In our last post we focussed on the importance of customer engagement during the customer journey, but there’s more to the customer journey that requires equal attention.
Breaking it down into the different areas…
Awareness: A customer first learns about your brand
Consideration: A customer considers purchasing from you or competitors but is not yet ready to buy
Purchase: The customer purchases
Loyalty: Your customers favour your brand over competitors
Advocacy: Your customers will refer friends and family to you
The very start of the customer journey, where a visitor will come across your brand for the first time; the first interaction.
Whilst at this point, visitors won’t know much about the brand, or the product, so it’s vital at this stage to grab their attention.
Many retailers will look to try and get the sale within the first interaction with the brand, however the visitor will want to know more about you, and so whilst it would be nice to get the sale, we believe it’s better on getting the repeat interaction. So having that seamless interaction we spoke about previously, whether the visitor has come from social media, SEO, PPC, word of mouth, or advertising, if the brands interaction is engaging, you can draw the customer into finding out more once on the site, and if you can get a return visit, or an email sign up, then you are in a great position to start the next stage in the journey…. Consideration
So you’ve successfully got the customer to the site, you may even have their email address. Now is the time to deliver amazing content, content that displays that your brand has the product that they are looking for.
It comes down to nurturing the visitor, they are interested in your brand, your product or services, but they are still unsure.
When it comes to the visitor who has subscribed to your emails, having a welcome programme in place can help enforce your brands values, what differentiates you from your competitors, whilst softly promoting a product or category they may have shown an interest in, or highlighting some of the bestsellers and some top reviewed products. This can engage the customer and encourage them to click through to the site.
For the returning visitor, its great to see they’ve come back to the site, because they are seriously considering your product, you’ve successfully interacted with them during the awareness stage. So for the returning visitor, its important to help with delve further, to make it easy for them to find what they are looking for, to ensure nothing is affecting your site speed (because we know a slow site means you’re more likely to leave). That creative content is crucial here, and if you can personalise the content, even better!
It may have taken a couple of visits, or email campaigns, but now the visitor is ready for the purchase.
Whilst for some making the purchase will be a no brainer, for others, they will want to make sure the purchase is going to be worth it. Your product listing page should be clear, easy to filter, and fast. If you can integrate a quick view, or add to bag button on this page also, it means those who are already happy to go ahead the purchase, don’t have to make the additional click to the product page.
The product page, again needs to have a clear layout, with as much product information as possible, especially around sizing. An image that represents the products colour, fit, and quality is also vital in convincing the visitor to make the purchase.
If you can add the delivery information on the product page too, this means that come to the checkout when they see delivery information, they aren’t put off and abandon, because they will already know the service and costs on offer.
Reviews are also an asset to have. For a visitor who wants to make the purchase but is still a bit apprehensive, a good or bad review could be the difference between trying the product or not.
At this point, if the visitor has been on the page a while, it could be an idea to bring up a “personal shopping experience”. By this we mean, having someone from your customer service department on hand to help the visitor. We’ve worked with luxury brands, and seen countless times how many customers like to query sizing, colours and fit before making the purchase. A lot of the time this has relied on the customer calling or emailing the customer services department, and we’ve seen them go out of their way to measure specific garments in the warehouse, send colour swatches, and describe the fit. Remember that the experience in a bricks and motar store where you can try on the garment and a shopping advisor help you isn’t going to be the same experience as when shopping online, but you can bridge this gap and give a similar experience. If the visitor can speak to an advisor in real time, it may help the visitor make that purchase there and then without having to think about it more, plus it adds the personal touch that can often be lost in e-commerce. Provide good customer service online, with a personal touch and your customer will remember it and come back! Plus likely tell their friends and family.
Once the product has been added to the bag, it’s just a crucial that the process of making the purchase is easy for the visitor! Remember site speed is just as important in the checkout stage. Make it easy for the visitor to understand the steps throughout the process. Many retailers opt for a one page checkout, Amazon is probably one of the easiest checkout processes we can think of, especially for those returning customers with accounts, click of a couple buttons and we’ve made a purchase without having to enter in any info!
Other retailers will opt for a multi stage checkout, which is fine also, just keep it as short as possible, keep the layout clear and concise and ensure there’s no barriers which could lead to checkout abandonment.
It’s also worth adding in a ‘sign up to our newsletter’ button, although remember to state what they would signing up for, and ensure the box isn’t pre ticked (thanks to GDPR!)
Then to make it more simple for next time, offer the visitor to create an account, where they will be able to see purchase history, track orders, update information, and update their preferences.
Its important that the purchase journey is continued to be thought about even after the now customer has left the site. Keep them update to date with their order, with transactional emails. Update them on the product journey. Package the product beautifully, because that will be the customers first impression on receiving their order, and then ask them to review the product after a week.
This brings us nicely onto the next stage…. Loyalty.
A lot of retailers will say ‘we’ve got the conversion, the visitor (now customer) has purchased, we’ve accomplished what we set out to do’. This is the worse kind of attitude your brand could have to your customers. Whether they are new or existing customers, never forget the importance of the purchase they’ve made, but also all the hard work it took to get them to make that purchase.
In the competitive market we have now, customer loyalty should be one of the top areas a retailer looks at.
Loyalty and customer retention walk hand in hand, loyalty for us isn’t just about having loyalty cards that gives the customer some points, or offers throughout the year. It’s about engaging with the customer at all levels. Engaging with them through email marketing, respecting their preferences, personalising their campaigns, and appreciating their interest in the brand, it’s about keeping them informed of perhaps store openings, or events that may be happening.
Even social media, engaging with them, and responding to their comments and interactions in a timely manner.
We aren’t saying though not to have a loyalty card, because for some retailers this works, and is a great way to give a little something back to the customer.
Loyalty is crucial, and loyalty is what could keep the individual customer lifecycle flowing.
With loyalty comes
Our experience with luxury retailers has seen the importance of having those who advocate your brand. We like to call them brand ambassadors. Others will simply call them ‘our best customers’.
These brand ambassadors, are amazing for your business. Never underestimate the importance of them!
They will tell all their family and friends about your brand, they will likely buy gifts for them from your brand, they may post on social about you, blog about you, leave reviews on all their purchases, and they will likely make contact with you with their opinions or what they would like to see.
If you can make your brand ambassadors feel apart of your brand, you’ll have a strong relationship which will draw other people in, and show that you are trustworthy and stand out from your competitors.
Over the years we have successfully seen customers rave about their favourite brands, and we’ve then seen those brands reach out to do blog collaborations, little luxury gifts being sent to them, and general gratitude for their loyalty for loving the clothes and the brand.
Whilst you won’t have every customer shout from the rooftops, still remember that even if a customer makes one purchase, they are important. If you find they don’t engage with you after that initial purchase, look at whether they are on your email marketing list, look at how you can draw them back in, and for those who visit the site regularly and make multiple purchases, keep creating engaging content, offer a personalised touch, and make them want to feel loyal to your brand.
The customer cycle continues and repeats, and every customer will have its individual journey, however it’s important to keep reviewing all of your touch points, your content, your customer service, and your customer to keep up with the competitive market and set you apart from other retailers.
If you would like to hear more about customer engagement and the customer journey – come and talk to the team.