How to provide a seamless shopping experience

OpenMarket – March 1, 2018

Imagine this: you’re looking for a new home appliance. You research the product on your smartphone on the bus home from work, before checking the store’s website later that evening using your laptop. The next day, you head into store and make the purchase after looking at it. Or maybe you check it out in-store first, before finding the best price for online delivery.

Either way, it’s clear that the customer journey has changed. And with the arrival of Amazon in Australia, competition in the region is fiercer than ever. As a business, this fragmented customer journey is hard to predict or plan for. But expectations are high, and customers will quickly jump ship to an easier shopping platform if you fail to provide an enjoyable experience. Amazon also has the advantage of being purely digital. If you’re a bricks-and-mortar retailer, you need to ensure consistent experiences both online and offline.

Luckily, there’s one channel that all your customers use – their mobile phone. Whether they’re at their desk, watching TV on the couch or waiting for their morning coffee, your customers have their mobile with them. Text messages let you bridge the widening gap between online and offline, providing relevant communication based on real data and actual shopping habits.

Here are three ways you can use mobile messaging to deliver a seamless customer experience.

  1. Customise Your Messages

With so many different points of interaction, customer loyalty is a complex beast. A regular visitor to your store wants to be treated as a loyal customer on digital platforms too, with messaging and experiences that reflect their shopping habits. And an online loyalty member wants to enjoy the same benefits when they walk into your store. Identifying how your customers shop and providing customised communication is key. For example, let your regular online shoppers know about website deals in advance, or offer a coupon to be redeemed for free shipping. For store customers, use location data to alert them of nearby sales or send a notification when a product they buy regularly is back in stock.

  1. Tracking Online Deliveries

We all know that customers are increasingly shopping online. But it’s easy to forget that the experience doesn’t end when they complete the transaction and close their browser. One of Amazon’s biggest strengths is its painless and transparent shipping process. To keep up, your delivery journey needs to be as well thought-out as the shopping experience. Almost two-thirds of consumers consider delivery speed to be important, and 79 per cent want to receive regular tracking information. This means mobile updates are essential. They make sure deliveries run smoothly, alerting customers when a purchase is packed, shipped and on its way. Easy mobile communication also helps you deal with any issues. For example, customers can text you an alternative timeslot if an item’s scheduled to arrive at an inconvenient time. Or shoot a quick text to let you know that there’s been a change to your order – without the hassle of going back-and-forth with customer service to explain the problem.

  1. Reflect Customer Behaviour

Mobile and digital platforms are undeniably important, but they haven’t taken over completely. Your customers are moving fluidly between online and offline channels, so your marketing needs to reflect this behaviour. It’s not enough to just communicate with online shoppers via email and rely on flyers and friendly shop assistants to do the job in-store. Communicate with customers in a way that reflects their real shopping habits.

Your biggest advantage is the years of customer data you’ve accumulated. Brands like Amazon use this data to feed their communications strategies. Mobile marketing is uniquely positioned to boost both online and offline sales, so make smart use of customer behaviour and preferences. For shoppers that regularly try or test items in-store without purchasing, ask if you can sign them up for mobile updates. Then you can let them know about sales or use real-time mobile coupons to help drive on-the-spot sales. Likewise, if a customer repeatedly returns to your website to look at a certain item but never buys, take advantage of location data and send an SMS to let them know when it’s on sale in a nearby store.

Keep up with the competition

The retail game in Australia is changing. Customers aren’t just searching for the best prices online, they’re looking for a seamless, personalised experience. Use mobile to bridge the gap between your physical stores and online platforms by communicating with customers in a way that reflects their shopping habits and behaviours. With personalised service and automated, hassle-free communication, you can retain your customers in the face of mounting competition.

Download our free e-book to learn more about engaging shoppers with automated mobile messages.

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