Customers are more empowered than ever before, presenting your business with significant challenges but which, when handled correctly with multi-channel software, could also be huge opportunities. Technology and the internet have strengthened the customer’s hand when it comes to shopping.
Here are three new powers that they never had before, which need to be considered by all multi-channel retailers:
The power to share their views far and wide on social media
Social media gives everyone a voice. Twitter and Facebook allow users to say virtually anything about any topic of their choice. Including your business.
“95% of consumers use at least one type of social media.”
Often, customer complaints are broadcast to thousands of listeners on social media channels before reaching you. However, according to Maritz Research:
- 86% of complainants would actually like your company to follow up their issues
- 75% of social media complainants report they are satisfied by the response they receive
- Your responses are visible to the customer’s followers, offering a chance of reclaiming the situation for positive PR purposes.
Social media reputation could significantly affect your brand image and should not therefore be ignored. It is increasingly important to meet and engage with customers where they are to increase sales potential.
The power to research your competitors, and information about your products
Even though they may be standing in your store, customers using smartphones may be ‘showrooming’ – checking products and services elsewhere. In 2011, InsightExpress found:
- 59% of smartphone users carried out price comparison searches in-store
- 65% checked your company website in-store
- 43% checked your competitor’s website
- 26% visited a price comparison search engine to find a better price.
Naturally, shoppers will check other prices, offers and deals when they are at home too. It is therefore essential that your business develops an approach which offers additional value, such as improved customer service, to provide differentiation in the market. Multi-channel retail software with combined CRM functions will allow you to accurately track customer data and use it to formulate better service offerings.
The power to buy from anywhere, anytime
In the same way customers can check products and services from their smartphones, they can also buy using them. So long as they have an active Wi-Fi or mobile connection, making a purchase is a simple matter.
“29% of smartphone owners have purchased an item using the mobile web in the past six months.”
“Of 6,000 consumers surveyed, over one quarter (27%) said that they will be willing to use contactless mobile payment when available to them, and almost half (47%) of these would be willing to pay for goods up to the value of £20, while an impressive 15% would be comfortable to spend £50 or over using contactless mobile payments.”
The mobile commerce market is predicted by ABI Research to be worth $119 billion (about £76 billion) by 2015, proving that the medium will continue to grow in popularity with consumers looking to shop at their convenience. Robust multi-channel software is required to underpin each of your sales operations – just make sure it includes mobile.
To find out more about multi-channel retail strategy, download the How to guide: smaller retailers which became multi-channel success stories
This article first appeared on the Sanderson Blog
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Three Powers Customers Have Now That They Never Had Before
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