Opinions

How many miles have you walked in your customers' shoes?

Posted by Lori Luechtefeld on June 24th, 2014 at 11:11 am

All the clever technology and internal innovation in the world doesn't amount to a hill of beans if you don't understand your retail customers and what they want from their shopping experiences. If you haven't spent time talking to your customers as they shop, you can't expect to keep pace with the rapidly evolving commerce marketplace.

In a Q&A following the opening keynote at the iMedia Commerce Summit in Salt Lake City, Kelly Thompson of Walmart.com and Nick Nguyen of @WalmartLabs both emphasized the overarching importance of putting yourself in a shopper's shoes when building your omni-channel marketing plan. Nguyen, who is head of mobile product for @WalmartLabs, spends a lot of his time in Walmart stores, experiencing the customer journey firsthand and evaluating how well the tools his team has formulated fit into that journey. "At the end of day, the customer sees the Walmart brand," he said. "They don't care how we operate internally or how our teams are structured. They see Walmart as one thing."

Thompson, SVP of merchandising, merchandise planning, and marketplace for Walmart.com, added that taking a customer-centric view means leveraging advanced personalization tools as well. "There are hundreds of millions of customers to serve, but you have to speak to them one at a time," she said.

Chiming in, Nguyen added that personalization means more than just customizing a consumer's digital experience according to past behaviors. It also means making smart recommendations based on need and product popularity. "We're not just selling one thing," he said. "We're there to stock the shelves of their lives."

"Customer care" image via Shutterstock.

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