Every business in the world has competition. One crucial way for businesses to differentiate their offerings from their competition is by creating a positive purchasing experience.
When customers have a great experience buying your products, they’re more likely to become return customers, share positive experiences, and tell their friends about your company. This helps to build crucial brand reputation that can create company growth.
So how does someone create a positive experience for the purchasing customer?
Exceptional Customer Service
The first step towards a positive purchasing experience will always be exceptional customer service. At every step in the sales funnel, no matter how formal or informal your company is, the customer needs to feel appreciated and important. The information they need must be readily available. If they can’t find what they need, there should be easy ways to chat or email customer service.
In the modern internet world, customer service looks different than it has before. Even in brick-and-mortar worlds, instead of approaching every customer and proactively offering assistance, many sales personnel find that simply being available is more helpful than direct approaches. Customers are doing a lot more research online before they ever enter a store.
Both when customers are online and when they’re in your store, making sure their experience is individualized is key. At some specialty retailers in the past, certain items were placed at the cash wrap, and cashiers were instructed to point out the items to every single customer. Recommending the new country music CD to someone in the store buying completely unrelated items just annoys the customer.
Instead, stores need to have sales staff who can make unexpected connections. The frustrated parent shopping for sports gear for an older child with a toddler in tow might be interested, for example, in a small size chair that comes with an attached umbrella. By consider the individual, the shopping experience can be personalized, making it stand out from the average day.
Online Shopping Options
More and more customers are choosing to shop online, or to purchase online and then pick up at a local store. In many ways, this is great for companies; they get the sales without needing to do the sales work in the location.
But online customers can have questions the same way instore customers have questions, and no product description can answer every single question. A customer might need to know the interior measurement of something, or find out if a particular location has it in stock, or some other detail. This is where a click to call option can be especially helpful.
More and more customers are browsing and shopping on their mobile devices. Copying and pasting a phone number into a phone app is obnoxious; the technology to simply have a phone call a number is simple and easy for stores to implement. The key is to make sure the phone line is monitored, and that the customer gets good service when their call is answered.
Be Clear About Return Policies
In a perfect world, customers would never need to return anything, but the world isn’t perfect. Customers are more likely to purchase from you if they know the return process is easy and uneventful.
Being able to return at a local store is preferable for many customers, but ultimately, customers want to know what’s going to happen if the item they order doesn’t quite work right for them. Communicate this clearly and accurately.
Offer Reviews From Other Customers
Recommendations from friends and family have always held significant weight with other customers; reviews and social media have just made that more true. On social media, share and reshare reviews that are written by customers; on your website, make it possible for customers to post informative reviews. These will help customers buy with confidence and make their purchasing experience more pleasant.
Say Thank You
Don’t forget to thank your customers for making a purchase. This seems like a simple detail, but it’s all too easy to forget. As soon as your customer’s order is confirmed, include a simple thank you on the page. When you send an email confirmation, say “Thank you for your order.” For bigger orders, consider offering a coupon for the next purchase, or a personalized thank you in the B2B industry.
Businesses often focus on the process of attracting customers and forget to follow through during the purchasing process. If customers have a negative experience while they’re trying to make a purchase, the odds are that they’ll click away and buy from your competition. The best case scenario is that they’ll complete the sale and then never return.
By spending time streamlining and improving the purchasing process, you will create happy repeat customers who will help your business thrive.