Retailers are ‘satisfied’ with their online customer journey optimization efforts

Photo: @TatianaMara via Twenty20
Nov 05, 2019

Retail Touchpoints staff

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.

According to a survey from Yieldify of 207 U.K. and U.S. e-commerce marketers who work in retail and travel, 88 percent are satisfied with how they optimize the online customer journey, well ahead of the 62 percent who said so in 2018.

These marketers also are thrilled with the progression of their website conversion rates, with satisfaction growing from 61 percent in 2018 to 88 percent this year.

This confidence boost largely comes from education on the terms they use and the metrics they aim to achieve. Marketers now have a much greater level of confidence in defining “customer journey optimization (CJO)” as distinct from “conversion rate optimization (CRO)” or personalization — 95 percent were confident in doing so, compared to just 65 percent in 2018.

Overall, the perception of challenges continues to shift among marketers: while 49 percent of survey respondents cited having enough time and resources as a top challenge in 2018, and 46 percent had issues with having the right data, these numbers dropped drastically, to 27 percent and 36 percent respectively.

Additionally, marketers feel like they are gaining a better grasp of the technologies they use. In 2018, having the right tools was ranked as a top-three challenge facing all marketers, but this year that has dropped to fifth place for retailers.

The top challenge to delivering an optimized customer journey in 2019 is having the right skills, identified by 39 percent, up from 34 percent in 2018. As a result, 50 percent of marketers are planning to invest in training to fill the skills gap, with 36 percent saying they would hire more specialists.

Other areas cited more as a challenge in 2019 versus 2018 include working across multiple internal silos, 32 percent versus 22 percent in 2018; new privacy regulations, such as GDPR, 31 percent versus 16 percent; and shorter-term projects take priority, 26 percent, up from 18 percent

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Has optimizing the digitally-led customer journey reached a new stage of development? Should retailers recast their priorities around improving the online customer journey?

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"Retailers must be 100 percent laser focused on the customer journey and how to make that experience as seamless as possible!"

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11 Comments on "Retailers are ‘satisfied’ with their online customer journey optimization efforts"

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Bethany Allee

Retailers should definitely recast their priorities and focus on improving the online customer journey — this is the focal point where the largest online retailers (Amazon, Walmart…) are winning. The online customer journey has reached a new stage of development, because the idea of seamless continues to evolve – this will drive new customer expectations and requirements.

David Naumann

It is optimistic to hear that retailers are satisfied with their digitally-led customer journey. However, it would be interesting to compare this to the satisfaction level of consumers. When we do research, we typically asks the same question to both consumers and retail executives and compare the results to find the gaps. By the way, there are often gaps!

Jeff Sward

So marketers are grading themselves? Is there any external customer-driven data to compare with these self endowed high marks?

Stephen Rector

The fact that 88 percent of marketers are satisfied with their customer online journey is alarming, because in my opinion there are only a handful of companies that provide an amazing customer experience online. From clicking in and out of checkouts to complete purchase, to not clearly calling out shipping charges or promo codes, there is still a lot of work to do. Retailers must be 100 percent laser focused on the customer journey and how to make that experience as seamless as possible!

Dave Bruno

I would be much more interested to learn how satisfied retailers are with their ability to optimize journeys that cross digital and physical channels. My sense is the numbers would be far, far lower…

Jeff Weidauer

Marketers and retailers should read these stats with alarm. Satisfaction leads to stagnation, and consumer demands are anything but stagnant. The more important question is, how satisfied are consumers? I suspect it’s a much lower number.

Brandon Rael

It’s far more challenging, but very critical, for retailers to focus on the online customer journey rather than their own grading systems. Going into 2020, all retailers and brands have to completely focus all of their energies around driving outstanding personalized and optimized customer experiences online.

The customer journey has to be the center of the modern day retail operation. Data is the new oil, and driving personalized engagement via email, texting, and social media marketing campaigns is a key to driving interest and conversions. Amazon is at the forefront of leveraging its powerful consumer insights engines and algorithms to drive personalized offers.

It’s no longer sufficient to be satisfied with your own efforts. The consumer market will tell you how you are doing.

Ralph Jacobson

I have seen a survey in the past with similar findings like this study’s from the retailers’ perspectives. That past survey also compared the shoppers’ perspectives and it was dramatically worse than the retailers’ perspectives. Perception is reality, and retailers must not sit by complacent because their shoppers are still not happy with the journey.

Jeffrey McNulty

I am optimistic about the massive investment that legacy retailers are committing to their online optimization efforts. Walmart, Target, and BestBuy are staunchly committed to improving their online experience. However, I wonder if their perception is congruent with the consumer’s actual reality?

I am looking forward to witnessing the continuation towards a truly seamless online shopping experience. I am impressed with the pivotability of these retailers away from their previous myopic perspective surrounding online utilization. In addition, it is refreshing to see that more retailers are embracing technology, innovation, and creativity, thus, creating an atmosphere of inclusion and healthy competition.

Suresh Chaganti

It would be interesting to see if customers are also satisfied 88% of the time, with their journey. I think a certain perception gap with what marketers are feeling and what customers are experiencing is to be expected, and it would be foolhardy to declare win. Regardless it is significant progress.

Brian Ross
27 days 22 minutes ago

Continued development of the digitally-led customer journey is the perfect application for AI enabled with real-time omnichannel technology. Given the dynamic nature of digital channels, customers increasingly expect (and even demand) personalized digital experiences which drive relevance and get smarter with every interaction. AI can automate the personalization of virtually every online interaction – from the categories, brands and items that are presented, to the prices and promotions to the content and information. Most powerfully, retailers can prioritize their continued development on AI-driven learning with each interaction to constantly improve personalization. In the race to deliver the strongest digital experience, it is the retailers who learn first and fastest that will continue to win the increasing and ever-changing needs of today’s digital shopper.

"Retailers must be 100 percent laser focused on the customer journey and how to make that experience as seamless as possible!"

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