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CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE EXPLORED – 15TH MARCH 2017

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The event started with Steve Borges, Co-founder at Biglight, providing an introduction to the business and his reflections on the work Biglight has been doing over the last few months helping brands optimise their revenue from mobile devices.

He told us that, having tested over 40 sites from a wide range of brands and retailers across 6 countries with close to 100 real users, we’ve been able to understand the behaviours behind the data we see about mobile conversion and AOV.

Chief among these are a realisation that the continued growth in mobile traffic is here to stay, as users discard laptop and tablet devices in favour of mobile and younger consumers become a larger part of the customer base and that today’s mobile experiences fall significantly short of users’ expectations.

He outlined some of the less obvious challenges of mobile, including a reduction in exposure to brand and merchandising content during shopping journeys and a level of engagement with product content that doesn’t reflect the level of investment most brands make in this area.

He also reminded us that mobile optimisation is not a cynical ploy, but an opportunity to both reduce the frustrations currently experienced by users and improve mobile conversion rates for brands. A real win-win.

Finally, Steve revealed that Biglight found striking similarities between the behaviour and response of users, despite the diversity of brands and user profiles tested, so we can focus on the commonalities between users, rather than the differences, to make bigger, bolder changes that deliver step-changes in mobile performance.

Our second speaker, DJ aka David Jarvis, Head of Digital Experience at Halfords provided us with some provocative fresh thinking, based on his over 10 years experience in digital and some of the latest trends in the market.

He told us that, even though the UK leads the world in ecommerce conversion rates, the average levels attained, when put in the context of store performance, give us little to be proud of and that there is still significant room for improvement in the customer experience we provide today.

He suggested that customer service doesn’t receive a significant enough focus for many brands, who operate within a command and control environment, rather than one that puts customer needs front and centre. Customer service is the responsibility of the entire organisation, not just the contact centre.

By contrast, he reminded us about the ever-present threat of the mighty Amazon. Customer-focused and with a huge cash pile, which he predicted will be used to continue to disrupt industries. Beware.

This means that brands need to change. They need to focus on some of the softer metrics that inspire customer loyalty, which are too often overlooked, not just the hard data, They need to start to think differently, as a mindset change is required to meet the customer challenge.

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Joe Turner, Digital Optimisation Manager at Eurostar, provided an overview of how the business has been using A/B  testing and experimentation to make improvements in design, customer experience and to improve customer service.

He provided insight into a range of tests that showed how apparently subtle differences in layout and creative execution can have a significant difference in customer response and results and how tests can build on each other to deliver significant change.

He also described how the business has been making and testing bigger, bolder changes to the customer experience to deliver rapid step-changes in performance in place of slower, incremental changes and how this has influenced the recent project to implement a responsive site.

Finally, Joe outlined how Eurostar have been using customer experience optimisation techniques to reduce the number of inbound contacts, thus improving customer service. This has included exploiting a wide range of activities, including increasing the prominence of key information, making it clearer what options customers are able to select and making improvements to the booking process itself.

Tom Gathern, Digital Customer Experience and Development Lead at Furniture Village closed  the presentations section of the evening by outlining the journey the business has been through to optimise the customer experience since from moving to a new ecommerce platform in 2016.

He described the role A/B testing played shortly after the launch of the new platform to optimise performance in key areas of the site including the menu treatment, filtering and the checkout and how these led to redesign of some components and the implementation of new features.

He also described how the programme has accelerated to allow an impressive number of initiatives to be tested and has meant that ideas generated from colleagues from across the business could also be tested and validated.

Finally, Tom explained how the techniques associated with CXO, including store research, data analysis, customer research, content optimisation and A/B testing have been used by the business to grow sales in a specific category, opening up the opportunity for this to be repeated in other categories.

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