In today’s digital economy, brands and businesses must deliver visually rich media experiences across all digital channels to meet the expectations of modern consumers.
But is your customer experience (CX) optimized to create a point of differentiation for your brand and drive up conversions and revenue?
That’s the million dollar question. It’s also the focus of a panel discussion Cloudinary hosted in partnership with The Drum UK, “Optimizing the CX to boost engagement, conversions and revenue.” Gathering to discuss CX trends, challenges, and solutions, this esteemed panel featured:
- Milind Pansare, VP, product marketing for Cloudinary
- Karen Boswell, chief experience officer, EMEA, at VMLY&R
- Suzi Bentley Tanner, strategy and transformation director at PA Consulting
- Chris Sutcliffe, senior reporter for technology at The Drum and event moderator
Here are five key takeaways from the discussion.
Among blockchain, NFTs, the metaverse, and other emerging Web 3.0 technologies, consumers have come to expect innovation. The changes are dynamic, dramatic, and nearly constant.
The average consumer expects:
- Modernity. Visual experiences to reflect the latest technology and media trends.
- Instant gratification. Brands have mere seconds to attract and engage a user, and attention spans are only getting shorter.
- Continuous improvement. Every experience has to be as good as their last great one. And every digital experience has to be as good, if not better, than physical ones.
- Hyperrealism. High-fidelity visual media experiences allow shoppers to understand colors, textures, and dimensions with precision so they can make online purchases with confidence.
- Personalization. Brands must deliver personalized, relevant visual experiences across every channel. Milind explained how creative automation enables retailers to customize imagery at scale by automatically updating backgrounds, product images, copy, and other variables based on key triggers, including geographic region.
Across verticals, the gap between customer expectations and a brand’s ability to meet them is growing, Karen noted.
Suzi agreed,“You could swap out the logo of a lot of different retail brands online, and you don’t actually know what site you are on,”.
The challenge for brands is to deliver an experience that stands out while still enabling customers to engage with the company quickly and easily. In other words, you can’t create experiences so unique that shoppers can’t navigate your site.
In addition to designing customized and engaging touchpoints, companies must also ensure flawless delivery across every media format.
“It’s not just creating the experiences that has become harder, but ensuring that last mile delivery on every single device, whether it’s the little round thing you’re wearing on your wrist, or the big rectangular thing you’re staring at right now,” Milind explained.
How do you create CX that differentiates your organization? You must understand your audience and design for their wants and needs. Suzi advises companies to be “ruthlessly obsessed with the customer,” and to put their best interest above all else.
Differentiation comes from listening to demand, not mimicking your marketplace, Karen added.
She also urged companies to crawl out of the digital rabbit hole and consider the big picture. “What is this experience in the ecosystem of the customer’s life? Because we’ll be designing for a moment in time, which in the context of our busy day is a flash in the pan,” she said.
Building human-centered solutions and experiences sounds intuitive and great in theory, but actually re-architecturing your company to keep the customer at the heart of everything you do is a massive practical challenge. Businesses must commit to a customer-centric approach and see technology as a tool for executing on that approach.
“Technology for me is always an enabler. It is there to serve a purpose,” Suzi said.
Technology is changing to create more flexible platforms for brands. Companies are choosing composable API-first architecture, stitching together best-in-breed platforms to support intricate visual experience delivery workflows.
“The big change that I’m seeing is that people are going best-of-breed, where everything can be integrated together, because the differentiators they need to provide those flexible experiences cannot be built in the old way,” Milind noted.
Brands that are serious about CX are investing in the media experience cloud. “Visuals and experiences are such a critical thing that you need a specialist technology to handle them,” Milind explained. “Your existing, big monolithic e-commerce or CMS providers do a little bit. They dabble in it [CX]. But it’s not good enough anymore.”
Whether customers are engaging with your brand in the physical world, online, or both, visual experiences are key. Companies can use technology to improve every aspect of the visual media lifecycle. For example, with Cloudinary, brands can:
- Use creative automation to improve legacy workflows and shorten timelines from months to days, or even seconds
- Automate the creation of personalized campaigns
- Nail “the last mile” — the delivery of a flawless, optimized experience, no matter where the individual is engaging
“Look at your visual experience across all channels and make sure you have a purpose-built platform and the technology in place to help you differentiate in a true way and bring out all that authentic connection that people want with your brand,” Milind advised. “Do not compromise on your visuals, because visual experiences are everything.”
Ready to improve your brand’s CX and improve every aspect of the visual media lifecycle? Contact us to learn more.