either by scanning their fingerprint or taking a selfie. While consumers are open to biometric payment methods, safety is still a natural concern. So if you’re considering this option, create strategies to keep consumer information safe and link biometrics payment with additional authentication methods.

Today’s payment landscape is being pushed forward by consumers’ quest for convenience. Adopting the right mix of alternative payment options could place you ahead of the competition in the long term.

5. Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is redefining the retail experience and changing the way consumers shop. 48% of consumers are likely to shop at a retailer that utilizes augmented reality. And 100 million consumers will shop using augmented reality online and in-store by 2020. If AR is on your to-do list, use these tips to guide your AR strategy.

12. Add Value: Just because technology exists doesn’t mean it’s right for your business. So explore AR only if it’s relevant to your offering and improves the end user experience. To do this, understand customer pain points and explore how you might use the technology to solve those problems.

13. Choose the Right Solution: Select an AR solution with analytical capabilities. This will help you track consumer metrics and gain insight into how consumers engage with your installation.

14. User Experience: Improve the user experience by going hands-free. With this format, consumers don’t need to hold their phones for extended periods at eye level.  Reduce the number of steps required to complete a task and save consumers the hassle of downloading an extra app by making AR content viewable on mobile browsers.

Meet Consumers On Their Terms

To survive and thrive in today’s world, brands must constantly adjust their business methodology to embrace consumer shopping behavior. Other trends to keep an eye on include consumers’ move from materialism to simplicity, the quest for improved transparency, and the use of marketplaces (such as Amazon) over retailer websites. Monitor emerging trends by conducting competitor analysis, using social listening to engage in online conversations. Lastly, always monitor public interest surrounding new technology and how it engages with social, economic, and cultural issues.

The post 5 Ways the Shopping Experience Has Changed (And 14 Tips to Keep Up) appeared first on Post Funnel.

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Power Stepping your Way to a Full Marketing Journey: A Quick Guide

Source: https://postfunnel.com/power-stepping-your-way-to-a-full-marketing-journey-a-quick-guide/

In this digital age, having a comprehensive marketing communication stream is one of the cornerstones. It’s an essential ingredient in order to conquer customers’ hearts and win their loyalty. Taking the first steps in the digital marketing world can be extremely challenging, but it’s a very fruitful path. To succeed in this task, here are few rules of thumb to guild you on your path to a full marketing journey. This working methodology of ‘step by step’ will turn out profitable down the road.

1. Define the business’s weaknesses

The question that I get asked the most from brands in the early stages of creating a CRM funnel, is “where should we begin?”. My best answer is first to try to understand where the holes in your bucket are.

For instance, it would be great to get more new customers, but is it really worth it considering most of these new purchasers will churn immediately? Isn’t it a waste of good acquisition money? It can also be great to reactivate your churn customers by a wicked reactivation funnel, but what is your ability to retain them when they’re back? Isn’t this a waste of your time, trying to reactivate customers you can’t retain?

Mapping these holes isn’t an easy task. To better understand your business’s weaknesses, you’ll need to have an in-depth analysis, that will able you to focus on the most important areas. The optimal way to go with (although not common due to brands’ abilities) is having an industry benchmark. This kind of comparison between your brands’ stats to the entire industry may help you figure where are your low hanging fruits are. The understanding that you have a weaker area that marketing can improve can help you focus and answer the question of where to begin.

The example below demonstrates why a brand should start to focus on new customers and not on the active ones. While active customers have relatively good retention rate compare to the benchmark trend, new customers are churning faster than the industry average.

Once you find your weaknesses, you’ll be able to start focusing on the most important KPIs of your business, and to gradually expand to different areas where you’re already happy with, trying to improve them as well.

2. Search for emotional occurrences

When creating a CRM marketing funnel, you should be mindful of the basics. Look for the obvious emotional occurrences on your customers’ journeys. I’m talking about birthdays, wedding anniversaries, but not only – also registrations dates, first purchases, etc. These straight forward triggers create great opportunities to communicate with your customers. As these actions are dated is should also be easy to execute campaigns for them: Is today one of your customer’s birthday? congratulate him. Is it his first purchase? Don’t forget to say thanks.

