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Use and Re-use: Inspiring Loyalty

June 22, 2016

A purchased service or product is great but businesses aren’t built on one hit wonders. Companies need to ensure repeat business in order to build a stable, sufficient turnover – but how can brands inspire customers to keep them coming back?

Providing a quality product or service and meeting the customers’ needs go a long way to defining whether they remain a customer. Going that extra mile can fortify the relationship between business and buyer and cement a loyalty that translates to revenues.

Keep managing interactions

It’s important to ensure all interactions, as previously described stages in the customer journey, are managed post purchase just as carefully as those in the lead up to the customer purchasing.  Not only will this help in delivering repeat custom, but also has the power to generate recommendations to other potential customers with shoppers keen to share their feedback with others.  Finding ways to maintain the relationship then, while ensuring those interactions are managed is crucial.

In the early stages of the customer journey, marketers will have firmly established who their customer is, created a profile, and will have used this along with data and market research to tailor marketing tactics and SEO to drive awareness.  Having acquired this knowledge, it should be re-employed at this later stage in order to loop the process and continually add value for the shopper through tailored communications.   What’s more, following purchase, marketers are further exposed to a new set of valuable data about customer preferences that can be used to personalise ongoing interactions – such as highlighting similar interest products when they return to the website, or sending bespoke promotions via push marketing, to engender loyalty.

Personalisation encourages loyalty

Personalisation is an important component of a great brand experience – it supports the customer to feel valued, listened to and important.  Personalisations made throughout the journey to ensure interactions are seamless for the consumer and invoke positive emotional triggers, such as localisation of sites, personal offers and appointments – will all support the customer in feeling keen to interact with the brand again.  However, it’s important to remember that each time the customer starts a new journey, the experience needs to remain at the same high standard; otherwise they can be easily tempted away by better offers or services.

Finding ways to provide an entirely friction-less path to purchase, which incorporates all channels and interaction points in a positive and valuable way to the customer is the best way to create a great customer experience, and as indicated in the introduction, is now vital for running a successful and profitable business. Brands that make it easy for customers to interact will always win but this is only truly possible by completely understanding the customer journey. There are many organisations still not paying close attention to the customer journey but with the emergence of disruptive technologies luring consumers away from brick and mortar stores, the key to a good experience is increasingly based on an intentional and integrated end-to-end experience.

Please contact the SoLocal Group UK team if you would like to discuss how your brand can take advantage of implementing valuable marketing operations technologies throughout the customer journey.

Becoming the preference

April 22, 2016

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.

Driving brand awareness

March 22, 2016

An outstanding customer experience is key to impacting business results, and as such every customer touchpoint along the journey to purchase must be foreseen and the action implied for the consumer always relevant and seamless. However, in order to achieve success, the business must first start at the very beginning and analyse its ability to provide a positive experience throughout the customer journey – but specifically at the first stage, ‘awareness’. This is the very first time the consumer comes into contact with your brand and so making sure an acceptable image is being portrayed via the key interaction points – website, social channels, customer service and so on – is crucial, otherwise awareness will quickly turn into the next stage, ‘preference’, but in favour of your competitor.

Businesses should remain consistent and proactive when establishing new ways to attract customers by promoting their brands though the correct and most relevant channels.

Stand out from the crowd

With copious brands competing for consumer attention on desktops, smartphones and tablets, delivering content which stands out from the crowd is vital to the success of awareness strategies. 65% of shoppers begin on mobiles devices, 61% continue on desktops and 4% continue on tablets according to Google. As such, multiple channels from traditional desktop to mobile access should be at the forefront of consideration when forming a marketing strategy.  Ultimately, the brand needs to be everywhere the consumer is if it is to stand the best chance of being seen.

 Using data to intelligently target

Push marketing can be seen as invasive to customers, but the rise in use of data, either from browsing or market research, means marketers can work smarter to tailor push messages, providing value which will drive sales rather than inhibit them. Armed with insights such as customer product preferences, push marketing allows the brand to emphasise these, or similar products in order to attract consumers into the brand.  To further entice the customer, the brand may offer the product at a discounted rate, or other incentives related to that product to increase awareness.

Data driven advertising is another way of utilising knowledge about customer preferences to drive sales as this can be used to intelligently offer customers what they want.

 Online visibility is key

Employing good SEO tactics is perhaps the most meaningful way to drive awareness of a brand amongst customers.  In this digital age businesses are hyper aware of the importance of a consumer-friendly website, that’s the basics.  Optimising that website to provide tools that enhance the experience is now common best practice. What’s more, 81% of consumers research products online before buying instore. By using localised SEO tactics to attract shoppers, businesses have the potential to then drive them into stores via online tools such as ‘store locators’ and ‘product finders’. Tools such as these are invaluable when facilitating a seamless customer experience, as they enable the customer to pass easily from point to point without interruption.  One brand who employed this tactic is leading luxury watch manufacturer Tag Heuer, who using SoLocal’s BRIDGE solution drastically increased traffic to its bricks and mortar stores by improving their visibility.  We deployed our web-to-store solution initially 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.

In the next post, we will cover ways in which brands can drive preference for their product or service over competitors.