In normal times, a digital transformation can take months, even years. But the COVID-19 pandemic has forced convenience stores to change their messaging quickly to meet customers’ needs in these anything-but-normal, transformative times.
While disruptor companies like Amazon, DoorDash, FreshDirect, Blue Apron, etc., are born ready to serve the needs of today’s mobile-obedient customers, traditional retail organizations find themselves reinventing their brand experience, and what they are finding is transition can be a long, arduous journey.
This topic is covered in detail in Howard Tiersky’s new book, “Winning Digital Customers: The Antidote to Irrelevance.” While he concedes that transforming your businesses to meet the needs of mobile consumers is far more complex than it seems, he said there are small changes you can make right now to focus your messaging, while solidifying the infrastructure to compete with the more experienced companies in the future.
“If you can identify some things you are doing that confuse, frustrate or disappoint your customers that you can fix, that’s a step in the right direction,” Tiersky said. “Taking these small steps might deliver quick, measurable, sustainable financial improvements, which can demonstrate that your overall transformation program is capable of driving tangible change. This will help you improve your customers’ experience, which improves brand perception.”
The bottom line is that customers today have very high expectations. If you currently have a weak mobile user experience, it pays to address it now rather than months or years into your digital transformation.
Tiersky recommended a few tips to get the transformation started:
Identify glitches that might be turning off customers. Almost every retail company has small digital glitches in the user experience that add up over time to form an impression. This becomes even more problematic when a digital disruptor offers your customers excellent service and good prices, so it’s extremely important to avoid these types of flaws.
Get your wording right. HubSpot did a study of over 40,000 “call-to-action buttons for email sign-ups.” They found that if the text of a button read, “Click Here,” site visitors were three times more likely to click than if it read “Register.” This doesn’t mean that every button on your site should be labeled “Click Here,” but merely points to the importance of getting the wording right to get your customers to sign up for things like weekly promotions and menu updates.
Proof your website. Sounds logical, but how many times have you noticed errors on websites or menu boards? Customers notice these things, too. Give your website and any materials you send or publish a careful review. A few seemingly careless errors or inconsistencies can cause your potential customers to lose faith in you.
Fix the small stuff. Digitally transforming your retail business is a marathon, not a sprint, Tiersky said. The changes you make now will add to your momentum down the road. So retailers should take an honest, open-minded look at things like their mobile app, their website, online menus and even online recruiting materials. When you see a problem that negatively impacts customers’ experience, step up and deal with it. First, ask who should be in charge of fixing it. If there’s no obvious answer, form a new task force and get to work. Easy fixes should never be delayed.
“Relatively quick-and-easy fixes can go a long way,” Tiersky said. “If you fix a dozen things this quarter, and then a dozen more things next quarter, over time you can have a substantial impact on your customers.”
The pandemic has changed the way customers perceive your business, buy food and even the trips they are making to the store, so mobile apps, your website, your Facebook and Instagram pages are quickly becoming an important face for your business. Make sure they are closely monitored and maintained because, even online, you still only get one chance to make a good first impression.