It has been a challenging year for many businesses across the globe. When the pandemic struck, retail stores shut down in many countries, and significant adjustments were made to provide for customers. 

Although the digital transformation has been on the rise for some time, customers quickly embraced this new change and shifted to buying predominantly online

Some companies were prepared as the pandemic accelerated the digital transformation. Brands with a pre-existing e-commerce site that continually invested in and developed were, for the most part, rewarded with additional online sales. 

During a recent webinar with our partner LINK Mobility, representatives from Svensk Digital Handel, Beyond Retail, and Skincity share how during the pandemic they handled digital demands, how your business can prepare for 2021, and how to become customer-centric.

How COVID Accelerated the Digital Transformation

Once the pandemic struck, digital marketing became more competitive. Even though an e-commerce presence already existed for many retailers, customers still wanted that in-store experience… but online.

Adjustments were made to purchase tailored products and services online (as most custom and tailored items could only be bought in-store through a customer service representative). 

Customers also expected to interact with associates across multiple online channels, not just the company website, and businesses had to adjust accordingly to connect with customers wherever they desired. 

Why a Customer-Centric Approach Is Vital

Omni Channel Technology Of Online Retail Business.

Many companies like to tout that customers are at the center of their business, but for online skincare clinic Skincity, customers are the very core. Skincity connects customers with specialized dermatologists across multiple channels to find the right products for their skin types. In essence, they transferred the in-store experience online.

The customer-centric approach is all about empowering the various departments of an organization with the right information, data, and strategy to connect with customers across multiple online channels and provide personalized customer service.

Why Some Companies Have Yet to Embrace the Customer-Centric Approach

Some businesses tend to operate in silos. Internal teams and even strategy are all kept within a specific department and not shared with the greater organization. This division makes it incredibly difficult to view the whole picture of the customer journey and provide an experience, unlike the competition. 

Along with internal departmental division comes data silos, where data for each department is used primarily by that department and not shared to connect with customers. 

Here’s the thing: a customer-centric company ensures all their data is collected into one central location to empower other departments to leverage this information and gain valuable customer insights by fully understanding customer behavior across multiple channels. This first-party data enables all teams to be involved in the processes of the customer journey. 

How to Create a Customer-Centric Approach

The most important part of creating a customer-centric approach is putting a strategy in place. If an event comes around that transforms your day-to-day business and disrupts your strategy, your company can come together and find a middle ground between the strategy you have in place and what must be implemented to meet the new challenges. 

This strategy should enable internal teams to understand exactly how your company creates unique customer experiences while driving business outcomes.

Once the strategy is in place, the next step is pouring over all the first-party and zero-party data and contact areas such as on-site customer behavior. All this data is provided by customers to the company and should be used to provide unique 1:1 customer experiences that build relationships with customers and keep them coming back. 

The third step is to continue evolving to better serve customers. A unique customer experience speaks volumes when compared to mass marketing tactics such as batch-and-blast emails. It’s all about the personal touch that adds value and creates a lasting, memorable impression. 

Final Thoughts

Companies that remained nimble this year and quickly adapted to shifting trends created more meaningful interactions while those who didn’t pivot remained stagnant. 

It’s important to embrace new challenges and innovate to continue driving revenue and business outcomes. 

More importantly, it’s vital to have one platform where all data flows in order to empower each team with the same information so they can create unique customer experiences. 

And be sure to continue sharing cross-departmental information sharing is a major missing link to ensure customers gain the best possible experience.