Let’s analyze the response rate for consumers who receive a communication on an event such as any of the above, compared to a control group. Our research shows that in e-Commerce brands, customers who got communicated on their birthdays outperform those who celebrated their birthday without being acknowledged by the brand. An 85% uplift is quite striking.

The high uplift and the quick profit from the ordinary event-based campaigns is such a quick win, that it has to be the first step in building a full CRM strategy and marketing plan. The two key factors in these trigger-based campaigns are to figure what are your customers’ emotional occurrences are and to plan the way you want to address these emotions.

3. Outline your funnel

In modern marketing, one communication point is usually not enough. Our ability to create a sequence of campaigns will allow us to better achieve our goals. A funnel of campaigns is a great way to communicate several messages with the same vibe or topic and can assist once an offer or a message wasn’t effective enough.

What should guide us when planning a funnel is, of course, the objective. Unlike the common thought that ‘another purchase’ or ‘more revenue’ should always be our target, for some cases, funnels can have other objectives. Such are brand awareness, increasing the future value or even introducing our customers to other departments and offering abilities.

After setting the objective, try and break it to the number of campaigns you should execute. Think about the timing and the iterations between one message to another. Having an analysis on your existing customer-base can help you decide what should be the right order for these communications but let me tell you a little secret: Solid common sense will do the trick as well. For an analyst, that’s not an easy sentence to write.

4. The importance of the sketch

Yes. Sketching. No, we are not in an art class, and you don’t need to have any special skills here. But this is the easiest way to plan a funnel – to create a flowchart diagram. Flowcharts are an easy-to-understand tool you can share, they are easy to handle and to change.

Let’s take an example from an electronics online store, that aims to focus on new customers who just made their first purchase. Their goal is to increase these customers retention rate.

In this diagram, each box represents a criterion or a question, and each line represents the value, or the answer. Let’s assume that with the help of our analysis, we see that the average and median time from first to second purchase is one month. So? Should we shoot offers to encourage a second purchase on the first week? Or is it too soon?

Below you can find a diagram which illustrates the marketing funnel.

Aside from enabling us to get a clearer picture of our marketing strategy, the marketing diagram allows us to expand the plan through different channels, offers or any kind of customers traits. Many mature companies in terms of marketing are starting to lose their grip when having hundreds and thousands of campaigns sent daily. A

Wrap up

Any journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The most basic tip for a marketer facing the challenge of building a CRM strategy and marketing plans is to start small. In order to have a solid, understandable, and flexible marketing journeys, you have to set your fundamentals correctly and to have confidence in it. then, gradually (and unexpectedly) you’ll find yourself with a full, prospering marketing plan.

The post Power Stepping your Way to a Full Marketing Journey: A Quick Guide appeared first on Post Funnel.

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How Buyer Journey Mapping Is Becoming The New Revenue Growth Strategy Platform

Source: https://www.square2marketing.com/blog/how-buyer-journey-mapping-is-becoming-the-new-revenue-growth-strategy-platform

You’re partially correct once you say your website is not working correctly, but it is not because the site was created badly or constructed incorrectly. It’s because the website has the incorrect narrative (or no story). It is because you articles is not answering the ideal question (or some other query ) to your prospects. And it’s because you have no overarching orchestration to all your marketing and sales tactics.
Your marketing is not generating enough leads because you do not have a extensive revenue generation strategy as the basis for all those tactics mentioned previously.

Your Prospect Experience Is Damaged

We hear it every day. Is it your website? Is it your articles? Can it be your own email campaigns, social media or search engine optimization efforts? No. Well no. Yes, those aren’t functioning, but there is a motive.

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NEWS // New Representation: Tea & Water Pictures

Source: http://focus52.blogspot.com/2018/06/news-new-representation-tea-water.html

I Am pleased to announce That I’m Currently represented by Tea & Water Pictures at New York, London and Beijing.

