Customer Experience: The Most Important Digital Success Factor
In most commercial fields, consumers have more options now than ever before. They can shop anywhere–in another city, another state, even another country–to get exactly what they want. As a result, consumers are increasingly less willing to compromise on what they want, because they figure they can find something similar at a competitor.
This might not surprise most businesses. But what some professionals might not realize is that the differentiating factors for consumers are changing. Once price and product ruled the day, but now those variables are taking on less prominence as consumers seek out a better customer experience–and businesses are being forced to adapt.
The Declining Value of Price and Product
It wasn’t so long ago that brick-and-mortar shops were terrified of being put out of business by big Internet retailers like Amazon and Wayfair. Those online operations benefited from lower overhead and, as their volume increased, more economical shipping methods. This created pricing advantages that physical operations couldn’t match.
To some degree, those fears have been stifled. Mountains of data tell us that consumers still like to shop in stores and examine products in-hand before they make a purchase. And minor savings often don’t outweigh the attraction of owning an item that day, instead of waiting several days for shipping.
As those pros and cons of physical vs. digital purchasing start to balance themselves out, other factors are becoming more critical to winning over consumers and building a reputation. Increasingly, the top differentiator is the customer experience.
Customers Want an Experience, Not a Service
Shopping isn’t just a necessary habit. For many, shopping is also an experience they want to enjoy. Stores like Wal-Mart, CostCo and other big-box stores may offer unbeatable prices, but their experience offers nothing memorable, either. This works because their goal is to draw in consumers who are primarily concerned with price, availability and diverse purchasing options.
Most businesses can’t compete in this area, though, so their incentives for consumers must be different. This means building a customer experience that shoppers will appreciate and enjoy. Whether it’s improving the checkout process, building a more interactive shopping experience, establishing loyal customer incentives or other features, businesses need to do more than simply offer products at an affordable price.
The good news is that experience development is practical in both the physical store and the digital marketplace.
Keys to Delivering a Strong Digital Experience
With a little brainstorming, businesses should have no shortage of ways they can enhance the
customer experience on their websites or shopping apps. For example, there are basic tasks like building an optimized mobile version of your retail website, simplifying the checkout process and offering rewards points for shopping online.
Even aesthetic qualities such as the ease of navigation, features that offer shopping recommendations, and strong customer relationship management through social network, can all produce a discernable uptick in customer satisfaction. One simple trick to direct this work is to follow the emerging practices of your competitors and other online retailers, and to survey regular customers on what they do and don’t like about their online shopping experience.
Brands can also leverage mobile devices to enhance the physical shopping experience by developing apps with store maps, special mobile coupons and even augmented reality to help the store come alive. When these strategies are deployed, customer satisfaction should increase, and brands will see an increase in revenue performance.
Building a rewarding experience may not be easy, but it can create advantages your competitors will struggle to match. If you’re ready to give your customers a new way to engage your brand, contact DBC Digital today.
Greg Sherwood is CEO of DBC Digital, a marketing agency based in Denver, Colorado. With over 30 years of marketing experience with traditional and inbound (internet) marketing, Greg helps mid-sized businesses get a better return on their marketing dollars.
You can reach Greg at (303) 357-5757 or at firstname.lastname@example.org