"It’s Important to Experience the Proposition From a Customer Perspective as Often as You Can"

The Head of UK Online at Graze discusses the digital disruption within marketing and the biggest trends impacting the industry in 2016.

Noel Eves is the Head of UK Online at graze.com and brings over ten years of experience in retail, ecommerce, marketing and strategy.

Before joining graze he worked in the supermarket sector in a variety of roles that included brand management, campaign management, customer insight and commercial buying. He began his career in consultancy at PwC.

In the first part of his interview with CX Network
, Noel discussed the subscription company’s customer acquisition strategy and what the key is to not only growing the customer bases but then turning them into true brand loyalists.

Today he talks about the digital disruption within in marketing, the biggest trends impacting the industry in 2016 and he shares his ultimate piece of advice for delivery of an exceptional customer experience.

In what innovative ways is the digital disruption driving change in the way you approach customer experience and marketing at Graze?

Graze has been a disruptive proposition within the food industry since launch so that’s very much part of who we are. We collect millions of product ratings every year and we’ve also got extremely short lead times to launch new products which means we can move much faster than other food businesses.

The lead times on launching new products into retailers are a little longer than this but we can still ensure we only launch new concepts that are well tested and proven with customers which gives us a unique advantage in this space.

In terms of taking advantage of disruption in the broader marketing landscape I think this is about having a constant process of testing in place. We’re probably running about 10-15 tests on new digital activity a year and I can only see that accelerating further.

Currently I’m particularly excited by the work we’re doing on Instagram, the continued innovation in ad formats and targeting capabilities on Facebook and the expansion of our content capabilities.

What do you believe will be the biggest trends impacting upon customer experience management in 2016? How are you preparing for these?

There are three key trends that I see continuing to have a major impact.

The first of these is further mobile usage growth – we continue to see rising numbers of new and returning customers visiting the website from mobile devices. We have a mobile-optimised site that’s tested and reviewed extensively in order to make sure it’s performing optimally but there’s definitely further work to do here.

The second is integration between online and offline channels. Shoppers are becoming more accustomed to moving seamlessly between the two and we’ve seen a great response to the fact we are now available in shops and via the website.

The third is linked to both of the points above – pace and simplicity. Expectations are higher than ever for an easy, quick and seamless experience and there’s a low tolerance for any aspects that get in the way of this.

Finally, what ultimate piece of advice would you give your peers to help them enhance the customer experience they’re delivering?

There’s only two pieces of universal advice I’d offer in this respect.

Firstly, it’s important to experience the proposition from a customer perspective as often as you can. Everyone who works at Graze can get their online boxes for free, despite the fact that there are ample product samples around the office. This is so that they can receive their boxes exactly as a customer would.

This sounds obvious but I’ve worked in many offices previously where many people haven’t ever engaged with the product as a customer would and so have never asked themselves the question ‘Would I be satisfied if I had paid for this?’.

The second is trying to find time some time every few months to listen or talk to loyal customers who are passionate about the product. It’s a huge energiser but also a great reminder of the key things that matter.