Disjointed Shopper Experiences = Failure

Imagine for a second that you’re visiting a restaurant. Let’s make it your favorite restaurant. Got it? Now imagine everything is normal except for one really weird thing.

Each time the server comes to your table it’s a different person. Someone who has never seen you before.

Right off the bat, they would not recognize you as a returning customer (this is your favorite restaurant after all). They’d assume it was your first time ever to walk in the place and they’d proceed to bore you with an entire list of what the restaurant is famous for, how they prepare the dishes, and their personal recommendations.

They’d leave to get your drinks and then someone else would come to your table. This new person would ask if you’ve ordered yet. No one would recall any of the previous conversations you’d had with the other servers and there’s no way the right food would be placed in front of the right person. Lord knows how you’d deal with the tip. You get the idea, right? It would be a very frustrating, time wasting experience.

That experience thankfully doesn’t happen at your favorite restaurant. But chances are something similar happens to you as a consumer when you visit your favorite eCommerce site.

When we hear ‘omni-channel for retailer’ talk, it’s discouraging that within even one singular channel (eCommerce), many retailers are actually creating anti-omni digital experiences.

There might be one vendor for onsite product recommendations, one for product recommendations in email, a different site search vendor and potentially a different provider managing some aspect of your mobile solution. All of these experiences on top of all the branding, are creating different visitor experiences and none of them talk or relate to each other.

How do each of these solutions respond to expressed shopper intent if at all? Do they all leverage first party data for clicks or just for purchases? Are they segmentation-based solutions or personalization solutions – or even worse, a blend?

The shopper doesn’t know or care that their favorite retailer is using different vendors to deliver personalization services. They are looking for a consistent and singular brand engagement, but in truth they might be getting 4 or 5 different experiences.

Here’s something today’s consumer does care about. They feel it when experiences are disjointed. They see through vendors’ awkwardly off-target segmentation based product recommendations, impersonal and laborious site-search results and batch and blast emails that treat recipients’ inboxes like a “spam until you get it right” laboratory.

What differs from a few years ago is that these smarter and more aware consumers now look down on these outdated tricks and think they make brands look staid and sad.

eCommerce sites should stop serving up disjointed, anti omni-channel shopping experiences. Instead, look to create a singular personalized shopper experience across all solutions and see if you can upgrade to a contemporary solution that creates personalized, intelligent experiences that your brand can be proud of.

Kurt Heinemann

Kurt is Reflektion’s CMO. His resume includes CMO positions at Marketwired and Monetate. He’s also held senior executive positions at Priceline, Time Warner and Walker Digital Companies. Despite living in Yankees territory, Kurt is a die hard Tigers fan.