It takes a strong commerce game to attract, engage, and entice shoppers to keep coming back. Customers can be fickle creatures, ready to move to a different retailer or branded manufacturer for any reason. One negative customer experience can really hurt a retailer and studies have shown that to make up for one unresolved negative experience, it takes 12 positive experiences.1
Of course, that is true only if the customer gives the retailer the opportunity to provide those positive experiences in the future. Providing a smooth, hassle-free experience will keep customers excited and happy with your brand. Below are three ways to provide hassle free shopping experiences, and it starts as the customer begins to interact with your brand.
No. 1: Optimized Digital
Digital has become an increasingly popular mode to engage with brands. According to Pew Research Center, “close to two-thirds of US consumers now own smartphones, and one in five rely primarily on their phone for Internet access.”2 Additionally, consumers are frequently shopping off mobile devices. In the period from November 23 to January 3, smartphone revenues shot up 50 percent year over year, and smartphone average order value rose by 9 percent to more than $140–just $10 behind desktop AOV.3
Mobile needs to be treated as a viable engagement and selling source. Optimize your digital plans with responsive mobile web pages. Make it easy for consumers to browse, find product information, search, and buy. With limited screen space, products and calls to action should be center stage. The navigation should be intuitive, and the actual purchasing process needs to be very easy. With address fields optimized for mobile, checkout is a breeze and completely hassle free.
No. 2: Inventory Visibility
A beautiful mobile-optimized website is just the beginning. While a customer is shopping, entice them to consider completing a purchase for in-store pickup by listing local product availability on product pages. It’s a powerful tool to list product availability, as the customer, who may have been passively shopping online, now knows they can go to their local store and get that exact item immediately.
The fulfillment options available to the customer during online checkout is also a major factor in creating a hassle free shopping experience. According to the Kibo 2016 Trends Report, 60 percent of consumers will go to another retailer if their preferred fulfillment method isn’t available.
Successful omnichannel fulfillment starts with inventory visibility. If your order management software has a clear view of all inventory across the company, it can then inform the customer if the product is in stock and if it is in stock locally. The customer can then determine their preferred fulfillment method, whether ship-to-home, in-store pickup or ship-to-store.
No. 3: Inventory Availability
If you want to sell your inventory, you must have inventory available to purchase. This may seem like a no-brainer, but some retailers, both online and brick-and-mortar, don’t have stock available when customers want to buy it. Some stores only have a display model or are always out of stock and some eCommerce sites are continually on back-order. If you want to challenge Amazon, you need to be prepared with inventory available, and if it isn’t in the store or available from your eCommerce fulfillment warehouse, you need to provide options to get it to the customer quicker than their Amazon Prime membership can deliver.
An accurate, real-time available-to-promise inventory count will help with this. Knowing where inventory is and if it’s available to sell is the first step in being able to move that inventory. Put software in place to easily reorder inventory when it gets low on the shelves or to quickly drop-ship an item from another local store. Are you truly out of stock, or is extra inventory waiting on a store shelf a state away, destined to be sold at a discounted price at the end of the season because the inventory count was guessed incorrectly at these stores?
Optimized digital, inventory visibility and inventory availability are three solid tools to provide a hassle-free customer experience. Allowing a customer to engage successfully with your brand, find what they want, and be able to receive it how they want will produce many happy customers who will return time and time again.
- “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner
- Kibo 2016 Consumer Trends Report