How can retailers ensure consumers receive the same personal customer experience online, as they would receive in-store?
*This article was first published in A1 Retail Magazine, March 2021.
To begin, write down all the great things a shopper can take advantage of when in-store, and compare them against the equivalent online experience. This should help to identify where there may be opportunities to improve your virtual marketplace.
It’s important too, to clearly define your brand identity and tone of voice. Sharing a style guide – which highlights company vocabulary and language – with in-store and digital teams is key to ensuring a consistent customer experience.
Take time to check out your competition too. Reading reviews of similar products on other sites can help you to turn rivals’ feedback into a reason for someone to purchase from you. Similarly, ask your in-store teams to flag all customer queries, or things that strike a chord with shoppers, and make sure any responses are visible to everyone that visits – be it in-person or digitally.
Make it simple for online customers to access key information – such as returns policies or delivery and cut-off times – rather than having to hunt around in the FAQs. Including it as standard on each product page will help to build customer confidence.
Inspiring visuals matter too, so ensure you have photographs of your products being used, to enable shoppers to see them in context – without needing to get a tape measure out.
If your physical shop assistants are being replaced by digital chatbots, make sure they are concise and chatty – but not obstructive. Cut the small talk and get down to inspiring and supporting your customer. Replacing ‘how can I help you?’ with ‘have you seen our new…’ is a great place to start.
Finally, it’s vital to think of your online store as a medium for a customer journey – not simply a filing system for information. Paying as much attention to the experience as you would your bricks and mortar touchpoints is central to digital success.