Shoppers increasingly are seeking to experience brands across multiple channels, from social networking sites to e-Commerce and mobile storefronts, as well as brick-and-mortar locations. In order to ensure consistency and create an optimal customer experience, best-in-class retailers are leveraging Voice of Customer (VoC) technologies and solutions. The Container Store has partnered with OpinionLab, a customer feedback solution provider, to connect the dots across commerce channels effectively.
Whether consumers are browsing online, via mobile or in the retailer’s 54 stores nationwide, The Container Store sought to provide easy access to a feedback platform, according to Catherine Davis, Direct Marketing Director, of The Container Store.
The Container Store initially implemented OpinionLab’s feedback solution in 2009 when the retailer re-platformed its web site. Upon deployment, the merchant also was able to obtain in-depth data on the efficacy of is storefront, as well as listen to and learn from online visitors.
“Initially, we really wanted the opportunity to receive feedback on the site to better understand technical glitches that we didn’t catch during testing,” Davis explained. “However, it has evolved into something much more than that. We’re getting great feedback about our stores, associates at locations, as well as comments on new features and product questions. Now there’s a great opportunity for us to turn this information to our customer solutions department and help them address specific items as needed.”
Due to the success of this initiative, the retailer expanded its VoC strategy to include a mobile comment card in the fall of 2011. By providing this mobilized service, The Container Store’s technology, merchandising and marketing teams can glean contextual feedback on store experiences in real time.
“Mobile is very important to us because our target customer is busy,” Davis said. “These women are always on the go, so it is vital that we provide access to our site and our products in any way that they want. Many consumers want to access our site through smartphone or tablet, so we make the mobile submission form available so we can easily pinpoint any features that could use tweaking and make the mobile experience more streamlined. The feedback we receive is always applied for future enhancements.”
Facilitating Customer Feedback
The OpinionLab solution implants the “[+] feedback” link on both the retailer’s e-Commerce and mobile storefronts, and provides a short form for visitors to complete. Through the digital comment card, shoppers can rate content, design/layout, ease of use and the overall experience, and include unique, more detailed feedback.
The Container Store receives daily alerts and relays content to its technology, merchandising and marketing teams. Back-end toolkits interpret structured and unstructured VoC feedback, allowing team members to track and analyze customer goals, successes and frustrations, address them and apply solutions as needed. As a result, the retailer is able to refine campaigns, address technical glitches and create a memorable cross-channel experience, leading to greater loyalty among its consumer base.
“One of our inherent principles is: ‘communication is leadership,’ so we’ve always been a very transparent company,” Davis explained. “One of the benefits of this principle is that many of us still feel like we’re on the frontlines of stores because we get so much in-depth information from customers every day. This was a natural transition, which allows consumers to communicate with us directly through the web site.”
Specific multichannel campaigns, inventory and promotions also can be analyzed through VoC feedback. For example, The Container Store uses customer data to determine usage of its web-based elfa design tool. Since some visitors design closets online, but complete their purchases in brick-and-mortar locations, the retailer was challenged to determine the efficacy of the feature. However, since leveraging VoC, The Container Store is pinpointing multichannel shopping behaviors and optimizing campaigns more consistently.
“We’re past the point of retailers understanding that they need to receive customer feedback,” said Jonathan Levitt, CMO of OpinionLab. “However, we’re at a point where merchants need to understand how to solicit that feedback, analyze that feedback, and put that information into action. VoC has allowed retailers to measure the online experience, look at information in regards to optimization and conversion, and now, they’re able to move the [revenue] needle successfully.”
By tapping into VoC technology, retailers are able to receive actionable insight on the in-store experience, and serve omnichannel shoppers more effectively, Levitt added.
“Retailers are now able to receive real-time information and contextual feedback of the in-store experience,” Levitt explained. “Moreover, merchants also can trend metrics from one channel to the next. This transition to omnichannel analytics is a big development in the space because traditionally, we’ve only looked at these metrics in silos. Now, retailers can trend this data, apply it to their businesses and see how multiple channels are working together. Being able to understand how metrics change when consumers bounce from one channel to the next provides a wealth of possibilities in terms of optimizing the online and offline experience.”
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