With changing customer trends and demands on top of global supply chain disruption and a pandemic, retailers have had to continually pivot over the last few years. One of the best ways to survive the changes is with a mobile, social and digital-first strategy.
When Alicia Waters stepped into her current role as CMO of Crate & Barrel, she pushed to optimize the brand’s mobile presence and create more digital services. As customers spend more time at home and more time on their phones, they are inundated with digital content. Brands need to have a strong mobile and digital strategy to cut through the noise and stand out from the competition. Alicia says Crate & Barrel’s digital approach comes from a place of empathy and innovation to understand customers and connect with them digitally.
Much of that empathy comes from being transparent and showing real-world applications for the brand’s products. Pandemic restrictions meant Crate & Barrel couldn’t shoot on a typical photography set. But the company got creative and embraced new ways of shooting products like using CGI and having influencers shoot content at their homes. Alicia says some of the most impactful images came from photographers who shot with their kids in their own homes because it was real life and connected with customers on social media.
Alicia acknowledges that Crate & Barrel has made great strides in the mobile and digital space, but there is still room to go. The company is on a good path and wants to continue digitizing its stores and revolutionizing parts of the e-commerce experience. Crate & Barrel recently stopped sending stacks of physical catalogs to its stores and now sends a single sign with a QR code that links to a digital catalog. Alicia believes there are many opportunities for content in stores that can be delivered digitally. When customers are shopping in the store, they are doing more than just shopping in the store. They have their phones nearby as a powerful resource, and Crate & Barrel aims to create experiences that complement that behavior.
A mobile, social and digital-first strategy requires continual evolution. Alicia regularly brings in people from other areas of the company to offer a fresh perspective and create cross-functional teams that can tap into new digital strategies that resonate with customers.
Ultimately, the best mobile, social and digital-first strategy isn’t just flashy or convenient but rooted in customer need. Being transparent and showing realness helps brands stand out and build strong relationships with customers, even as the world continues to change.
Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here. Join the new Customer Experience Community here.