Few retailers today have products that are 100% unique, meaning competition is a big factor. Not only can consumers walk down the street to another shop, but just about anything can be purchased online as well.
This puts your business in a bind if it hasn’t perfected the art of setting itself apart from the crowd. Sure, you could slash all of your prices, but what most consumers truly want is a positive customer experience. In fact, most are willing to pay more for this. The good news is that you can deliver much of this fabulous experience through effective online reputation management.
The Customer Experience in Retail
One of the biggest components of customer retention in retail is engagement. Studies show that engaged customers are five times more likely to continue purchasing from the same brand.
The customer experience should be engaging, personalized and positive. If you miss the mark, even your biggest supporters are likely to look elsewhere to fulfill their needs.
Maximizing the Customer Experience through Online Reputation Management
Brand loyalty can be fleeting. It’s something that takes months or years to earn but can be lost in the blink of an eye after a poor experience. This is why businesses need to make the customer experience a priority. How do you do this? Here are four tips:
1. Know your customers.
Consumer behavior has shifted drastically in both expectations and the way that products and services are selected. You may have customer personas for marketing purposes, but when was the last time that you updated that information?
Today’s consumers want free shipping, simple checkout, choices and personalized relationships with brands. Even if you run a brick-and-mortar store, 76% of consumers use multiple channels to shop, meaning they’re also going to jump online before making purchasing choices.
2. Ask them what they want.
You might think you know everything about your customers from the data you’ve collected. However, you’ll learn a lot more about their wants, needs and opinions of your business by asking them directly.
How do you do this? It’s simple. Use a customer experience survey to gather this information and improve your business processes. Which type of survey you use will depend on your goals.
3. Stay visible.
It will be tough to effectively serve your customers if they can’t find you online. Staying visible involves much more than putting up a company website and keeping it current, although this is also essential.
Your business should make claiming and optimizing online directories a priority. This can help you get found in local search as well as in voice search, which is growing in popularity.
4. Be responsive.
If you’re going to build trust with current and potential customers, you’ll need to engage with them more. According to a recent study by Wantedness, 79% of U.S. consumers want brands to show that they “care” about them and their needs.
You can be more responsive by monitoring social media platforms and either starting or joining in the conversation. Also, keep a close watch on your online reviews so that you can respond quickly and appropriately to customer feedback, both good and bad.
As a retailer, you may only get one chance to delight your customers and keep them coming back. Focusing on the customer experience will allow your business to build the brand loyalty you need to ensure long-term success.