When it comes to shopping, today’s consumers are in control, with more choices and more options than ever before. It is no longer enough to offer a good selection of merchandise at an attractive price because customers want “experiences” to go with the products they buy.
The cutthroat competition among retailers to give “everyday low prices” has become an everyday norm. The inventory management revolves around the whole concept of keeping the customers satisfied and in turn, “happy.” The happy customer is the loyal fan and will keep coming back.
Word of “Like”
Technology is impacting our everyday lives from the time we get up to the time we sleep. These technological social tools are not just available to us, as they are available to the retailers as well, from social media to online promotions to business analytics.
Word of mouth is what used to go around a few years back when it came to discuss some brand or a retail store. It used to be a close knit group of friends and family only then. With technology touching every part of our lives now, we trust “likes” and shares on social media sites. Instead of talking one on one with friends about a new product at a particular store, we read the reviews of hundreds of strangers giving their valuable feedback. Companies must now keep up with the technology as 140 characters sent out in a few seconds could ruin their reputation.
Showrooming – A Pain or an Opportunity?
Companies are looking for ways to enhance the customer experience through all mediums, be it in-store or online. Showrooming or window shopping is inevitable, but something that can be avoided. The trick is converting the wandering potential customer into a fan. Showrooming is widespread across the demographic groups. There is even more reason to worry, as according to Gartner, less than 10% of consumers actually buy from the online site of the retailer that they showroomed.
One small miss and the customer is lost. A poor customer experience can deter someone forever. If I buy a product online and it arrives after 10 days, and there is this limited period of returning the product, I may lose interest. Similarly, I am first to boycott a particular retailer if a product I am looking for is missing, out of stock, highly priced or gives me no extra personalized offer. Don’t forget about an inattentive or misbehaving employee who could be another reason for me walking out of the store and never coming back.
Turning Customers into Fans Globally
This not only relates to keeping the customers happy in one part of the world where the retailer already has a huge market share, but also to the geographies where they plan to expand their footprint. The other day, I walked into a UK-based cosmetics store which is newly launched in another part of the world and I was refused a sample even after spending a good amount of money. This was enough to put me off that brand and voice my displeasure on their social media pages. Once a retailer gets a bad reputation, it becomes difficult to overcome. Now with worldwide social engagement, reputations are global. A smart retailer is the one who takes feedback seriously and starts looking for way to create great customer experiences for everyone.
Companies need to not only “Turn Customers into Fans,” but also turn them into influencers. Fans and influencers feel like part of the family, which makes them display their love and loyalty with others.
For more information on turning customers into fans, read our whitepaper.