What can brands do to improve their digital operation today? Redbox experts reveal all.

The electric potato peeler you ordered online was supposed to arrive yesterday but is nowhere to be seen. 

Before peeling 2kgs of Maris Piper by hand for the family casserole, you want to check where your latest must-have ‘lockdown’ gadget has got to.

There’s no information on the website about delivery, to assist you. The customer service number is continually engaged. Your emails remain unanswered. You look at the 10-year-old peeler that’s hanging on for dear life and then at the big bag of potatoes and decide…it’s probably time for a takeaway.

With more consumers shopping online than ever before, many brands have been quick to realise the growing importance of customer service and aftercare, post checkout.

User journeys must be seamless from the very first click - to the last mile delivery and ease of returns. As important is the way a brand communicates with its customers between purchases.

In a rapidly evolving digital environment, there are many businesses that have invested sensibly in their digital framework but could be doing much more to capture new customers and help encourage brand loyalty in the long-term.

What would improve your ecommerce operation today?  We asked four of Redbox’s digital leaders for their thoughts on what brands are missing out on.

The customer journey doesn’t stop at the checkout

Jonty Sutton, Redbox's CEO

The brands making the biggest difference at the moment are those focusing on delivering a far more cohesive and joined-up customer experience across the supply chain or journey. There is a lot more expectation around control, timing and visibility. Brands need to understand, manage and have greater accuracy between the end-to-end flow. This includes customer service and follow-ups, and this is where the best brands are really starting to differentiate this experience.

Jonty Sutton, Redbox's CEO

How do you make the purchasing experience quicker and easier on app or on site? How can you make the customer journey even more seamless after they have made a purchase? More investment, for example, is going into Order Management Systems and better integrations with couriers and carriers so businesses can offer a range of options of when their parcel will be delivered or where it is at a particular point of the journey.

Customers want to know what’s going on with their orders. They want communication. They don’t want to spend hours chasing for a delivery update. A lot of brands are looking at how they can improve that operational efficiency.

A recent ecommerce survey looked at the importance of agility in today’s market and found 72 per cent of consumers were most impressed with brands that were able to “create new alternatives for delivery, pick-up and returns.” It’s something that is being noted a lot.

Amazon has updated its app so it’s much more Deliveroo style with customers being told when the parcel’s leaving and when it’s near, with timings and more information easily found. DPD shows a picture of the parcel when it has been delivered. It’s far more granular and connected and it’s actually beneficial for the brand from an operational efficiency level, as well as it being a much more holistic experience for the customer.

As technology continues to grow, there is more expectation from customers. Even entering your credit card details is less of a consideration these days. People are using Apple Pay or Google Pay, and the experience is much more about consumer control.

From a brand’s perspective you must consider the whole customer journey from purchase to delivery and follow-up services. It’s about efficiency and operational management every step of the way.

Personalise your approach for better brand loyalty

Kevin Ludford, Redbox's Commercial Director

I think true personalisation is missing from many brands’ strategies today, along with a sense of understanding you as a consumer. With COVID and the whole drive online there’s so much more traffic and more online stores trying to compete in that space and I feel those brands that aren’t drawing your attention in with relevant content are losing out.

I’ve noticed that marketing messaging is still very generic for a lot of brands. I look in my inbox and start deleting a lot of emails because they’re not relevant or too generic.

I subscribe to an online sporting products store and I’ve always purchased certain brands from it for snowboarding or running equipment. But when I get an email from them it could be applicable to anyone. It feels very much a case of ‘let’s throw everything at this guy and see if something sticks.’ It doesn’t draw me in and if they know I am interested in a certain brand or sport I think they should treat me differently, show me what I’m interested in and give me access to specific offers. I don’t know how much effort is going into trying to get closer to customers and retaining those, rather than brands thinking they’ve got to reach a broader audience.

Kevin Ludford, Redbox's Commercial Director

I’ve become less loyal to brands that are sending out generic emails and now purchase on other sites. Brands think they have a captive audience with so many browsing online and on their phones during these lockdowns and think they can be less targeted with their approach. They’ve become complacent when they really should be ramping up personalisation and targeting.

