"The Information Age was Fun, Now It's the Age of Customer Experience"
By Collin Martz
Remember the late 90’s?
The time of Y2K panic, when computers were still confusing and scary, the World Wide Web was still powering through its troubled adolescence, and you couldn’t reach someone by landline if they were playing Oregon Trail on the internet. Archaeologists digging up our old hard drives will call this the birth of the Information Age.
We’ve come a long way from those days of typing commands into DOS. The Information Age has jump-started globalization, making massive amounts of information available across the globe. For instance, if you happen to look at your coffee cup and wonder how they created biodegradable plastic, you can Google it. In 10 minutes, you can be an expert on environmentally friendly single-use products.
The new and improved world wide web also created a platform for convenience-centric shopping. Need a new comforter for your bed? Order it online. Need groceries but don’t have time to shop on the way home from work? Order them online. The amount of information and services available online has molded and shaped a new kind of informed, picky customer, and sparked what the industry is calling Digital Transformation.
Brick and mortar retail is on the decline due to the options available to customers through online platforms, which means retail (both physical and online) must find new ways to compete through customer attraction and experience. Ladies and gents, we have entered the Age of the Customer. What do customers want? A convenient, painless retail experience. To form a plan of attack, you must first understand the three stages of the shopping experience: before they shop, when they are shopping, and after they shop.
There are certain ways you can reach your customers within each of these stages. Understanding how to meet them where they are and provide them with what they need will ensure retailer success.
The Pre-shop stage, or Awareness stage, begins when a customer begins online research about a product they want to purchase. To win that sale, your product content must start performing the minute they hit enter on that search bar. As more retailers embrace digital transformation and hone their online presence and offerings, competition becomes steeper. Investing your product content and online brand will help you win and keep the attention of established/potential customers.
Also known as the Consideration stage, this stage is especially powerful, as it can occur in a brick and mortar store or in your online ecommerce platform. It’s a no-brainer that product content is important when selling products online, but how your product content is presented online can have just as strong an effect when shoppers buy in-store. 82% of shoppers consult their phone on purchases while shopping in the store.
Often times, this leads to the customer choosing a different brand than intended. 51% of times, in fact. [link] That means that you are missing out on half of the sales you could be making due to incorrect product content or poor mobile functionality.
The Shop stage can be leveraged to take back those lost sales if you enable your product content to be as correct, attractive, and mobile-friendly as possible.
If your customers had a good shopping experience, they’ll probably tell you. If they had a bad shopping experience, they’ll definitely tell you. Unfortunately, the bad experiences are more often posted publicly. Leveraging user-generated content can provide your brand with the kind of credibility only a third-party can provide, create lasting customer loyalty, and encourage others to shop your brand. So, encourage user-generated content, and reply when it's given.
Retailers, don’t panic. While this shift has had a great impact on the retail industry so far in 2017 and that impact will only grow as more customers turn to the web to shop, there is still time to understand how to reach your customers and impress them with your product content and CX.
To learn more about how to win with product content in the age of the customer, read the Edgenet Product Content Playbook.