Interview • 01.10.2015

"Today’s consumers primarily want a seamless customer journey"

Interview with Robert Wucher, Head of Technology and Digital Client Solutions, GfK

Robert Wucher: Retailers have the chance to differentiate their business from...
Robert Wucher: "Retailers have the chance to differentiate their business from the competition through corresponding services".
Source: GfK SE

To understand what services customers expect today, retailers should know exactly what touchpoints their customers use to get in touch. Only then can they align their sales approach, advertising and services accordingly. Robert Wucher, Digital Expert at GfK, knows the customer journey in the various product categories and what services retailers should definitely offer. 

Mr. Wucher, how has the customer journey changed in the past few years? 


The change in the customer journey started with the entry into the age of electronic commerce which now dates back several years. Thanks to the emergence of more and more online stores, consumers had an alternative to brick-and-mortar retail that went beyond the classic mail order business and also the chance to get informed about the different brands, products and services before purchasing these items online. 

The fundamental change in the customer journey we were able to witness during the past few years is due to the mobile aspect: today, smartphones are the most important vehicles for consumers to go online. We know from our Crossmedia Link Panel that two-thirds of online access happen via smartphones and 87 percent of which via apps. This is why the way eCommerce providers expand their reach has also changed. Even when desktop offers still achieve the larger range, with many large providers such as Amazon, Ebay, Ikea, MediaMarkt or Zalando, desktop and mobile range are already at a similar level – and this impacts the customer journey, of course. 

How does the customer journey differ across the various product categories? 

Today eCommerce enjoys a high degree of maturity and yet the level of development clearly differs between the different product categories. We know from our consumer and retail panels that almost every other Euro Germans spend in the travel area flows into the online channel. At the other end of the spectrum are the fast moving consumer goods, where the value-based eCommerce percentage is barely one percent. This doesn’t sound like much, yet at more than one billion Euros in sales volume in 2014, there is a significant volume. What’s more, we expect strong growth for FMCG over the next years; just in 2015 alone we assume 33 percent. 

All of the other product categories lie between the two extremes of travel and fast moving consumer goods. However, the purchase is only the end of the customer journey, which generally starts with a triggering moment and continues with gathering information. Here we also see big differences between the product categories. It’s not surprising that the use of digital touchpoints increases with the relevance of online purchases, meaning the more people buy online in one category, the more online touchpoints are also being used before the purchase.

What’s interesting is that despite the comparatively minor importance of eCommerce, digital touchpoints already play a significant role in the customer journey in individual FMCG product groups, such as baby food and chocolate for instance. We can intuitively understand this with baby food for example when you think about people researching the ingredients. However, when it comes to chocolate, the thought of online research prior to a purchase is rather counterintuitive. Yet here this is generally not about research. In fact, online touchpoints are used in this case after a corresponding trigger such as a TV spot, for example, references the brand website that is subsequently being visited. 

This shows that customer journeys differ depending on the motivation – and it in turn is very category-specific: when research and comparison take center stage, the customer journey tends to be broad, long and complex. Booking an all-inclusive vacation package is a great example of this: before a purchase- regardless of whether it’s online or offline – consumers visit 11.1 different websites on average and take 35.6 days to reach their purchase decision. This is different for more impulse-based categories like baby food. Here, the purchase decision is reached after only 2.4 days and by visiting 1.8 different websites.

Which touchpoints are the most important ones today? 

Keeping the online percentage of the customer journey in mind, with one exception, this also greatly depends on the category. The exception is retailer websites that represent an important touchpoint across all categories. The relevance of other online touchpoints depends on why people buy. With categories that depend on the brand such as hair color and chocolate, the websites of manufacturers are very important reference points. 

And so your very own online brand presence in these categories is more important than ever – and even for offline purchases. Not only as part of a brand communication strategy but with an immediate effect on sales: we discovered that when the consumer has visited the brand’s website before reaching the purchase decision, the percentage of sales for the brand increases 44 percent on average. This begs the question how website traffic for the brand website can be generated beyond SEM and SEO. This is where offline touchpoints provide great opportunities. FMCG websites, in particular, can increase traffic through TV ads; the top 20 percent of the TV spots we analyzed increased traffic on the brand website by 16 percent and more. 

Today customer service is wanted on all channels. What services do retailers need to provide at which touchpoints? 

Today’s consumers primarily want a ”seamless customer journey“, meaning a seamless integration of the online and offline world. This makes retailers face disruptive challenges but also gives them the chance to differentiate their business from the competition through corresponding services. The spectrum of possibilities is very broad. It begins with very simple services like picking up an order made online on-site at the store. Other possible options are the digitization of the physical POS, starting with mobile payment, via interactive shopping options even after store opening hours (for instance via QR codes displayed at the storefront or in the shop window), entertaining and practical formats such as digital or social mirrors all the way to the use of beacon technology to deliver personalized offers and rewards to registered customers when they enter the store. 

