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Top two trends from 2017

Top two trends from 2017

Lara White  |  October 03, 2017

The UserTesting team was excited to attend last week in Los Angeles and connect with retailers from around the world to learn more about their goals and the challenges they face in an increasingly competitive landscape. We had the chance to attend a number of sessions and wanted to share the two key themes we encountered throughout the conference.

1. What do customers really want?

For retailers to make their lives better

In Act like a startup no matter what your size, Marc Lore, President & CEO of Walmart eCommerce US in conversation with Andrew Nusca, Digital Editor, FORTUNE shared that what he feels customers really want from him is simply to make their lives better. That means different things to different people. For some it means low prices so they have more money to spend on other things, for others, it means convenience so they have more time to spend on other things. He keeps this in mind when thinking about how to integrate technology. In his mind, there are two ways one can look at eCommerce. One is to think it’s all about shipping goods to your door. He tends to disagree with this, after all, we’ve been doing that for decades. The second is to think about how the internet has allowed retailers to be better merchants. They can now offer more merchandise via more rich content that’s searchable. It’s changed what’s possible for merchandising and in turn what’s possible when it comes to making his customers’ lives better—whatever that means to them.

For retailers to meet them where they are

In the Digitally Driven Turnaround session Mark Berinato, VP of Experience Design at Panera Bread, noted that he focuses on how to make customers feel like you’re getting to know them and to meet them where they are. Rather than simply trying to drive people to stores they look at driving people to stores if that’s what matters to those people. The key for him is to look at what people’s needs are and let that choreograph what they offer. Maybe it’s in-store but maybe it’s delivery or catering. Panera is rethinking what a restaurant based on the customer’s context and how to translate an experience-driven brand when a customer may never step in a physical store.

2. What do we do with all this data?

Look for ways to interpret what you’re seeing

In Digital sleuths: How Kohl's is increasing conversion and elevating customer experience Sarah Rasmusen, VP of Digital Merchandising & Analytics at the Kohl's Corporation and Jeff Simpson, Principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP got into the specifics of getting serious about understanding what your customer wants. They claim that existing brands that are building a presence online are looking in all the wrong places to try to figure out what their customers want. For example, just looking at what a customer bought recently isn’t enough—there’s much more to a person’s life than their past purchases. This is when it’s important to utilize the right tools to dig into the data you already have to understand the why behind a customer’s behaviors. What you need to understand is what they actually need. This takes many tools but importantly, it also takes having a way to dig in and understand why what you’re seeing is happening so that you can interpret the trends in your data.

Look for that one insight that can make a difference

Also in the Digitally Driven Turnaround session, Kerry Tucker, CEO of Hello Sunshine and former Victoria’s Secret executive, said that in an age when retailers have access to so many analytics she feels it is an enormous responsibility to have all this data because now you need to do something with it. She sees the challenge for retailers as having data but not necessarily having people that can turn it into wisdom and find that one insight that can move things forward. She notes, “We’re so busy swinging for the fences that we miss looking for that one thing that can make a difference.”

Want to learn more?

Download our Retail Mobile Customer Experience Index and learn how top retailers measured up against each other, including which mobile web shopping experiences worked—and which didn’t and how investment in mobile customer experience contributes to a company’s overall success.

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About the author:

Lara is Sr. Manager, Integrated Marketing at UserTesting where she oversees social media, content, and manages integrated marketing campaigns. She's obsessed with office dogs, Brené Brown, and hot sauce.