Within two weeks of lockdown, Canon Europe pivoted their digital strategy to focus on what consumers needed to manage work-from-home and school-at-home. For the global consumer electronics manufacturer, that product category was printers. Their digital team resurfaced and repurposed their Printer Advisor to fit the needs of consumers at that moment: Are you buying a printer for your home? Will it be used for schoolwork and work documents? The Canon team’s, led by Vishal Patel who serves as the Digital Interactions Specialist, ability to address consumer needs in real-time with agility and understanding was possible because of their early adoption of a customer-centric technology fueled by conversational search technology from Zoovu.
Omnichannel Customer Journey
Canon and Zoovu’s partnership began in 2011 when the brand recognized a significant gap in their omnichannel customer journey: deciding what camera or printer to choose from online was really difficult. Their physical retail partners of all sizes like Currys PC World, Media Markt, or regional consumer electronic businesses, provided the expert advice consumers looked for when looking into investing in products that are often a high-consideration purchase due to cost. As consumer behavior evolved, it became evident Canon needed to implement a solution that would support both their owned channels and retailer partners.
“We knew the majority of research of our products started online, so we had to provide a solution as consumer behavior changed,” Vishal explained. Canon chose Zoovu as the solution to help them guide their customers. The partnership with Zoovu has proven successful over the years in supporting its own ecommerce site and retail partners online and in-store by providing customers numerous options to make a purchase decision.
Once a customer goes through one of Canon’s digital advisors and receives product recommendations on their site, they are given the option to buy online via the Canon store or buy on a retailer site or find a retailer nearby. This enables Canon to support how and where their customers want to shop.
Early adoption fuels growth amid lockdowns
Fast forward 9 years, 5 digital assistants across 56 domains in 28 languages, the Canon EMEA team continues to take cues from consumer behavior changes to improve the effectiveness of their product advisors. As retail stores began closing due to the coronavirus, Canon “evolved and adapted our Zoovu advisors to ask questions based on the demands we saw before everything shutdown” Vishal said. After discussing internally with their Zoovu Customer Success team, Canon tailored their Printer Advisor to assist consumers looking for a printer to use at home and re-launched it under 2 weeks.
“There was a high demand for printers across Europe, it was a quick turnaround to tailor the needs of today’s consumers and increase its visibility,” Vishal noted. Canon strategically embedded the advisor into the home page, and other key pages and they quickly saw engagement increase dramatically.
Usage of the Printer Advisor grew by 29% because they reacted to consumers and increased product selector visibility during the lockdown, so did click-thru rates: 62% of users reached the recommendations page.
Double-Digit Conversion and Revenue Growth on Ecommerce
During the March to August timeframe, Canon experienced a 53% surge in conversion rate and a 14% increase in revenue from their Product Selectors. One thing they weren’t expecting was a surge in purchasing cameras during the summer months in 2020, “people are buying cameras now, they did the research back in March or April, and are returning to make that highly considered purchase decision.”
“A mistake that is easy to make with ecommerce is that you need to be patient with the customer’s research journey. Don’t assume that if you aren’t generating revenue one quarter or that month, the tool should be written off.”
Vishal explained how lockdown has helped his team at Canon be more aware of the customer journey, and that instant gratification isn’t always possible and that’s okay.
The value of Canon’s partnership with Zoovu goes beyond the effectiveness of the solution, “we wouldn’t be nearing 10 years of working with Zoovu if we didn’t find value from the partnership and who we work with, we trust our team to help us make the right decisions and react to changes in the market as necessary.” Susie Donaldson, Marketing Manager, Canon EMEA.
As 2020 progresses, Vishal’s team at Canon will continue to meet the needs of consumers amid the pandemic and take their learnings from the first half of the year to fuel decisions and strategy for the future.