How you manage the change to a new eCommerce or eCircular shopper experience is probably one of the most crucial parts of the switch.

One of the most frequently asked questions we get when talking to grocers is: “How can we make this change successfully?”. The answer we give is always the same: “Communication, early and often”.

Getting your current shoppers and employees up to speed, on board, and excited about the change is one of the most important ways you can ensure its success. It will also serve as the perfect foundation for a culture shift to one that supports the ongoing iteration and evolution of your digital shopper experience, which as we all know, is critical.

To help you, we’ve outlined three best practices for successful change management:

  1. Plan, plan, plan

a) The very first thing you will need to do is clearly identify everyone who will be affected by the change — both internally (your employees) and externally (your current shoppers) — and assess thelevel of impact the change will have on those peop

Internally, will you be changing anyone’s role? Will you be creating any new roles?

Externally, is this a completely new platform that you will have to educate your shoppers on from scratch? Or are you simply launching some new features?

b) Once you’ve pinpointed stakeholders and level of impact, you’ll need to come up with a plan for how you’re going to communicate the change to those people.

Internally, that could include kick-off presentations, town halls, memos, or employee marketing campaigns. People might be nervous that their job is going to change, or that they might lose their jobs entirely, so the tone needs to be reassuring and safe, encouraging open dialogue.

Externally, your communications will also need to have a certain amount of sensitivity to them. Your shoppers are likely used to your existing experience and many initially won’t want it to change. Explain why you’re making the change and how new features will benefit their shopping experience, and entice them with free trials, special offers, and more.

c) Making a plan for training is the third and crucial step to getting your internal stakeholders on board. Training is very important, and not doing it properly is the number one reason new technologies fail. By making a plan ahead of time — e.g. coordinating with your solutions provider to get all dev environments up and running for tests and practice, booking training rooms, preparing proper reference materials — you’ll ensure a smooth and solid transition.

2. Create buzz!

It’s really important to get everyone, internal and external, excited for the change. You can and should start to communicate the change to your shoppers ahead of the actual launch.

Your personal shoppers or pickers, and your store managers, are your employees that are the closest to your shoppers. Train them first, get them excited, and use them as your change agents. As they interface with shoppers every day they will naturally start to get them excited about it too. For example, if a shopper complains about a current feature, they can talk about the new system and how that feature is changing.

This will naturally create buzz both internally and externally.

One of our retailers had their personal shoppers make phone calls to their guests a week before launch and answer questions, which was incredibly well received. They also sent out multiple emails leading up to the launch, ensuring the tone didn’t feel like a regular “advertising” email they might get.

Further buzz and excitement around the change can be done through a variety of creative tactics appropriate to your market (e.g. digital campaigns, email marketing, in store promotions, etc).

To learn more ways to create change agents internally, read our blog post about how to turn your employees into evangelists when you launch a new eCommerce platform.

3. Listen, Measure & Optimize

Regardless of the new technology you are launching, there is often a short dip in proficiency while your shoppers are learning the tool.

Having hard metrics on user behavior is the best way to monitor it’s performance and tweak your features, communication and/or training accordingly.

For example, measure the amount of time people spend on your eCommerce website, and benchmark that time against time spent on the old platform. Your goal is to make things easier, better and faster, so if they are spending longer on it you’ll want to look into why.

You can also hold shopper focus groups to elicit feedback and identify pain points in the platform, which will help you to make the right changes early on, and ultimately build a better digital experience.

CONCLUSION:

In summary, the right communication to the right people at the right time is key to the success of launching a new shopper experience. Make sure to plan ahead and get your most important people — your shoppers who already love you, your personal shoppers who will become your influencers and change agents — feeling confident and excited about the change to come. From there, they will spread the positive buzz and help make the launch as smooth as possible.

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