Customer experience has changed more in the last few years thanks to e-commerce than ever before. With personalisation, chatbots and social media interaction, customers and retailers have never been closer. We sat down with Sven Lindell, CMO at Appliances Online, to discuss building 1:1 relationship with consumers.
Customers are more connected to online retail than ever as a result of the pandemic. As such, there is no better time for retailers to reevaluate the processes of connecting with consumers and building relationships.
“You only really build 1:1 relationships through service offering and through your product,” Lindell explained. “I feel that sometimes these days, retailers will only focus on one or the other, so it’s about asking yourself ‘what touchpoints do your products and services have with consumers’, and how do you provide that personal touch in those touchpoints?”
To help build practical customer experience, there are critical touchpoints that must be addressed for retailers. “Sometimes people will have a beautiful experience when they interact with a product,” he explained. “But then, ultimately, you can’t have that without the great service offering that that needs to go with it.”
While the fantastic experience of a product is essential for a sustainable business, if there is a problem with the item down the line, having an excellent service alongside it will help meet brand expectations.
“We sometimes focus on the idea that ‘product is king’, and it is, but if you don’t have a service as a ‘queen’, and if you don’t have them working together, you’re bound to let your customers down,” Lindell said.
It’s not just about hearing the customer’s needs; it’s about listening to what they want from the retailer. Using platforms such as Instagram and Facebook allow consumers to share their experiences with the retailer – it’s a great and cost-effective way to simplify the process.
As an example from the beauty industry, Mecca introduced its virtual makeup lessons and masterclasses via FaceTime. This innovative idea recognises the need to fill the gap between in-store experiences and an online offering. “With a little help from technology – and the extensive knowledge of our store hosts and specialists – our customers can now enjoy the complete MECCA experience from the comfort of their own home,” the statement read from Mecca.
According to the Spotlight Series: Sustainability, Power Retail dissected consumer reaction to the social change. When it comes to sustainability and transparency between the consumer and retailer, establishing secure communication and managing expectations is crucial in this current environment.
Of those shoppers surveyed, 48 percent said they were ‘very aware’ of the environmental impact of plastic in the ocean. Moreover, 57 percent of consumers expect sustainable practices from retailers and are willing to pay for it, whereas 29 percent of consumers expect it but will not pay for these practices.
To build great 1:1 relationships, the retailer must ensure they have an equal service and product offering side by side.
“Think about the touchpoints when a delivery driver turns up and takes away the garbage after they’ve unpacked a TV and set it up in their living room,” Lindell explained. “The smiles that it brings to the customer’s face rather than just dumping a product on their doorstep and walking away is critical.”
Amongst the concerns from COVID-19 and isolation, there’s never been a better time to reconnect with the customer and ensure that they feel listened to and respected.
It’s no longer about offering a great product alone; a retailer that goes above and beyond to deliver an equally impressive service will be the ones that lead the way to a brighter e-commerce future.
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