They’re an exciting service that have some fantastic manufacturing experience and a team with really diverse but free wallpapers, so I am excited to see what we can achieve together during the next few decades!

They have also done a little interview with me that, if you’re curious, you can read here 

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5 Tips from Companies that Put Customer Centricity Up Front

Source: https://postfunnel.com/5-tips-from-companies-that-put-customer-centricity-up-front/

Earlier this year, we published a two-part series on the ongoing shift toward customer-centricity and how your organization can follow suit. To begin the process, we’ve researched a few examples of this model in action and the key lessons to take away. Read on for five tips from companies that put customer centricity up front.

More from PostFunnel on Customer-Centricity:
eComm Product Marketing: ‘Failing’ Better by Putting Customers at the Center
Customer Centricity Done Right: Impressions from PostFunnel Forum
How Companies Can Embrace Customer Centricity

1.  McDonald’s Learns from Its Customers

Whether you’re “lovin’ it” or not, you have to hand it to McDonald’s: in recent years, the company made several upgrades to its menu items, services, and overall customer experience. They’ve switched to using only antibiotic-free chicken, made their breakfast menu available 24 hours a day, and introduced digital kiosks where customers can quickly place their orders.

(Source)

McDonald’s didn’t make these changes arbitrarily or to replicate a competitor’s actions. These improvements were based predominantly on customer data and feedback. By listening and paying attention to their customers, McDonald’s was able to discover that they wanted:

Many McDonald’s customers were more than happy to provide feedback with no prompting; the company’s Twitter page received more than 120,000 requests for all-day breakfasts throughout the year leading up to the change. Additionally, the company uncovers customers’ needs, expectations, and experiences by soliciting feedback. McDonald’s continues to engage via social media, questionnaires, surveys to loyal customers, and “on the fly” reviews.

The McDonald’s team readily admits they’d been behind the times in making the changes their customers wanted. By revamping the brand’s overall approach, implementing their customers’ feedback, and adopting a customer-centric strategy, McDonald’s managed to weather economic uncertainty and regain its footing in the fast-food industry.

2.  Southwest Airlines is Open and Honest

Communication between brands and customers should be a two-way street, which is why Southwest Airlines’ #Transfarency campaign made huge waves.

(Source)

To stand out from the competition, Southwest amended their pricing policies by doing away with all hidden fees—and promised to inform customers about any additional charges. Though every consumer would appreciate transparency in any industry (let alone one that flies ‘em through the air at 700 miles per hour), customer centricity begins with open and honest communication. But Southwest knows that to really embody this model, you must reach customers where they are—not where you want them to be.

In their case, this meant taking their Transfarency campaign to social media via Facebook and Twitter:

They also created a standalone website to help communicate the message of #Transfarency in a variety of ways:

(Source 1 / Source 2)

What’s more, their Transfarency policy is communicated in a way that matters to the consumer. Look at the example above—the “Mad Libs” exercise states their message loud and clear:

“We know how frustrating it is to be hit with hidden fees, so we make your flight costs clear from the start.”

It’s simple:

Keep them in the loop, communicate with them where they ‘are,’ and speak to them in a way that they’ll understand your message.

3.  Chick-fil-A Gets All Hands on Deck

If you’ve been a PostFunnel follower for a while, you know we’re huge fans of how Chick-fil-A treats its customers.

For Chick-fil-A, customer support is an “all-hands-on-deck” affair. While individual employees perform their own tasks, it’s not uncommon for team members to step out of their assigned roles to offer assistance to a customer in need.

True story:

Last week, my wife and I went to our local Chick-fil-A and ordered two meals and a milkshake. When our food was brought out, I realized my milkshake was missing and notified the cashier. She was busy with another customer but told me she’d get right on it. In the meantime, another team member who overheard the problem stepped in and poured the treat for me straightaway. Two minutes later, the cashier brought out the milkshake she had just made, and I came out with two milkshakes.

