Jo Gaines, area vice president of retail and consumer goods for Salesforce. Supplied
“But it’s harder than ever to really satisfy customers, because there are so many channels and many differing expectations.”
Against this backdrop, many businesses are pursuing digital transformation to build a comprehensive understanding of their existing customers’ experiences and preferences.
Research backs up the importance of experience when it comes to engaging your existing customer base.
Salesforce’s most recent Connected Shopper Report shows 29 per cent of shoppers are more likely to buy from a retailer when they offer a tailored customer experience.
Crucially, just 47 per cent of retailers have a defined customer experience strategy to deliver a superior service.
“We’re seeing a big change driven by digital transformation,” she says.
Transformation in action
Like many businesses, iconic Australian boot and apparel brand RM Williams embarked on its digital transformation journey a year ago mid pandemic, when lockdowns were routine.
At the time, its customer journey was disconnected and the customer service team needed new tools to suit the new retailing reality.
An investment company owned by Western Australian business innovators Andrew “Twiggy” and Nicola Forrest acquired the famous Australian brand in October 2020.
They challenged the RM Williams team to be bold in its thinking and put customers front and centre.
“Our website was more than nine years old, so we had built up a lot of technical debt. We didn’t have a smart way to have a personal discussion with customers,” says Nathan Alexander, CTO, RM Williams.
Nathan Alexander, CTO of RM Williams. Supplied
So, the business deepened its existing relationship with Salesforce to transform the customer experience, with a focus on enhancing its relationship with its existing cohort of loyal customers.
It implemented Marketing Cloud to achieve a more personalised, targeted conversation with customers.
It also accelerated its use of Service Cloud for case management and telephone automation and Commerce Cloud now powers its ecommerce channel.
“We now use Salesforce across all our customer touchpoints. Salesforce Professional Services helped us envisage how we engage with customers, taking design-led thinking to build a set of capabilities and requirements we then built into our systems,” he says.
For instance, when a customer buys a pair of RM William Craftsman or Maya boots, Marketing Cloud will offer products to complement the purchase, such as a Jerrawa or Western belt.
Additionally, thanks to Service Cloud, when a customer calls or logs a service request on the website, the customer service team immediately knows who they are, their previous purchases and whether they were online or in-store.
“It allows our customer service team to have a better conversation with the customer around how we can help them. This helps us to retain customers,” says Alexander.
A seamless experience
While digital transformation is driving new ways of attracting and retaining customers online, it’s also essential to augment the offline experience.
“People used to see digital as an option, but now everyone knows how to transact online. So, it’s about changing the experience for customers,” says Gaines.
“Often, they start their research in the digital channel before going in store. This means it’s important to make the online and in-store experiences equivalent.”
She says companies need to appreciate consumer expectations have changed, to keep them connected to their brands.
“Sometimes you want to find what you’re looking for at your local store and click and collect. Sometimes you want it delivered to your door because you don’t want to have to go through the hassle of finding a parking spot,” she says.
“When it comes to loyalty, give me options that show you understand me, the type of transaction I’m looking for and the experience I want.
“Make me feel when I walk into your store, as a loyal customer, you know and appreciate me.”
As for the future, RM Williams is embarking on an ambitious domestic and international growth strategy so it can make the most of the new marketing tools in its kit.
“Our immediate focus is our 90th anniversary and making that the best expression of our customer experience,” says Alexander.
“Medium to long term, we want to take RM Williams to the world. We have huge aspirations and we are looking to double the business in the next five years, so, it’s an exciting time.
“We have amazing custodians who own the brand and incredible support from them. We’re running as fast as we can to scale the business and improve conversations with customers and deliver products built for form and function, which was always RM Williams’ vision.”