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RETAIL BEST PRACTICE: ALIGN CUSTOMER AND BUSINESS GOALS

October 31, 2012

careful alignment breeds success

Careful alignment is critical for goals as well as buildings.


For retailers, the chief business goals for your web sites are likely revenue, margin, and acquiring and retaining customers. Customers’ goals vary from visit to visit. The most common goals are as follows:
• Research what’s on offer to satisfy my need
• Compare and consider alternatives
• Buy
• Realize the benefits of the purchase:
i. Find out about returns and/or repairs
ii. Learn how to use a product
iii. Check status of current orders
• Review order history to plan next purchase

You will be more successful with your customers – and make them more successful—if you help them rather than interrupt them. That’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? Well, it is obvious as a theory, but the practice is complicated. It may be difficult to discern from a customer’s path just which goal he seeks. And even when it is clear, your own goals – revenue, margin, acquisition, retention—may distract you from your role as customers’ guide.

You have business goals for customer acquisition, retention, revenue, margin, but if you are helping your customer instead of thwarting him (and your business), you can’t attempt to meet each goal during every interaction.

Which goals, for which visits? Think about the customer’s context.
Your customer acquisition goal lines up with customers’ research goal.
Your revenue goal lines up with customers who are buying.
Your margin goal lines up with a customer’s compare alternatives goal.
Your customer retention goal lines up with customer efforts to realize the benefits of purchase and plan next purchase.

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