Kitewheel: New Evidence that Brands are Embracing the Customer Journey

journeyKitewheel on Monday released the “State of the Consumer Journey 2016 Report — a study of over one billion real-time, cross-sector brand and customer interactions captured by Kitewheel’s Customer Journey Hub.

The study reveals that brands are increasingly adopting and investing in a diverse set of customer journeys across a broader range of touch points than ever before.

Mobile Apps – the Channel to Watch in 2016

Today, the report summary notes, brands and their agencies are placing increased emphasis on omni-channel marketing initiatives, particularly when it comes to managing the customer experience as part of ongoing, individual customer journeys. This is an important step forward from recent approaches which focus on the customer experience at individual touch points. The Kitewheel study examined customer interactions from real  cross-channel journeys to provide insights into customers’ overall experience. A year-over-year comparison of 2014 to 2015 data reveals that each channel’s role in the customer journey is evolving:

  • Email is not dead. In fact, it has surged to 23 percent of total journey interactions, up 270 percent year-over-year.
  • Though the bulk of interaction volume occurs on social media (48 percent), the study found that as businesses expand to new channels as part of their customer journeys, social’s overall share of interactions declined 23 percent year-over-year.
  • Mobile apps represent the fastest growing channel, with interactions increasing tenfold from 2014 to 2015. While the overall percentage of mobile app interactions is still small this channel holds great potential for brands in 2016, but will require a strong, real-time capability.
  • Despite claims to the contrary, web interactions continue to climb, reaching 20 percent of total interactions; this represents a 67 percent increase year-over-year.

Early Adopters and Sector Trends

When it comes to coordinating modern-day customer journeys, retailers are leading the way, orchestrating 50 percent of the total journey interactions tracked in 2015. Meanwhile, travel and healthcare companies are also investing heavily at 15 percent and 12 percent respectively. These sectors are engaging customers across a broad array of channels and producing the highest volumes of interactions. The retail industry also depicts how, over time, brands may expand from approaches that focus on a single channel such as social, to more comprehensive journey approaches that also include web, email and in-store touch points. The travel industry – one of the first industries to widely embrace customer journeys – continues to grow in interaction volume, primarily by incorporating additional channels into the journey for their best customers. Finally, the insurance sector surged, quadrupling interaction volumes year-over-year. The adoption and expansion of customer journeys among a more traditional industry such as travel signifies the pervasiveness and success of the strategy.

“By placing a stronger emphasis on customer journey orchestration over the past year, brands have realized a wealth of new benefits, including increased awareness, engagement, conversion and retention,” said Mark Smith, president of Kitewheel. “Our study shows that the sky’s the limit when it comes to customer journey orchestration –  best practices will continue to emerge, allowing brands to incorporate more touch points into their omni-channel strategy and deliver the experiences consumers expect.”