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If you haven’t connected with your customers via mobile yet, you’ve missed out on a huge opportunity.
If you’re not going to connect with your customers via mobile in 2016, they’ll move to a competitor who offers an omnichannel experience and who knows how to interact with them.
In-store interactions won’t be enough in 2016. Customers expect that you’ll follow them with each stage of the sales funnel and help them make educated decisions about their purchases. You need to find out how to extend the in-store experience for your customers following a store visit.
Nowadays, mobile offers retailers access to customers 24/7. You can access your customers while they’re using their devices and even when they’re not. 75% of shoppers are using their mobile devices today with 25% of customers using these devices to make a purchase in store.
This is big news because:
- They might be using their devices to find products like yours.
- They might even browse your store’s inventory before they enter.
- They are using their devices inside your stores to compare prices and products.
- And they’re talking about their customer experience after they leave your stores.
Customers can go through all of the above stages via their mobile devices; this means that the rules of customer experience and engagement have changed:
1. If customers are inside your stores, it’s not an indication they’ll buy there.
2. If customers are near your stores, they might not enter, even if you have a beautiful store window.
3. Customers are now comparing you to competitors more often.
4. And they can publish a positive or a negative review at the click of a button.
This means that your omnichannel strategy must support customers on mobile devices and become omnipresent, accompanying customers both in-store and when they leave.
You need to extend the in-store experience following a store visit and offer customers support and interaction while they’re away. Here are a few suggestions on how to do that.
Monitor brand mentions online and be quick about it
Your customers are talking about your brand online; the tone of these conversations is affected directly by their in-store customer experience as well as their online one.
Responding to brand mentions online is an opportunity to be present when customers are researching, looking for product information, making price comparisons, or sharing recommendations/complaints about their in-store visits on social media.
Today, all of the above can be done via mobile devices, and what can be done via mobile devices can be done at your stores. If your customers think that the customer experience at your stores is lacking, they will open one of their social accounts and share an unflattering comment or even a video with their network.
As difficult as it is, you must deal with dissatisfied customers. The reason they published something online is because they want a response from you, the brand, and they want to get that response as fast as possible.
72% of customers who Tweet a complaint expect an answer within an hour. If you respond quickly, it shows that you care about your customer’s needs and will help you solve the problem as soon as possible.
If you take your time and don’t respond within an hour, they won’t be happy about it (to say the least) and will publish something in response that will display your brand in a negative light.
Manage an effective loyalty program
Loyalty programs are a written consent from customers to contact them whenever you have a relevant promotion to hand out. With an efficient loyalty program, you can stay in touch with your customers and bring them back to your stores.
64% of retailers say their loyalty/rewards program is the best way to connect with consumers.
To make sure that you’re promoting relevant information to your customers, ask them what types of promotions they would be interested in. Don’t just blast them with irrelevant offers.
85% of customers say they’d be more likely to shop in places that offer personalized coupons and exclusive offers in-store. Offer coupons based on their previous purchases and special offers for complementary products.
And if you’d like to make it more interesting, use the following technique to engage customers on a whole new level:
Gamify their customer experience
181% more retailers plan to use gamification within loyalty programs in the next five years.
Gamifying your customer’s experience and especially your loyalty program helps you interact with customers in a way that doesn’t feel intrusive.
The reason is obvious; customers prefer to play, earn points, receive gifts and recognition over messages that are focused on sales. 61% of retailers use points or rewards through the company’s loyalty program as a means of adding value to the customer relationship.
Following up with customers after a purchase
After customers leave your stores, you can invite them back with tailor-made offers. Here are a few ways to do that:
1. Advertising on local search results is a surefire way to provide the right offer to the customer when they’re searching for information online. Also, it’s a good way to attract customers back to your store after they’ve made a purchase there.
2. After purchases, customers may look for details about your products or stores online. Make sure to make it easy for them to discover what they’re looking for by triggering questions they might ask. You can do so organically by using SEO (search engine optimization) techniques.
3. When a customer leaves your store, you can send them an SMS with an offer or a coupon for the next time they’ll make a purchase. SMS is highly effective in giving customers a reason to come back to your store.
4. But the most efficient way by far is to have your app installed on your customer’s mobile device. Through your app, you can communicate with your customers on a whole new level, offering them special offers based on their location, seasonality, and more.
Having customers who are using your app can raise up loyalty program effectiveness to a whole new level and allows you to integrate gamification elements and personalized offerings to all your customers.
These are just some of the ways you can extend the excellent customer service you provide in-store to customers on mobile devices. What are you doing today to engage customers after they leave your stores?
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This article was originally posted to our blog where you can find more posts like this at ICC/Decision Services Blog.