Did Chick-fil-A lose a couple bucks here? Sure. Am I going back to Chick-fil-A after I finish writing this article? Absolutely.

(Source)

There are two things to take away from this anecdote:

First and foremost, it’s clear Chick-fil-A’s team members care about their customers and want them to be happy with the service.

Even more crucial is that Chick-fil-A’s team members are enabled and encouraged to do whatever it takes to ensure customers have a positive dining experience. There are no silos or red tape to inhibit an employee’s ability to provide for their customers.

It’s great to create a customer-centric culture throughout your organization, but that’s not enough. No matter how dedicated your team is to helping your customers, they’ll never be able to do so if their hands are tied.

4.  Crate and Barrel Facilitates an Omnichannel Experience

I’ve mentioned the importance of maintaining lines of communication with customers. But you also want to use these channels to enhance your customers’ overall experience with your brand in a variety of creative and innovative ways.

For a prime example of what I mean, look no further than furniture retailer Crate and Barrel.

A few years back, their team realized something: a sizeable chunk of its customer base uses the company’s physical locations for “showrooming” purposes—but often ends up finalizing their purchase online.

As COO Michael Relich explains: “(Customers) use our stores as a showroom first and can see an extended assortment online. We actually see a lot of transactions start in one channel and finish in another. Brick and mortar is good for us.”

In recognizing this trend, the team decided to focus on streamlining the “physical-to-digital” pipeline by introducing tablets to the customer’s in-store experience.

In store, customers are handed tablets to create a virtual shopping or wish list, scan item barcodes for more information, or search for other items online. They can then have a sales associate collect their desired items and ring them up, submit an order for delivery, or save their list for later. Side note: while customers don’t need to log in to their Crate and Barrel accounts while shopping, those that do are treated to “a little something extra” in the form of personalized recommendations, streamlined checkout processes, and more.

The takeaway here isn’t to introduce newfangled omnichannel experiences just to appear forward-thinking and innovative. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. As VP of eCommerce at Crate and Barrel, Joan King, explains:

“We definitely put the customer at the center of everything we do and try to focus our efforts on things that are going to resonate with customers… (we don’t) take technology for technology’s sake but instead make sure that we’re delivering a really inspirational experience that’s seamless and easy for customers.”

The goal of omnichannel is not just to “be where your customers are,” but to make it convenient for them to get what they need from you with ease. As Relich mentioned, it’s not uncommon (in any industry) to see consumers use more than one channel throughout a single path to purchase—so it makes sense to make it easy for them to do so.

5.  Marriott Caters to Individual Needs and Circumstances

I can talk strategy, tactics, and innovation all I want, but the key to true customer-centricity is to forget about the customer/company dynamic. Instead, start seeing—and treating—your customers as individual people with unique needs.

Brian Whetten, president of Core Coaching, says that most companies “pay lip service” to this idea—but fail to put it into practice. When it comes down to it, they don’t actually differentiate between one customer and the next.

In other cases, though, it’s clear when a company’s team members care about the people they’re serving. Consider Whetten’s unforgettable stay at a Marriott with his family:

Whetten’s wife had just given birth, but Whetten had already committed to speaking at an event within the hotel. So he brought his wife, newborn, and young daughter along with him. The staff was as accommodating as possible. Here’s a quick rundown of what they did for the Whetten family:

  • Upgraded their room to an executive suite
  • Provided a gift basket for Whetten’s wife, complete with a handwritten note from the hotel’s manager
  • Opened a private room to the side of the dining area for Whetten’s wife to calm her fussy baby
  • Entertained their toddler while the baby was nursing

You might argue that the last two items were done in the interest of keeping all patrons happy, but the staff could have easily taken a “not my problem” approach to the entire situation—which makes their actions all the more commendable.

In striving toward customer-centricity, the most important thing to keep in mind is that no matter what business you’re in, you’re in the business of helping people. Period.

The post 5 Tips from Companies that Put Customer Centricity Up Front appeared first on Post Funnel.

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