Interview: Daniel Stöter, iXtenso.com

related articles:

popular articles:

Thumbnail-Photo: Custom-tailored: new in-store safe shopping journey solution...
13.05.2020   #consulting #brick and mortar retail

Custom-tailored: new in-store safe shopping journey solution

Suitsupply reinvents retail experience including virtual pre-shopping

Suitsupply, the global men's tailoring brand built on radically personal customer experiences, launches new retail journey as stores reopen. The upside of being global, and the staggered timelines of the outbreaks around the world, is the ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Evolving need for AI and big data analytics in mobile marketing...
10.02.2020   #digital marketing #marketing research

Evolving need for AI and big data analytics in mobile marketing

Global mobile marketing industry report 2020-2024

The "Mobile Marketing Market by Component (Platform and Services), Channel, Organization Size (SMES and Large Enterprises), Vertical (Retail and Ecommerce, Travel and Logistics, Automotive, and Telecom and IT), and Region – Global ...

Thumbnail-Photo: What you want is what you need!
07.02.2020   #e-commerce #customer satisfaction

What you want is what you need!

Retail experience – What shoppers want and how to implement

E-commerce has significantly changed how people shop, and push retailers to rethink the role of their stores. With change being a constant and continually accelerating, there is truly only one way to learn what shoppers want and expect their ...

Thumbnail-Photo: German prestige beauty industry generates 3,2 billion € in sales for...
14.04.2020   #online trading #brick and mortar retail

German prestige beauty industry generates 3,2 billion € in sales for 2019

Sales are driven by skincare and fragrances

The sales of beauty products sold in the prestige beauty market generated 3,2 billion € in sales during 2019, according to The NPD Group. Within the five largest countries for sales of prestige beauty products in Europe, which are tracked by ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Take a deep breath ...and get back to work!
26.05.2020   #brick and mortar retail #personnel management

Take a deep breath ...and get back to work!

Retail employee break rooms and rest breaks in Germany

Working hard is important, but so is taking proper rest breaks! Whether we spend this time alone or with colleagues, by getting some sunlight and fresh air or by relaxing in designated rooms – we all need to take a break sometimes to relax and ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Coronavirus: digital commerce spend to fall by 14 percent in 2020...
28.04.2020   #online trading #e-commerce

Coronavirus: digital commerce spend to fall by 14 percent in 2020

Spend set to recover in 2021 as offline spend moves online

A new study from Juniper Research found that global spending on digital commerce will fall by 14 percent in 2020 as lockdowns and reductions in consumer spend are felt. Spending will fall from $11.2 trillion in 2019 to $9.7 trillion.The new ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Launch: SBA’s paycheck protection program for small businesses...
09.04.2020   #personnel management #coronavirus

Launch: SBA’s paycheck protection program for small businesses

Economic relief provision to protect workers and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic

The U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza launched the Paycheck Protection Program, a 349 billion dollars emergency loan program created last week with the President’s signing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Online channel may not be the savior clothing retailers hoped for...
13.04.2020   #online trading #e-commerce

Online channel may not be the savior clothing retailers hoped for

Closing distribution centers for employee safety

Since the UK Government enforced stores to close for the foreseeable future, many non-food retailers hoped that customers would divert spend onto their online channels. However, last week, Next – the UK’s third largest clothing retailer ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Cashier as british Vogue cover star
02.06.2020   #cashpoints #brick and mortar retail

Cashier as british Vogue cover star

Keyworkers chosen for front cover providing a special moment of thanks during pandemic

British Vogue is breaking with their usual cover stars - a space normally reserved for ‘A’ list celebrities and supermodels, and instead have devoted their iconic cover for the July 2020 issue to honouring key workers who have been ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Crowdsourcing campaign to save Modells Sporting Goods and 3300 jobs...
03.03.2020   #digital marketing #brand management

Crowdsourcing campaign to save Modell's Sporting Goods and 3300 jobs

Mitchell Modell offers outside investment opportunities

Modell's Sporting Goods, America's oldest, family-owned and operated retailer of sporting goods, has announced that for the first time in its 130-year history, they are closing more than 15 percent of the stores in its fleet, and offering ...

Supplier

POS TUNING Udo Voßhenrich GmbH & Co KG
POS TUNING Udo Voßhenrich GmbH & Co KG
Am Zubringer 8
32107 Bad Salzuflen