EP47 – Do You Really Know How Customers Perceive Your Brand?


EP47 – Do You Really Know How Customers Perceive Your Brand?

Episode 47 Sustainable Ecommerce Podcast

Welcome to Episode 47 of the Sustainable Ecommerce Podcast!

It’s time to talk about customer experience. Specifically, the experience your customer gets through their buying journey.

Obviously a great experience helps you convert visitors into buyers, and buyers into raving fans, but the rub is that its notoriously difficult to get a true read on how your customers actually feel about their experience, especially people who didn’t purchase.  

And, what about customer’s perception of your sustainability? If you’re a sustainable brand you MUST get your story across in a way that eco-conscious consumers can understand it – but how do you measure that? How can you be sure your messaging is giving them the information you think it is?

Well, enter today’s guests.  Andy Evans is the Co-Founder of humii, a mystery shopping network designed to give online retailers and ecommerce brands unparalleled end to end visibility of their customer experience.

Andy’s joined today by Mariele Osthus, Head of Strategy at Humii, and together we take a look at how customer experience evaluation performed by their mystery shoppers is helping brands of all sizes highlight some astonishing gaps in real life customer experiences.  

Plus, we explore how their extensive data set is enabling customers-eye view of how a brands UX stacks up against their competitors, in a way that’s never been possible before. 

Please do listen right to the end, because we share a very exciting announcement about a world first program being run right here in Australia to help sustainable brands specifically.

humii mystery shopper network

About Andy Evans & Mariele Osthus

Andy Evans has been in the tech consulting sector for 20+ years, and along with Co-Founder Lee started up humii to help retail brands get an unbiased view of their customer experience. Humii expands on the concept of mystery shoppers for in-store experience and layers that concept with data analytics and a deep understanding of ecommerce.

Mariela Osthus is the Chief Strategy Officer at humii, formerly Chief Commercial Officer for The Iconic where she led the brand’s online growth from $100m to over $1billion in revenue, including helping them start on their nascent sustainability programme.

What is Customer Experience and how does it relate to online customer journeys?

Fundamentally it’s about being fully centred on the customer through their whole purchasing journey, not just the path to checkout.  The post purchase experience is just as important in terms of reputation and customer loyalty.

What are the typical customer experience mistakes that brands make?

The most common experience problem the humii team uncovers is poor performance of the mobile version of the store vs the desktop view, and similarly poor performance of the shopping app (if it exists).   Most traffic actually comes to people’s stored on mobile, yet very few brands invest in making the mobile experience seamless.

Next, most brands mistakenly think of ‘customer experience’ as being pre-checkout, but post-purchase is equally important.  They frequently uncover service issues with things like broken shipment tracking links as well as broken KPIs for return refunds, and these can both leads to bad experience that could discourage shoppers from buying from the brand again in the future.

It’s critical to remember that as a brand, all stages of the customer journey get attributed to you, even the parts that you may be outsourcing including payment gateways, logistics and customer service. 

customer experience gap

Why is doing a mystery shopper assessment better than customer surveys or NPS?

Customer surveys are classically biased and designed to elicit a positive response, but equally they are ‘OK’ at getting high level data, but that is rarely actionable.  With the mystery shopper analysis you get much more detailed information across your whole customer journey, which is something you could never achieve with surveys.

Additionally, Humii’s shoppers provide an unbiased opinion of your apparent sustainability.  This in particular is something you can never broach in a survey with risk of drawing unwanted public criticism.  Conversely, Humii’s confidential approach allows you to check that the image you are hoping to present is the same as real world customer perception.  That’s unique and priceless!

Finally, a self-run customer survey will never tell you how your experience stacks up against that of your competitors.  All brands operate in a competitive environment and the only reliable way to win market share from competitors is to offer a better customer experience.  Humii’s service can benchmark you against your direct competitors and you can finally get answers to how customer’s perceive you by comparison.

What were the key take-outs from running the humii sustainability perception score in conjunction with the brand taking part in Green Friday?

The first eye opening observation was that most consumers don’t understand what brands are talking about in sustainability – they don’t understand why the brand’s choices are better for the environment.  That’s either because the information is not clearly presented or completely absent from their stores.

Communicating your brand’s impact and sustainability is actually increasingly essential to do effectively so that eco-conscious consumers can make better choices.

The second major takeout was that it isn’t necessarily the bigger brands with bigger marketing budgets and PR strategies that are winning the race for sustainability perception. In fact, many smaller brands were competing effectively on this basis, and we’re proud to say that all of the Sustainable Ecommerce clients that joined in the promotion ranked in the top 20, which goes to show that deploying our framework delivers great results.

sustainability perception

Introducing a world first service: The humii & Sustainable Ecommerce sustainability perception 360

We bring together humii’s secret shopper network with the in-house team an Sustainable Ecommerce to benchmark what customers really think about your sustainability and then implement a brand messaging framework that will help to elevate that.

To find out more & get a free no-obligation consultation on whether this service can help you, visit: https://humii.co/sustainability-perception

sustainability perception 360

Top Takeouts

  1. I think my first major takeout from chatting with the humii team today is that we have a major visibility gap in ecommerce when it comes to customer experience.

    Chatting with the team off air, they shared that from their data, 80% of brand think they’re delivering an outstanding customer experience, but only 10% of shoppers actually agree with them. That is a truly alarming disparity, and something you’ll never uncover, at least not in actionable detail, with customer surveys and things like NPS.

    With humii’s shopper network capturing hundreds of targeted data points, you can identify gaps with pinpoint accuracy, which could save you from making costly assumption, not to mention bleed from wasted ad spend and lost purchase frequency.

  2. What then about your customer’s perception of your sustainability and impact efforts?  Are you communicating these things clearly, not just to clued-up eco-warriors, but to mainstream consumers too?  Humii’s sustainability perception scoring shows a gulf of difference between brands communicating this clearly throughout their customer journey, and those who aren’t. 

    Actively surveying your customers is a white-knuckle ride, because while we understand that nothing is ever going to be perfect, there are always people willing to tear you down for things you could be doing better. Humii’s mystery shopper system then provides basically a risk free, and highly transparent mechanism for truly getting a handle on sustainability perception.

  3. In the face of everything that’s happening in the digital landscape, the brands that survive and thrive over the next decade are going to be the ones that really DO marketing well.  And since brand story and brand messaging is the bedrock of marketing across all channels, it truly is critical to make sure that how your customers perceive your brand is aligned with both the actions you have taken, and the image you want them to have, especially in relation to sustainability.

    So, if you’re running a purpose-driven brand, if you’re running an impact brand, or if you’re running a brand that’s making major strides in sustainability, it’s time to get your user experience check up!  Head over to https://humii.co/sustainability-perception and arrange to get a no obligation consultation today.

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