Exploratory travel to the United States: Customer centricity, immersive experience, and cultural differences

Exploratory travel to the United States: Customer centricity, immersive experience, and cultural differences

ShoppingTomorrow and Thuiswinkel.org organized a study trip to New York and Arkansas in which 30 CEOs participated. What stands out among the big companies out there: Customer experience is becoming ‘too’, Metaverse and TikTok. Lessons for companies looking to move to the US.

ShoppingTomorrow/Thuiswinkel.org’s exploration tour is over. We spent a week in New York with a group of 30 CEOs, visiting Meta, TikTok, the Dutch Embassy, ​​various retailers, Salesforce, and we were in Bentonville, Arkansas, where we were guests at Walmart for two days. Here’s an overview of what happened there.

Digital transformation is all about putting the customer first

ITC Metri started the journey with a clear message: the storm of disruptions of the past is permanent. The retail chain has been disrupted by the pandemic and is now in the midst of a perfect storm. Business complexity is increasing real time Understanding the entire supply chain is critical. We are moving away from omnichannel retail omniscientIn other words: you need to know your company, your ecosystem, and your customer.

For many companies this means an accelerated digital transformation, although according to many speakers we can also take the word ‘digital’ from it. Change involves culture, people and processes, and digitization must be a part of all of that. Of course customer experience is central to this. How can we make the consumer’s life as fun, easier, cheaper or more inspiring as possible? This requires data and technology. Knowing what your customer wants, how they behave and what their basic needs are.

Supermarket giant Walmart

One of the companies that extensively takes a customer-centric approach is Walmart: originally a local supermarket, but has grown into a large chain with more than 10,000 stores in 26 countries. Their philosophy: “Save money, live better”. The first part of their motto focuses on a low cost strategy and the second part focuses on a better life for all.

Walmart strives for the highest NPS, and has aligned its innovation processes accordingly. They combine in-store and webshop data with, among other things, consumer surveys and interviews. They remove obstacles and increase NPS 4 in a boxModel: People from different disciplines come together to reach solutions. Of course, everything is tested: more than 450 A/B tests are run on the webshop every day. The company is also constantly looking for new ways to add value to the customer. Think personalized experiences on the web, parcel delivery by drones and delivery in a fridge.

Walmart’s relatively new market is the medical department. By adding affordable opticians and dentists to the store in addition to medicines, they truly become a one-stop shop for consumers. Especially wide for a store that 90% of Americans can reach within about 15 kilometers.

Although Walmart operates a Customer firstStrategy, employees matter. They also want a frictionless experience, and Walmart has built an engaging, fully integrated app that helps its 1.2 million employees serve customers, manage their tasks, manage HR matters and train themselves. Walmart’s programs and developments aim to make life as easy as possible for consumers and employees.

Customer Experience ‘Great’

This obsession with the customer means that many (physical) stores are focusing more on experience and inspiration, as we saw during the retail tour put together by Salesforce. There has been a shift in the use of technology since Convenienceor convenience (elimination of friction, safety, comfort, confidence), to Experience, or experience. It’s not just about customization and fit, it’s about providing total, sinking Experience, both digital and physical.

sinking To “envelop” or completely “surround” a person is to make the person appear to be completely involved. sinking Technology A collective term for technologies that immerse one in an experience. All senses are addressed. Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed reality Manifestations of high-speed technology.

For example, the Harry Potter store has an app that helps you figure out which ‘house’ you’re in and which wand you need to have through a sorting hat before your visit. In the shop you can buy clothes from your ‘home’, you can stand in the shoes of the half-giant Hagrid and ‘fly’ a virtual round of the broom. Showfield, a brick-and-mortar store where designers can rent meters to sell their products, has a slide and arcade to entertain consumers in the store. The Microsoft Experience Center has a $1.6 million McLaren that you can drive a simulated lap through. Also notable is Reddy’s, a pet store where a unique experience is created for both owner and dog. In short, whoever your customer is, make sure they leave the store feeling inspired.

New ways to communicate: the metaverse and TikTok

Many people wonder what the metaverse is, seeing many Google searches. The Metaverse is not a replacement for the physical world, but an enrichment of the current Internet, also known as Web 3.0. In this web 3.0, the According to– and write downFeatures of Internet 2.0 are additionally provided ownFunctionality is the blockchain enabling technology. User as owner of crypto, NFTs and avatars in Metaverse.

Incidentally, there isn’t just one metaverse: it’s a collection of digital, interconnected worlds that include Roblox and Decentraland. Social presence is very important in this and a lot of money is already being spent on this. For example, some have digital clothing rather than physical clothing and digital artwork and NFTs are traded not only digitally, but also in stores like Super Plastic in New York. See also the OpenSea app.

Meta betting Wearables Enjoy the metaverse sinking make use of Mixed reality And an updated version of Occulus Quest is coming soon. Expectations about the speed at which metaverses evolve vary widely. With the expectation that we will spend an average of 1 hour per day on Metaverse by 2026, Meta is investing heavily in its version of Metaverse, while IDC expects Metaverse to become larger only in 2035. However, it is important for retailers to monitor this development closely and experiment as much as possible.

Today, TikTok is a social media platform where users already spend 1.5 hours a day on which users can create and share short videos. TikTok’s algorithm is designed to quickly deliver content based on a user’s interests.for you‘-page. Even if someone doesn’t follow you, chances are they’ll watch your video. Despite common perception, according to TikTok, there are more millennials on the platform than Generation Z, and the ratio between Gen-Z and Boomers is about even. This means that there is enormous potential for (online) retailers to communicate with a wider target group, either organically or through paid advertising. Again, experimentation is learning.

Environmental and social goals are not a priority in the United States

The themes were evident in ITC’s presentation environment, Social And reign (ESG) is certainly not at the top of US CEOs’ agendas. In fact, while 80% of CEOs say sustainability is important to their governance, only 12% of those surveyed make achieving sustainability goals a priority. In the United States, management continues to focus on revenue and growth, followed by customer satisfaction and customer acquisition.

Companies focus on employees. The competition for talent in America is fierce not only in New York but also in other parts of the country. By including the employee in processes and focusing on removing barriers that make work more difficult or less enjoyable, they invest in talent retention. It’s amazing how many American organizations don’t talk about this workers (Employees) But about Partners (partner) or Creators (Producers): Anything that makes sure they feel heard and engaged. It is also noteworthy that many companies have an inclusive statement. Here and there we saw rainbows, gender-neutral toilets, or literal expressions of content.

Doing business in America

America is a country with wide demographic differences. The cultural differences we saw between New York and Arkansas were also significant. Starting a business in the US is not an easy task. A visit to the Dutch Consulate in New York taught me that many start-ups are coming to the US and that they are often focused on sustainability, social challenges, climate and energy transition. The embassy helps start-ups and scale-ups doing business in the US and gave us a brief overview of the differences with the Netherlands. Key experiences of Sana and Innovation Boosters who stepped into New York:

  • You’re competing against big players in a tight talent pool
  • Personnel costs will be higher than expected
  • America is not a homogenous market
  • A Go to the marketA state-represented approach is essential.
Stay informed about all developments

This year’s exploration journey was characterized by a new virtual world, customer experience, expanding our network and learning from each other. We look back on an amazing trip and think about the next one. Make sure you are there, gain unique access to companies that keep their doors closed to others, discover insights into the world of e-commerce outside the Netherlands and expand your knowledge and network. Contact (via email) Shopping tomorrow. And now want more information? Join one of the expert groups Tuiswinkel.org And stay updated with all the developments.

About the author: Mickey Hoganboom He is the PR Manager at Tuiswinkel.org.

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