Justin Ablett, global lead for Adobe at IBMiX believes personalisation at scale will be a key trend this year and it’s easy to understand why.  In a recent interview he said: “There’s no tolerance for poor digital experiences any more. And that’s especially true when we think about the crazy year that was 2020, where our day-to-day lives dramatically changed. The engagements that we, as consumers, have with organisations have changed as well, to be more virtual and digital.”

In the same interview, Judith Hammerman, head of growth for Adobe Experience Platform said there’s an opportunity for a 33 per cent increase in customer loyalty and engagement, with companies seeing as much as 11 per cent reduction in marketing costs, just by having a personalisation strategy.

Brands are missing out. They are seeing the opportunity for growth and scale but missing out on the loyalty that personalisation brings.

Help customers get to where they want to be, quicker

Paul Lewis, Redbox’s Creative Partner

I often think some brands believe their customers are more interested in their websites than they really are. Many people just want to find something quickly, pay for it and then get it delivered with minimal fuss.

Paul Lewis, Redbox’s Creative Partner

After price and promotion, navigation is cited as the most important factor for a good digital experience. A recent survey found 42 per cent of consumers pointed to an ‘ease of finding out what I’m looking for,’ as a key priority. They want a good price, but most just want to get the product.

Some brands want the site to look beautiful, but looking beautiful can also take away from efficiency. Minimum number of steps is key. Time is currency.

Brands must bring product categories and sub categories out onto the top navigation of their site so they are open and easy to see.

The brands that are doing this well get straight to the point. You don’t need an ‘about us’, on the top menu. Customers don’t want to see a heading of ‘shop’ and then the need to roll over ‘shop’ before the categories appear and then sub categories when you roll over these.

If your products are jeans, shoes, shirts, have them permanently visible at the top. Show the product categories from the start.

Make it easy to find the products and easy to get to check-out and pay. So many brands are just not doing this and falling down at the very first hurdle.

Flexible content strategies underpinned with AI capabilities the key

Tracy Postill, Redbox’s Head of Marketing and Brand

While the need for good content is nothing new, it is set to be more important than ever in 2021.

Over the past COVID-hit year, digital brands have come to understand the importance of business agility – being able to pivot strategies quickly and be flexible in their approach. Content has played a major part in this, with the need for clear and consistent communication to keep customers informed, while at the same time adopting new marketing campaigns quickly in the face of changing circumstances outside their control.

Tracy Postill, Redbox’s Head of Marketing and Brand

With the retail landscape still uncertain, flexible content strategies will continue to dominate.

In a recent article on marketing trends for the year ahead, Adobe’s John Copeland, VP of marketing and customer insights, saw this as essential for brands. He said: “For most businesses, there are many different kinds of customers and many points of engagement in the digital customer journey. That means building content and experiences for many different permutations, with an operational framework that allows teams to test, learn, and optimise.”

But it’s not just content agility that’s important. It is content agility underpinned by data and technology that is essential to any growing brand, with numerous content tools that can be integrated with your platform now taking off.

Offer Decisioning, a new tool that works with the Adobe Experience Platform to create personalised offers to customers, adds AI capabilities to ensure data and content work seamlessly together.

The tool analyses different strands of customer data, serving as a decision engine to “deliver the offer that seems most appropriate in this moment for this consumer,” explained Kevin Lindsay, director of product marketing at Adobe.

To be able to offer so many flexible, personalised choices for customers, brands must overhaul their content creating and management processes and invest further in the AI-generated content sphere as data-driven marketing continues to progress at speed.

In conclusion

As more brands make the most of the growing possibilities in the digital sphere, every customer touchpoint must be considered essential.

Just one time-consuming experience on site, or sluggish customer service experience after payment, can be the difference between life-time brand loyalty and that same customer never shopping with you again.

Brands can see a six per cent increase in sales revenue, just by personalising experiences, even if they aren’t doing it at scale. Can A| improve the personalised experience with even more specialised and targeted content?

Look at how quickly your customers can find what they want to buy. Can you reduce those steps?

Don’t forget the journey doesn’t stop at the checkout. How can you improve after-sales care and the delivery experience? Giving customers reassurance and regular updates will lead to a happier customer and cut down on the time needed to deal with these enquiries.

Want to find out what else you can do to improve your digital operation? Give Redbox a call today.