We’ve heard it before, more people are making purchases online, and that trend is continuing to grow rapidly. Online shopping means that the way that people interact with your brand is changing. Shopping experiences have become less personal and that can lead to less brand loyalty over time. Because of this, retailers can experience a decline in interactions after the sale. This change, in particular, became very clear to me after spending some time with my grandfather in the hills of southern Indiana.
My grandfather is a community man. He lives in the house that he was born in, eats at the same restaurants, visits the same hardware store, and plays euchre with the same people each week. I recently spent some time with him helping him fix is tractor on a long weekend. We needed a few bolts and other random metals pieces to get things back in shape so we went to the hardware store. This is the same hardware store he has visited since the ’50’s. As soon as we walked in the shop clerk hollered from behind the counter, “Howdy Herb! How’s the new blade on that old lawnmower doin’?”
Right away, two things jumped out at me that this shop clerk was able to capture that online retailers have not.
First, the shop clerk knew my grandfather’s name. There was no generic, “How can I help you today, sir?” just a simple, “Howdy Herb!” He knew his name because he’d met him and seen him in the store many times previously. Because online shopping is increasing, in person interactions are decreasing – but that doesn’t mean a brand can’t still personalize the experiences to the shopper. In fact, I’d argue that through online shopping allows brands to even more intimately understand a shopper’s interaction with your products to allow for even more personalized experiences.
Second, the shop clerk asked my grandfather a question about the blade on the lawnmower. Not only did he remember his name, but he also remembered his most recent purchase and started the conversation with that shared memory. Think this is where many online retailers fail to build a connection with their shoppers. Once someone purchases a product, they can begin to disengage if the retailer doesn’t take the right follow-up approach. At SmarterHQ, we’ve done a lot of research into how visitors’ interests decay over time. Although a recent purchase can reveal they are highly engaged, that doesn’t mean that level of engagement will continue naturally overtime. It’s up to the retailer to facilitate that engagement by delivering a level of service reminiscent of the old days.
And what type of messaging is more relevant than focusing on the products they already have? Here are three ways retailers can bring service back to sales through notifications and offers:
1. Service through Re-Stock Notifications: Your brand sells all natural cosmetics that have an expiration date. Rather than waiting for the shopper to make the decision to come back to your site to purchase, you can re-engage proactively letting them know where they can re-stock on expired products. But you can’t rely solely on reminders – infuse service into their experience by providing tips and tricks on how to best use your product. You can even feature pop stars or youtube celebrities who are wearing your product best.
2. Service through Cross-sells Offers: Your brand sells running gear to marathon runners and hosts marathon events. Using the information from the marathon sign up sheets you’re able to engage visitors during their training. You can sell them consumables (like energy gels) a few weeks before the race, check up on their training progress with tips on how to improve their running time, or with knowledge about racers typical buying behavior, remind them to purchase a new pair of running shoes with enough time to break them in.
3. Service through Up-sell Offers: Your brand sells durable leather goods. Since these are products that many people will hold onto for a long time you’ll want to improve their brand loyalty. By informing them of new products that would complement their current products, or giving them tips on maintenance and upkeep, you can build that loyalty and create promoters.
It’s incredibly simple to create campaigns like this with the right tools. At SmarterHQ, we’ve designed our platform to allow retailers to easily personalize omni-channel marketing experiences. Using machine learning and automation we help you create the experience that you’d like your customers to have. We can do this through more traditional fields like email. Or, by using our onsite technology, we can dynamically change your site to target visitors based on their purchasing or browsing behavior. We can even predict likelihood to purchase and help save margin on visitors who do not need to receive promotions. We’re here to help you complete the conversation. Not just a simple conversation, but a robust and meaningful conversation.