Rule number one for creating a world-class customer experience: You are not your customers.
Customer-first merchandising means setting aside our personal preferences and putting our customer's interests first.
Why Is the Customer Experience Important?
In a nutshell, the quality of the customer experience has a direct impact on the bottom line. Consider the following:
- 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience — Customers expect businesses to invest in understanding and implementing solutions make it easy to shop and make buying decisions based on personal preferences.
- 74% of consumers have spent more due to a good customer experience — Bottom line, satisfied customers spend more and become advocates.
- Up to 20% of their annual revenue is lost from poor customer experiences — An Oracle CX survey revealed this astounding statistic and highlights the need for new approaches to deliver a seamless experience.
- 59% (three in five Americans) would try a new brand or company for a better experience — According to an American Express survey, 78% of consumers will bail on a transaction because of a poor experience.
Now that we've established the importance of a good customer experience, let's talk about a few tools that enable businesses to execute a customer-first merchandising strategy.
Customer-First Merchandising Tools
Personalization is the name of the game for modern e-commerce. Google and Amazon have done a fantastic job of shaping customer expectations when it comes to product and information findability.
No one has the patience to wade through product results containing hundreds of items to find an individual item, especially if they are a first time visitor to your website. That's where customer-first merchandising comes into play. It's all about tapping into shopper behavior and using it to continuously improve the relevancy of the product results.
Without further ado, here are five of the must-have tools for delivering a highly relevant shopping experience.
- Intelligent Site Search — Advanced site search technology that "learns" what the visitor is interested in by using machine-learning technology to analyze search queries, page views, and continuously refines and personalized the results.
- Predictive Recommendations — A product recommendation engine that enables the merchandiser to implement product recommendations based on clicks, purchase behavior of similar shoppers, order history, and location—all based on real-time shopping behavior.
- Persona Based Merchandising — Show visitors the most relevant product and promotions based on channel, location, marketing campaign and/or demographics such as location, product interests or time of day.
- Product Reviews — Consumers are highly influenced by the feedback from other people who have purchased an item. According to a survey by Bright Local, 88% of people surveyed said they consulted reviews either "occasionally" or "regularly."
- Capture & Share Customer Engagement Data — People buy what is hot and trending. Bestseller, top reviews, and most popular item filter and sort features only tell part of the story because they only include items that have been purchased. Social Engagement platforms are an emerging technology that exposes on and offsite shopping behavior and enables merchandisers to further refine the experience.
A meaningful, customer-first merchandising strategy will increase conversions and build loyalty. Are you putting your customers first?