Influencing the decision to purchaseMay 23, 2016
Having decided on a preference for one brand, product or service over another, the customer will then look to purchase – the third stage of the customer journey. However, even at this stage ‘moments of truth’ still exist and much can go wrong if the interaction is not managed correctly.
Brands should ensure the path to purchase is as easy as possible, providing a suitable amount of information on products or services, and an easy to navigate system are crucial as busy customers can easily look for alternatives if a service isn’t meeting their expectations. Using browsing data can help brands to understand how consumers use the site to make improvements and even, which products or services users are most interested in. Sending incentives to encourage customers to purchase, such as discount vouchers or offers on the products they like is a tool that can be easily integrated into sites and are excellent tactics for converting sales or driving footfall into store to complete a purchase.
Reasons for abandonment
Despite seemingly having made the decision to purchase an item, research suggests roughly 70% of online shoppers abandon items in their baskets – and for many reasons. One report has indicated that a lack of transparency on total cost is the number one reason for abandonment, with consumers discovering shipping rates to be higher than expected. Having the option of free shipping for first time buyers might be a consideration for brands, or alternatively, offering product and store locator features on the site will allow the consumer to instead go into store to pick up the item for free. In fact, increasingly most consumers now expect this to be an available option when it comes to selecting the method of obtaining their purchase. Such is the case; John Lewis announced early in 2015 that volumes of ‘click and collect’ sales had over taken home delivery for the first time.
Payment methods not communicated upfront was also sighted in the same research as being a hindrance, with consumers often not wanting to or having time to create an account in order to make a purchase. Being able to offer a guest checkout option or the ability to register via an existing online account (such as Facebook or PayPal) in this instance is advantageous. Ultimately, providing ‘options’ when it comes to the purchase stage, which suit the customer, is the best way to ensure the conversion from preference to purchase.
Tools to drive sales
Online appointment booking is a useful tool for encouraging customers ‘over the line’. Easy and hassle free, in-store consultations with a knowledgeable staff member will not only help to build a personal connection, but will drive footfall to a physical store and encourage purchase. Real time online booking that is available 24/7 can provide a convenient option for customers keen to buy your products/services without being merely limited to open hours.
In our final post we will examine how implementing the tactics we’ve discussed throughout can help to drive loyalty from customers.
How to use personal shopping to drive footfall to your stores and provide an exceptional customer experienceNovember 18, 2014
Whilst personal shopping was once traditionally reserved for high-end, designer outlets, it has proven to be such an effective tool for brands that an increasing number have now introduced the service. As well as driving footfall to bricks-and-mortar stores, personal shopping services help to increase order value, drive customer conversion, build a stronger relationship between customer and brand and boost brand loyalty – with so many advantages, it’s not surprising to hear that many brands even offer personal shopping to their customers for free.
Exciting high street examples Leading contemporary fashion retailer Oasis, for example, has just launched a free personal shopping service called ‘My Personal Stylist,’ which is designed to guide a potential customer from initial research (most likely online) to purchasing products in store. Easy and fun to use, the service not only lets customers book an appointment with a stylist at a time that suits them, those using ‘My Personal Stylist’ can choose the occasion which best suits their needs, including everything from bridesmaid outfits to holiday wear. What’s more, customers are even able to see a profile for each stylist to ensure they can choose their favourite, and helping to build a personal connection between customer and brand.
Using a personal shopper is also becoming increasingly popular in the menswear sector as well; start-ups like Trunk Club in the US and Chictypes in France have even built their entire business model on this trend! These innovative stores are best described as personal shopping websites, as they offer the service of a personal stylist exclusively online. Both work by finding out details about a customer’s personal style, specially selecting items suited to their taste and delivering everything to their door for them to try on at home, making it easy and convenient for the customer to find clothes that suit them.
American jeans brand Bonobos has also adopted a personal shopping service; however they wanted to ensure that they maintained a face-to-face relationship with their clientele. They therefore offer in-store appointments in one of ten ‘guideshops,’ where customers schedule a 1 hour appointment with a knowledgeable stylist. Any items the customer buys during the appointment will then be delivered to a location of their choice, allowing the shopper to leave the store with their hands free. By putting the customer’s needs at the heart of their services, all of these brands are able to boost loyalty and customer engagement, ultimately increasing their ROI.
