“It’s time to level up the digital customer experience”

2021-02-04

Digitalization has brought with it a myriad of changes. Change in society as a whole and changes in human behaviors. More and more experiences – from shopping, banking to dating – are moving online. StockRepublic caught up with Wilhelm Sporrong, CEO and founder of Gamifiera, to get his take on cynical KPIs, social trading, and the importance of creating engaging customer experiences.

Wilhelm has had an inspirational and unique career journey. It started at Webhallen, where he was in sales before becoming CEO after a few short years. During his time at Webhallen, the company went from being a small business in a basement to hit turnover of SEK 2 billion.

– At Webhallen we were very early with our omnichannel concept. We showed current stock status both online and in-store, and quickly discovered that customers liked this type of experience. For me, it was important that we were pioneers – that we dared to try multiple ideas and not worry unnecessarily. How could you improve the online customer experience so that visitors came back time and again? That question, along with the satisfaction of finding a concept that works, drove me forward.

After several years of trial and error at Webhallen did Wilhelm and his highly competent colleagues develop a concept that seemed to work better than others. On this journey they highlighted the importance of a good digital customer experience which led them to start Gamifiera.

– During my years in retail I saw what didn’t work. I saw how the desperate pursuit of customers for membership programs and loyalty program spamming often drove customers away rather than attracting new ones. I call it cynical KPIs: being so data-driven that you only cater to the tiny percentage of people who actually click on a link in an email and ignore everyone else who thinks membership programs are just a hassle. Even if you’re a member of all the pharmacy chains, most people still buy everything from Apotea.se, which doesn’t bother with a loyalty program.

Rational drivers versus emotional drivers

To avoid falling into the trap of focusing exclusively on cynical KPIs – and thereby risk alienating potential customers – Gamifiera switched its focus from rational drivers to emotional ones.

– The digital tools that e-commerce uses often focus on customers’ rational drivers: when you ask a customer what they want, they often answer rationally. They want cheaper products, sales, and bigger refunds. By contrast, social media focuses on visitors’ emotional drivers: longing to be part of a context, affirmation, and the willingness to interact and communicate with others. E-commerce rarely succeeds in generating the engagement among visitors that social media does, says Wilhelm and continues:

– It's time to level up the digital customer experience. Today, it’s not enough to just ask a question to find out what the customer wants. You also have to look at their behaviors: what do they spend their time on and why? The answer is often that they engage in social media and that they want a ton of likes. It’s not rational, and what’s more, there’s no money in it. Spending time and money playing CandyCrush is an irrational behavior but a perfect example of an emotional drive. Through our platform, Gamifiera works to create this sort of engagement and uses these emotional drivers to benefit e-commerce.

Focusing on emotional drivers has been a great success:

– The effects following our first launch have been monumental: user-generated content has increased by +2000 percent, and we’ve had 1.5 million completely new customer interactions since the launch. What happens when customers start engaging with your products, on your site and with your other customers? Will anything positive come out of it? For me, this is the beginning of a community which creates customer engagement. This will in turn lead to exclusively positive effects for all visitors – whether they are engaged or not.

In the past, people were afraid to play too much with serious concepts such as trading and finance. Now we see that a playful but functional concept is what drives increased customer engagement.

Wilhelm often returns to how the digital landscape has changed in the wake of technological advances. Now, it’s no longer important to appear serious or buttoned-up. Today, it’s more important to be fun; to package a perfect product in an interesting way, rather than hiding an imperfect product behind a serious facade.

– Perhaps the most apparent example is Klarna; a company that has really advanced from working with user and customer experiences. StockRepublic has really succeeded in this as well. In the past, people were afraid to play too much with serious concepts such as trading and finance. Now we see that a playful but functional concept is what drives increased customer engagement. Social trading is a perfect example of how something that has traditionally been perceived as serious increases in popularity when you also focus on users’ emotional drivers. Trading is ideal in this respect, because there’s already so much engagement around it and there’s huge potential for even more social engagement. I’m convinced that social trading is a successful concept that is set to grow. Just as physical retail has had to adjust to be able to function online, the online experience needs to adapt to remain relevant. It is no longer enough to offer the right products at the right price; the online user experience needs to satisfy emotional drivers to be successful.