Connecting Online and Offline Customer Journeys


Meghan Horvath

April 3, 2019

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As today’s consumers scroll through smartphones more often than store aisles, retailers struggle to align the online and offline shopping journey. There’s no doubt these cross often, but ensuring the perfect experience across all channels is difficult.

Although modern shoppers approach retailers through various mediums, they all have one goal: to find what they like and buy it. Whether this takes place in store or on your website makes little difference, so long as you get them to the checkout.

For retailers looking to boost sales while offering a top-notch customer experience (CX) in today’s market, here are some tips to keep you on track.

  1. Cross-functional teams

Building the necessary bridge between the two worlds of online and offline is about organizational changes and strategy, which all comes down to people.

Luckily, we see companies changing and moving from an inside-out to outside-in approach. That is, they are putting themselves in the shoes of the customer and taking a hard look at the company from the eyes of the ones doing the shopping. While empathizing with customers is great, many teams still work in silos.

Here is how this might look:

  1. Customer Service ask customers if they received their order on time via email

  2. Marketing asks which product is a customer favorite via surveys on Twitter

  3. Product measures the ease and glitches of online ordering via feedback form

The insights gathered by each team are relevant, but they are often not shared or at least not leveraged in a holistic way to contribute to better overall experiences for customers. From Customer Care to Support to Marketing, it’s crucial to bring people on board from different disciplines to ensure customer centricity is an overarching objective.

This might mean devising a separate, interdisciplinary team of representatives from various departments. This ‘CX dream team’ must be ready to hold the organization accountable for the customer journey, both offline and online. The advantage is you can keep a check on team decisions and share learnings with the right people.

2. Bringing data together

It won’t be long before CX’s importance surpasses that of even price and product. Collecting insights on the experience of customer journeys is therefore important now more than ever, but it can be difficult to know where to start.

To build bridges between team objectives as mentioned above, it helps to start with shared goals related to CX. These grow out of asking the right questions and understanding what needs fixing. At Usabilla, ‘Ask’ fits into the first step of the Ask, Analyze, Act framework we use for gathering feedback from our customers.

For Usabilla customer KLM for instance, asking for customer feedback showed them that certain features were missing from their app that already existed in other apps and even on their website. This feedback then provides a basis for cross channel homogeneity and strong, cross-departmental goals for stronger CX moving forward.

The CX pyramid below shows further metrics that are the holy grail for collecting actionable data from your customers.


Similar to ensuring all teams are in sync, be careful to ask for feedback across the entire customer journey.

3. Shared goals and KPIs

Now that you have input from your customers, you can ‘Analyze’ and prioritize the issues. Use customer journey mapping or a matrix to define what’s important and how much effort it will take. Creating transparency is key. Although you might have your responsibilities for a specific part, it’s crucial to keep the overview of the entire journey.

US-based retailer and Usabilla customer Hibbett Sports presents an interesting case. After nearly 70 years with no online presence, it launched its first e-commerce site. To test the online customer journey and catch issues in an actionable way, employees used Usabilla internally.

“This gave us an important jump-start to our live launch because the feedback was extremely effective in those early stages.”

Steve Schulte, Manager of Digital Analytics at Hibbett

With rich input gathered, you can ‘Act’ aka implement. Integrating the findings in existing workflows, you can then assign actions to the right person. This is where your cross-disciplinary team of CX heroes comes in. With short and agile processes around these implementation cycles, you can follow through on great customer journeys.

In the end…

Strong CX strategy is the way forward. Once you realize you’re dealing with the same customer travelling different paths, you can approach the experience as a whole by covering both online and offline simultaneously. When in doubt, remind yourself why you should focus on CX:

  1. It strengthens your position towards competitors

  2. It brings loyal customers and free word of mouth marketing

  3. There is a growth of customer demands and it’s harder to meet customer expectations

  4. It is fun to help make others’ lives easier

Remember to share goals and successes internally, but also involve your customers to keep them engaged to leave more feedback. Need more reasons in favor of great CX? Tweet us @usabilla.

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