The importance of real-time booking Whilst the benefits of personal shopping for both brands and customers are clear, to ensure the service is as successful as possible it must be incorporated seamlessly into the customer journey. A number of brands, for example, offer personal shopping but only allow customers to arrange an appointment on the phone, or using an online booking form. From a customer perspective this is inconvenient, as this approach requires a number of interactions to find a time slot which suits both brand and customer. In addition, the brand is likely to only engage with the customer during working hours, which may not suit the customer’s schedule.Fortunately, however, dynamic real-time online booking solutions, such as offered by Solocal Group UK, are now available, and can generate fantastic results and maximise booking opportunity in any sector. By implementing a real-time booking system for personal shopping appointments, brands are able to dramatically reduce the time staff spend on the booking process, meaning that they have more time to dedicate to sales. In addition, real-time online booking solutions can send automated reminders, allowing brands to reduce no-shows by up to 80%, and is fully customisable with the brand’s image.
For the customer, real-time booking services offer a drastically improved experience. With 40% of appointments being booked outside of opening hours, the solution enables them to book their meeting at a time that suits them, without restricting them to business hours. Solocal Group’s service is available on any device, and with 40% of bookings being made on mobile, this exceptionally important for the customers’ convenience. Quick and easy to use, real-time booking solution can also send email confirmation and text reminders to ensure the customer has stylist appointment details in writing, making it easy for them to access all the necessary details.
Advantages for both customers and brands Personal styling services undoubtedly help create a great shopping experience for the customer. By giving customers the added value of a styling package, they’re able to find clothes personally tailored to their tastes, encouraging them to engage with the brand to make use of the service. Once in store, customers can foster a personal connection with their stylist and subsequently the brand. By allowing the customer to book styling appointments in real –time, the process is incredibly easy for them, and can be done from the comfort of their sofa, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
After deploying a personal shopping service, brands can expect increased footfall to their stores, increased order value as stylists will be able to upsell items, improved customer loyalty and retention and greater connections with customers. Through allowing customers to book appointments online and in real-time, personal shopping services are integrated seamlessly into the customer journey, improving the customer experience whilst also reducing no shows. Offering a personal shopping service really makes brands stand out from their competitors, and builds a strong, personal connection with their target market. As more and more leading retailers are implementing the solution, it looks set to change the high street and permanently improve the customer experience.
Re-thinking the shoppers’ journey: how luxury and fashion brands can increase foot trafficNovember 18, 2014
Today, most of us go online to research products before we go in-store – especially when buying high end goods. As a result, brands and retailers need to ensure that they provide consumers with all the relevant information they need to make their purchase decision both online and offline. Luxury and fashion brands in particular are trying hard and invest a lot of resources in communicating and leveraging awareness about products, new collections and trends.
However, when it comes to providing localised information the challenge increases twofold as each location is unique and has a specific target market. Brands need to think about how they want to connect and establish a relationship with local consumers in order to give them the experience that they want and expect. What is clear is that shoppers are looking for relevant local information and the ability to connect with the brand anywhere, anytime and on the go. When paying a premium price, customers expect to experience something more; it’s not only about having a product, but how the product and brand makes them feel from the very beginning of their shopping journey.
TAG HEUER: Giving visibility to local bricks-and-mortar outlets
From the onset of our work with luxury watch maker TAG Heuer, we focused on one aspect: increasing the local stores’ visibility online. We deployed our web-to-store solution initially in France to assess the traffic and interest of online users. The results showed that traffic to bricks-and-mortar stores increased significantly as a result of the web-to-store solution because consumers wanted to quickly and easily find the nearest retailers. Additionally, Tag Heuer regularly updates the local store pages by adding incentives to i interact with customers. Tag Heuer has realised the added value that the web-to-store solution locator brings, and as a result has decided to deploy the solution worldwide. Savvy retailers know that it not always about the channel, but about the customer experience, as they are able to switch between online and offline shopping; what is ultimately important is that brands give customers all the tools they need have a pleasant and smooth shopping journey. If you want know more on how TAG Heuer is using the solution visit Paris St Germain store page
Masterclassing – How can Fashion and Luxury brands use digital tools to drive footfall?October 30, 2014
Whilst the majority of purchases today are still made in-store, buying decisions are increasingly impacted by the online and multichannel presence of the retailer or brand. The main question is, how can fashion and luxury brands best optimise their overall presence across multiple channels, from online to mobile, to drive traffic in-store? Recent market insights have shown that many brands still do not provide an optimised consumer experience. Industry trends like ‘Research Online Purchase Offline’, ‘click and mortar’ or ‘bricks and clicks’ widen the field of possibilities for the customer, who can be easily lost. A number of brands are keen to reach new customers, but often do not take the necessary steps to improve and perfect the entire customer journey. Convince to convert Research has shown that 83% of purchases are made in-store with 88% of customers researching the product or service online beforehand. In other words, around 70% of the purchases can be put in the “Research Online Purchase Offline” category. It should therefore be crucial for brands and retailers to make sure that the customer journey from initial online research to offline purchase is optimised in the best possible way.