Traditional High Street brands face stiff competition from internet brands. But whether we’re shopping at 2am in our bedroom or 2pm on the high street, if we suffer a poor experience we will turn to competitors who make us feel valued.
The great thing about the internet is it levels the playing field, where big brands must compete with smaller competitors.
If your customers can’t find the products they wish to purchase on your site, or it’s not mobile friendly, e-commerce systems fail, the pages load too slowly, or the experience is dated compared to your competitors, then revenues will fall.
The retail industry has been at the forefront of driving customer loyalty in the digital world. We asked leading retail experts Kate Ancketill, Cate Trotter and Holly Tucker for their top strategies to help brands build customer loyalty in the digital world.
Remove Pain-Points to Increase Conversions
With an impressive track record providing intelligence, strategy and analysis advice for some of the world’s biggest brands and retailers, Kate Ancketill is perfectly placed to advise us where innovations lie.
We kick off our discussion with by delving straight into why brands should focus on removing customer pain points to avoid losing customers.
” A staggering percentage of online baskets are abandoned; removing pain-points is the first step in increasing conversion and encouraging loyal shoppers to return.”
Kate then follows-up by describing some of the innovations brands have started to use which have helped to reduce customers abandoning their shopping baskets.
We looked at an example from Domino’s Pizza, who sought to connect the online experience with the real world by creating a network of 150,000 virtual locations across the USA. By recognising customers want to share their favourite pizza when their enjoying the great outdoors, the Hotspots as their known enable Dominos to deliver in parks, sports fields and even beaches!
Moving onto the home, it’s hard for customers to be confident your online furniture purchase will fit in with the décor, let alone make it through the door in one piece when browsing the internet! But, with augmented reality, Ikea’s Place app has helped customers banish those doubts.
What’s interesting, as Kate showed us, is how brands are starting to follow in Ikea’s steps to solve key issues which negatively affect the customer experience.
One such brand is Ebay, who’s AR feature within its app lets you know the exact size box you need to place your item in before its dispatched. Gone are the days of worrying if your item will fit in your old shoe box.
Kate neatly summarises our chat by explaining;
” The end game for loyalty is always going to be building a single customer view through the the application of machine learning on large data sets. Only then can retailers truly understand their customer, solve their problems and become their go-to brand of choice. “
Great Experiences Build Loyalty – Not Discounts
Discounts work well to entice customers, but if the queue is too long, the products are sold out or the online experience is slow and cumbersome, then we’ll pay full price elsewhere for a better service.
Cate Trotter, the founder of Insider Trends, helps businesses create seamless and profitable digital customer experiences. Our conversation segmented the two basic types of great experiences – one which is straightforward and fast, and the other which immerses and entertains the customer. What both have in common is how digital is key to a successful execution.
As Cate went on to say, sophisticated and respectful use of data can help take customers to the things they want and need faster.
We touched on the ability for apps to let customers try on products virtually by using accurate body measurements, not only saving you a trip to the store but also to the post office to return the ill-fitting garment you fell in love with.
What’s more, digital isn’t confined to AR. Simple modifications can be made to existing channels to link them together better and create something that is greater than the sum of their parts.
This includes integrating social media into the experience. By opening the dialogue and asking what customers want via Twitter, brands can begin to engage us on a deeper level. Or Nike’s integrated campaign, which drops exclusive products to a specific GPS location, where upon a marketing touchpoint needs to be scanned, drives engagement across the digital and physical experience.
” I’m hugely excited about how digital will continue to transform retail and customer loyalty – we’re still at the beginning.”
Build an Immersive Brand Across Multiple Touchpoints
Holly Tucker is best known as the co-founder of notonthehighstreet.com. But, with many strings to her bow – mother, MBE, founder of Holly & Co and UK Ambassador to Small Creative Businesses, we had a wonderful chance to share creative ideas which help small businesses compete with the top table.
Firstly, we began with the importance of developing an authentic digital voice which enables brands to share their unique story. Customers are increasingly paying attention to what they are buying and from whom, so by building an emotional narrative the customer begins an emotional connection.
This discussion moved us onto analysing how the digital world is an intensely competitive space making it hard for brands to breakthrough. Holly’s experience with small businesses led her to re-enforce the message why it’s crucial brands are truly authentic, to excel in a specific area and talk openly about who they are, why they love what they do, their skill and really lead the consumer to connect with them emotionally.
To do this, brands need a fully immersive experience. We touched on this above with Cate’s Nike example, and Holly was keen to push home the need for brands to build rapport with customers across the engagement spectrum.
” I believe the most successful businesses of the future will be those who have built immersive brands. So alongside an authentic digital voice, businesses should be placing an equal emphasis on physical spaces, events and real connection with their customers.”
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