Digital technology is changing our lives faster than ever before. Our devices are getting smarter and more indispensable–they say good morning, monitor our health, answer our questions and take our orders. More than anything else, digital technology has empowered people with a whole new range of possibilities and experiences over the past few years. The latest cricket tournament is live on a streaming application, travel bookings are a click away, a cab ride is available at our doorstep within minutes, and financial transactions are accessible anytime, anywhere.
Businesses in the experience era
These digital changes are exciting, but they also put enormous pressure on businesses to keep pace with changing customer behaviour and preferences. Customers today expect everything they do online to work just the way they want, instantly and easily. From creative professionals to students to YouTube stars and office workers, everyone is looking for a way to communicate with higher impact. There is an explosion of data flowing through devices, servers and the cloud--compelling businesses to transform digitally. Smart businesses are making moves to outmaneuver the competition for attention, mindshare and money.
Without a doubt, organisations are acknowledging that today, customer experiences matter more than ever. According to an April 2018 Forrester report titled The Business Impact of Investing in Experience, experience-driven businesses enjoy 1.4x revenue and 1.6 times the lifetime value over companies that don’t.
India’s trillion-dollar opportunity
Led by its wave of growth on digital, India has been at the world’s centrestage for quite some time now. Our rapid digitisation drive, leapfrog to ‘mobile-only’, and vast population of millennials continue to make India an immensely unique and promising market. As our economy continues to mature, India is well on its way to reaching the trillion-dollar prophecy by 2025. Today, we are at a tipping point, where hunger and passion have combined with creativity and confidence, resulting in the ‘perfect storm’ of opportunity for Indian businesses looking to transform their customer experiences.
Marrying ‘Art’ and ‘Science’
As businesses in India look to bring customer experiences to the core of their business strategies, they need to create amazing content across form factors, to appeal to their customers. In parallel, businesses need to invest in a robust digital strategy that helps them leverage the power of data intelligence to deliver a compelling, relevant and personalised experience for each of its thousands of customers, as if they were their only customer. Companies who can do this will forge stronger connections with their customers, resulting in brand loyalty and growth.
Odisha Tourism recently undertook an exercise to offer a unified, wholesome experience to the customers engaging with them on digital. The department aggregated five websites into one, to create a consolidated portal for a one-stop, single identity of Odisha, for a prospective tourist. Driven by smart analytics and an evocative user interface, the digital platform now offers everything under one roof to visitors planning travel to Odisha.
‘Micro Moments’ mean ‘Big Ticket’ results
The customer journey today is a non-linear omnichannel process built across a series of micro-moments. Optimising the customer experience across each of the brand’s touch points from the point of sale systems and social media to customer service and in-store design, will ensure that the consumers stick with their choice. Like any business activity, customer experience is a journey, not a race. An intricately thought-through approach will yield exponential results in the medium and long term.
Nykaa, India’s leading retailer of beauty products, has been investing heavily in enriching the digital, mobile experience of its users across categories. Whether it is via videos, product information, first-in-class reviews, or reminiscent ads, the company is focused on delivering experiences that help capture the mind space of customers in 'micro moments'.
Today, Nykaa sees 41 million monthly visits from 13 million unique visitors, boasts of over 70 percent repeat customers and adding 219,000 monthly new customers.
Go local, go visual
According to a report published by media agency, Zenith, the average time spent by an Indian watching videos online has grown to 52 minutes per day in 2018 from a mere two minutes per day in 2012. It is expected to increase further to 67 minutes per day in 2019. Video will generate a whopping 82 percent of internet traffic in three years.
A comprehensive content strategy centered on video is essential for brands looking to expand and sustain their customer base. Now, with Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities fast mirroring the content consumption habits of their Tier-1 counterparts, brands enjoy a substantial opportunity–-first-mover advantage with targeted vernacular content.
Digital road ahead
As more and more businesses look to transform digitally and bring customer experiences to the front and centre of their market mission, some interesting trends are shaping the next wave of growth.
Today, digital transformation not just a discussion anymore, but a mandate topic that is core to every organisation’s boardroom, spanning across the C-suite. The urgency to hop onto the digital bandwagon is now prevalent across industry segments.
Market leading brands from across sectors, including ecommerce, travel and hospitality, real estate, and automobile are now manically focused on leveraging digital to deliver customer experiences.
Businesses that have already made big bets on digital are starting to see their investments fructify. These businesses are now viewing retention as an ‘always on’ objective, and are strategically moving their focus to ‘loyalty’.
As customer experiences become the biggest priority, a lot of businesses wonder how they can look for certainty in this age of digital disruption. On the contrary, the only way to thrive in these times is by placing bets on going big, experimenting with the new, and embracing the dynamics of the amazing market called ‘India’.
The author is MD of Adobe South Asia.