Be Your Customer's Best Friend and Follow Their Path to Purchase: Part 2
Posted by Shaziya B on Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - 15:57
The evolution of e-commerce is unstoppable. This means that online retailers need to adopt proper big data strategies to ensure their businesses are also growing with the trend.
In the last part to our two-part series, we will explore strategies to provide your customer with an experience, not just a product.
In this day and age, a business competes with several different retailers whom are selling similar products. It’s important to not only provide your customers with fluidity and pain-free payment and address verification, but also with an experience that sets you apart from the rest.
The big question is: how do you go about doing this?
Make it an experience.
An e-commerce retailer’s biggest goal, apart from making a sale, is to keep their customers coming back for more. This won’t happen with poor customer service or shipping errors (after all, what’s online shopping when your products can’t be delivered to the correct address?).
The key to repeat customers is to attach an experience to their purchase. This is much easier to do in-store, because a sales representative is able to spend their time on a client, show them different products and ensure their satisfaction.
Providing the same type of service online is a whole different ball game.
One of my all-time favorites is Henri Bendel, who would offer a concierge service with their products. Shopping is made easier for a customer when they have their own concierge - one who is able to learn their wants and find them what they want.
There are two benefits to this: 1) In the case of Henri Bendel, the retailer sets itself apart from potential competition by offering its customers a specialized perk, and 2) the concierge is able to up-sell to the customer, who could then buy a complimentary product, or even something more expensive, solely due to proper education and being impressed by the offered service.
And if they keep coming back… Well, you know how the story goes.
There’s also Nordstrom, who offers free shipping, even on returns and exchanges. In fact, their return policy is lenient enough to let customers make changes to their purchases years after the initial transaction. Even with the extra cost that Nordstrom is taking on, it’s able to use this perk to their advantage, setting the retailer apart from the others.
With these perks, an online retailer’s clicks should be innumerable. If a customer is spending hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars on an item, it’s important for them to be treated as an individual customer, not just one out of the bunch.
It’s always good to think: Anyone can go to Amazon.com and buy a product, but your customer chose you. How do you stand out from the crowd?
Sell a lifestyle, not just a product.
There used to be a time where a company had to spend thousands of dollars on expensive ad campaigns and endorsements by celebrities. These days, it’s pertinent to promote a lifestyle that’s accessible to all.
When a customer shops for an item, they should be able to see other benefits to that purchase.
For example, they might be purchasing a simple cardigan. When that cardigan is adorned by a model along with a tank top, pair of jeans, a bracelet and a headband, the customer might be able to see different ways that one cardigan can be styled. This may help you, the retailer, succeed in up-selling, but it also helps the customer see more than just one option for this cardigan, making their buying journey that much easier.
Okay, the customer has seen some items they’d want with the cardigan. What now? At some point, those outfits would’ve been impossible to curate to precision; now, with simple “get this look” links, the customer is able to guide themselves through an entire outfit.
This is a win-win for the retailer and the customer. The key to selling a lifestyle is showing the customer items they didn’t know they wanted.
Use social media.
In my opinion, social media is perhaps the easiest, and cheapest, way to promote your products and your customer service. It requires some high-quality photos, fun content and customized hashtags.
A good example is Anthropologie, who uses customer-sourced photos to show other customers how their clothing is worn in real life and in real-time.
Social media channels, such as Instagram and Facebook, help you directly interact with your customers, while they’re able to interact with others who bought similar items. The power of big data in this case lends itself to both upselling and customer satisfaction, creating a fruitful relationship between the customer and the retailer.
The evolution of e-commerce is an ongoing cycle, but it is important for any retailer to stay above the trends. Shopping online began as a way of convenience, but it has now become an experience meant to be compatible with in-store purchases.
To learn more about navigating through the e-commerce customer journey, check out Be Your Customer's Best Friend and Follow Their Path to Purchase: Part 2.