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Aligning The Physical & Digital Experience

Published: June 23, 2016

Ah, customer experience – your definition eludes us. Sometimes it’s defined as digital experiences and interactions. In other cases, customer experience is focused on retail or customer service, or the speed at which problems are solved in a call center.

In successful businesses, customer experience today is seen as all these things, and more. “It is the sum-totality of how customers engage with your company and brand, not just in a snapshot in time, but throughout the entire arc of being a customer.” But, one problem remains…

There’s A Disconnect

Ask yourself a few quick questions. Do you care when a customer comes up to you face-to-face and complains? The answer is likely yes. Now, do you bend over backwards the same way when a customer complains online? Do you even know this is happening? The same is true for your surroundings. You spend money to remodel your store, your office, your front desk area to provide the best possible experience for your customers. Do you do the same for your front door of the web – your website?

In far too many situations, the latter answers are no. Today, people expect more. They expect a better in-store experience, a better digital experience, a more personalized experience and ultimately an omni-channel experience that requires tight alignment of digital and physical channels.

The Challenges

Despite the overwhelming buzz of the ‘omni-channel’ strategy, many companies are left scratching their heads at how to create such an experience quickly, efficiently and effectively.

People often prove the most difficult obstacle in the alignment of digital and physical channels. Companies need to avoid “multi-cultural” clashes and the treatment of the digital unit as a form of “skunk works” that operates in isolation of the business.

Figure out the people dimension and in comes change in process.
 If not approached strategically, the integration of digital capabilities into the physical reality can lead to friction with existing strategies and processes.

The Solution

Though it initially seems a lofty initiative to tackle, implementing an omni-channel experience that aligns the physical and digital is possible – even quickly – when you recruit the right strategies and tactics.

The number one key is in partnering with someone that offers an outside perspective. Too often, organizations operate from the inside out, and not in a good way. Organizational politics, internal roadblocks, and other business problems tend to result in poor brand to consumer communication, particularly on the constantly evolving and growing internet.

One of the advantages the outside expert brings is perspective. And one of the hallmarks of creativity is the ability to see problems differently, and thus find solutions others cannot see.

Festival Foods partnered with Envano for digital strategy guidance and tactical support, which quickly turned into a unique effort to align an industry-leading in-store experience with the digital one. A focus on people first, then process, and finally technology has proven a key to success. In only one year, Festival Foods is well on their way to implementing an omni-channel guest experience.

You may have a superb in-store or physical experience, but is your digital one up to par?

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