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July 2018

View all on this date written articles further down below.

OMNICHANNEL RETAIL INDEX 2017 REVIEW: PART 3 – CUSTOMER SERVICE AND LOYALTY

With the costs often involved in gaining a new customer, it has become increasingly important to online businesses to ensure that retention is front and centre. After all, it costs more to get a new customer than it does to retain one.

Email Marketing Still Has Prime Place
It might surprise you to learn that email marketing is still considered by top global retailers as a key tactic. With the undisputed rise in numbers of people who read their emails from their mobile devices, the optimisation of emails for mobile has been successfully adopted by 98% of brands and retailers in the Index.

In order to attain success with email marketing, it is of paramount importance to make sure email addresses are collected at each and every possible point in the consumer buying process. The core opportunities to grow this list are below:

  • Email Sign-Up in the Site Header
  • Sign-Up Pop-Up Banner
  • Incentive Online to Sign-Up
  • Email Sign-Up in the Site Footer
  • Email Sign-Up instore
  • Email Store Receipts
  • Instore Incentive for Email Sign-Up

Enhancing the Customer Experience
When you collect data about your customers, you can use this to enhance the personalisation of the experience they get when visiting your online store. Smart Retailers are capturing specific information such as sizing, style, and colour preferences which allows them to serve-up personalised communications to their customers while driving sales and engagements.

Loyalty Programs Lacking
The importance of a proving a seamless customer loyalty experience should not be underestimated. One of the areas that many retailers are currently falling short on at present is exactly this. Whether on the web, mobile or instore, loyalty programs need to be highlighted and customers should be either reminded or prompted of the benefits of the program. Simply asking “do you want to sign up?” without an explanation, isn’t sufficient.

67% of businesses within the index offer an online loyalty program. However, only 30% of these retailers of an incentive for customers to sign-up. If a company is taking the time and making the investment into any type of loyalty program, these efforts need to be driven across all channels in order to raise awareness, drive sign-ups, and encourage participation.

An intuitive way to do this, and to enhance the online presence of a business, is to reward customers for sharing their opinions or experiences of your products via social media.

Customer Service and Support
Almost 80% of customers agree that a poor customer experience would result in them ceasing to do business with a retailer and seeking out alternative options. In fact, 70% indicate they are prepared to pay more to a company with a better customer service rating.

Customers expect to be able to choose how they can contact you. Simply having an email is no longer acceptable and may result in lost sales, and unhappy customers. The below channels are accepted as the most important to offer to clients.

  • Live Chat
  • Social Media
  • Email
  • Secure Message
  • Phone

By offering multiple communication channels, customers feel reassured that should something go wrong, they can contact you easily to resolve matters. While 90% of retailers offer at least two methods of communication. However, only 1/3rd of these businesses make their contact details clearly visible in a site header.

Key opportunities that have been missed by many are the inclusion of contact details on product pages, checkout pages, and within pop-up banners

Live Chat is the most sought-after feature and shoppers agree that being able to get an instant response to their question elevates their customer experience and helps them to make a purchase quicker. Chat Bots are the latest innovation and harness the power of AI to deliver automated and intelligent responses to frequently asked questions by consumers.

In the dynamic world of eCommerce, IT capability can outstrip a retailers’ ability to maximise the effectiveness of the tools they own or are about to select. Playhouse commercialises the eCommerce proposition for its clients and manages their digital journey in four key areas – Strategy, Design, Mentoring, and Implementation.

Automation is your extra team member

There isn’t a business going that wouldn’t benefit from a resource that works 24/7, who constantly kicks goals and ensures consistency of performance. In the real world (until robots take over) this isn’t an option.

That being said, Magento, Drupal and Salesforce Marketing Cloud (to name a few) all provide the end user with a variety of tools to create “set and forget” campaigns, marketing updates, and product changes, which is as close as you can come to a 24/7 worker.

Critical to benefitting from these platforms, is having a solid digital strategy in place which allows you to leverage the tech and free up resource to concentrate on other areas.
As retailers, we all understand our strengths and weaknesses, we know what works and what can be improved. Documenting the above is an important step to improving the day-to-day and can unlock further opportunities. Focusing on weaknesses alone, can miss situations where a business strength can be further enhanced.

One of our favourite examples of automation, can be found in Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s Journey Builder. Creating onboarding email journeys for customers, that aren’t reliant on anything other the initial setup, can be have a big impact on retention and customer satisfaction.

The strategy here is to serve the customer information that is relevant to them and at a time where they are most engaged. Trying to run an email campaign live, without the benefits of automation, isn’t going to offer the same level of success.

Another example of automation that should be considered by all retailers, is abandoned carts. More than 65% of shopping carts get abandoned. In 2015 alone, the estimated overall value of those abandoned sales totalled $5 trillion. By having the correct strategy, and technical implementation, retailers can start to close the gap and reduce the financial impact.

We’ve touched on the importance of automation previously when discussing the last mile and integration and having a small team shouldn’t be a hindrance. Adopting automation where possible will provide the following benefits –

  • Increase productivity
  • Improve your Customer Services provision
  • Reduce time wasting
  • Deliver a controlled message to your audience
  • Maximise your revenue potential
  • Help you to scale and ultimately grow your business

If you’re struggling to constantly produce quality work against the clock, reach out and let’s discuss how we can get your technology working harder for you.

In the dynamic world of eCommerce, IT capability can outstrip a retailers’ ability to maximize the effectiveness of the tools they own or are about to select. Playhouse commercializes the eCommerce proposition for its clients and manages their digital journey in four key areas – Strategy, Design, Mentoring, and Implementation.