Becoming the preference
Once a customer is aware of the brand, marketing efforts should be focused on ensuring the customer chooses to purchase from you, over the potentially several other brands they have also been exposed to. Your competitors are employing customer experience tools too after all. Brand preference is almost directly correlated to brand experience – together, the two have a defining impact on customer’s purchasing choices, hence this stage is often considered the most definitive stage of the customer journey.
It is at this point therefore that it is imperative businesses are aware of the ‘moments of truth’ referred to in the introduction and their impact on defining experience. In a competitive market, the customer won’t hesitate to shift to a competitor offering the same product if the interaction becomes frustrating for any reason. Providing the information and tools the customer needs to seamlessly pass through the path to purchase regardless of interaction, device or location is crucial to ensuring the customer values your service over any other.
Website frustrations lead to lost sales
With a strong SEO campaign in place to drive awareness, a brand’s website is normally the first point of contact. Once at the website the consumer has sight of all the information needed about products, services, locations and so on that can help to shape preference toward the brand. Ensuring SEO is supported by as much consumer-useful information as possible, such as up-to-date details about stores and locations, including being searchable on Google and social channels is the best way to ensure the consumer’s search isn’t disrupted by uncertainty. Coupled with this is making sure the responsiveness of the site’s design and functionality doesn’t divert the customer. A recent Kantar study revealed that 69% of shoppers become frustrated by brand sites that aren’t mobile ready. So much is the case that it leaves a bad impression on the customer who is then unlikely to return to site.
Similarly, localised versions of the website can have a huge impact on a customer’s preference of your brand over another. Companies can use localised sites to foster a greater connection between customers and their local store. These localised sites are a great opportunity for brands to answer consumers’ expectations of practical information such as product inventory, comprehensive description of services, or experts offered at individual locations, geolocation features, all of this in an engaging, brand-consistent, environment. Research has shown that 50% of mobile and 34% of tablet users visit a store within a day of their local search, highlighting just how important both optimised and localised sites are for driving preference and a seamless customer journey.
In our next post, we will discuss the purchase stage – providing tips for marketers on the best way to ensure preference coverts to sales.