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Is Customer Experience Growing in its Importance in Differentiating Brands?

Recently, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) partnered up with BluJay Solutions and Adelante SCM to research supply chain priorities and investments to answer the question: “is customer experience is growing in its importance in differentiating brands?”  You can read the full report here. This study ostensibly adds to their 2018 study that concluded customer experience is actually a driving force behind supply chain innovation. 

The main purpose of the study is to explore what type of methods supply chains can employ to build “long lasting, loyalty-building experiences.”  It is hypothesized that price and product are no longer the primary factors for making business decision rather, it is customer experience. You can read our past blog about the difference between customer expectations and customer experience here. 

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In their study they have found that 61% of survey respondents agree over the next five years, customer experience will overtake price and product as the #1 brand differentiator.

This finding actually brought up an interesting and notable difference between those who agreed and those who didn’t agree with the statement which is—the size of the company and where they are located.  Most large and North American companies disagree that customer experience will become the #1 brand differentiator.  The majority of those who agree with the above statement are smaller companies and companies located in other global regions.  A theory of why this may be is: smaller companies must utilize customer experiences as their competitive edge against larger companies.

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The study also asked survey respondents “What are the top 3 factors driving supply chain innovation at your company today?”  And compared those results to those that were obtained in 2018.  Last year, reducing costs and delivering an enhanced customer experience were tied as top importance at 31%.  This year, enhancing customer experience pulled ahead of reducing costs and creating a competitive advantage increase by almost 14%.

The study concludes with a couple of simple suggestions to keep up with trends that every supply chain can apply to enhance customer experiences.

  1. Have real-time visibility.
  2. Modernize IT systems and break down silos between their systems.
  3. Connect with trading partners electronically rather than relying on phone/fax.
  4. Start viewing data as a valuable asset worthy of investment and better data management

CSCMP’s study goes way further in depth than what was presented here.  Again, you can download and read the full report here. 

Let us know what you think!  Do you think customer experience will eventually supersede price and product as the #1 brand differentiator?

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