For retail companies, providing a stellar customer experience translates to improved sales, higher loyalty, and more return business. But creating — and maintaining — a great CX can prove difficult, confusing, and hard to manage without the proper tools.
I see proof of this almost everyday, especially whenever business leaders get interviewed on television about their successes. For instance, just yesterday Etsy CFO Kristina Salen appeared on CNBC to discuss how the company’s success relates back to investments in technology.
While Etsy is an online pure-play retailer, it’s business is much different than others in the same space. Etsy offers a much wider variety of products, handmade and vintage items you can’t find in big box stores — or even on online retail giant Amazon. That means its approach to customer experience can’t necessarily rely on what’s worked for competitors in the online retail industry.
Etsy recently acquired machine learning company Blackbird to help improve search and product targeting for its digital channels. Due to the difficulty of matching the over 40 million items on Etsy’s marketplace with its 26 million global customers, the acquisition, as Salen says, is expected to help continue business growth in the years to come. She also said that Etsy will leverage Blackbird’s technology in ways that other companies couldn’t — and that line stuck with me.
How did Etsy know that improvements to search would help bolster its ability to grow the business effectively? For my money, the answer is because Etsy is hyper focused on measuring the customer experience in ways that revealed the most important elements that will boost overall satisfaction. That’s not something you can do by simply looking at the site and taking notes on what should work more efficiently versus what isn’t a priority. You have to look at customer behavior, collect customer feedback, and track how changes to your digital channels are affecting overall satisfaction.
Without understanding what drives satisfaction, all the artificial intelligence tech in the world won’t reliably help improve a company’s bottom line. But for Etsy, its investments in technology with CX in mind have helped give it a competitive edge over competitors.
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