What Makes Customers Loyal to Brands?

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Customers, we all need them, and it probably comes as no surprise the best way to keep them is in providing a consistently good experience. When selling direct to consumer, how does that experience differ from one brand to the next? There is no difference, a box gets dropped off at your doorstep the same as everyone else. For companies looking to take customer loyalty to the next level, a retail as a service platform that includes dealers in the online channel should be considered to boost both wholesaler and consumer loyalty.

Here is how a retail as a service can help your brand win:

Consistently Good Customer Experience

Having a package dropped off at the consumers doorstep, just waiting there is the way most brands offer a consumer experience of an online order. This is undifferentiated and has the opportunity to be stolen from a consumers porch. A good customer experience should go beyond transactional and include a human element to show the consumer you care about their experience.

The customer experience often starts online but what differentiates most brands from the mundane is offline customer service. This can include letting the consumer try and item before they buy, personalized services such as fittings or installs, to ensure the consumer is satisfied with their purchase. Having a dealer involved in the last mile is one of the best ways consumers can feel a personal connection to your brand and have an experience versus just a transaction. With consumers moving towards buying more experiences instead of products, turning the transaction into an experience has the opportunity to boost customer loyalty.

Providing an automated platform in which your dealers receive sales and can track the status all along the way to provide value to the consumer is critical for success. Giving dealers the tools to be successful in an automated and systematic way in which they know what to expect with no surprises is one of the best ways a brand can further develop channel partner trust and relationships.

Convenience

Retail as a Service makes buying online more convenient as consumers get more choices to receive their packages including secure in-store pick-up or local delivery by a dealer. With 31% of Americans reporting they have experienced package theft from their doorstep, many are seeking alternative ways to receive their purchases, especially during peak holiday season. No one wants to deal with lost packages and making consumers wait at home all day for a delivery is not convenient either. With in-store pickup consumers can buy with confidence and collect at a local store with flexible hours where they may buy other items at the same time. With white glove delivery by a dealer the consumer can obtain their purchase on their terms and placed exactly where they want it in their home or fine tuned to their preferences with a knowledgeable person who can support them with their purchase.

For brands not selling online as a way to manage channel conflict with dealers. Retail as a Service is a way to connect the dots for consumers and make the transaction easier. No need to extend the path to purchase for a consumer to the store when the product is not there, let the consumer transact from the comfort of their home while getting the full support of your dealer network as if they bought right from the dealer.

What if it is the wrong size, color, or not what the consumer was expecting? The ability to return to a local nearby store is critical for conversions and a happy customer. Retail as a Service goes beyond just transaction and pick-up to include post-purchase service and support which an increasing number of consumers are seeking before buying.

Easy Payment Process

Making quick and seamless payments is important as well as accepting the customers preferred method of payment on how they want to transact. For frequent purchasers the ability to remember their details for a quicker second checkout is also important. The consumer also does not want to be hit with any surprise fees or inconvenient locations to pick-up their order. Being able to refund the consumer at the store level onto their initial method of purchase is also a vital part of the payment process.

For dealers they are seeking a payment process that automatically deposits cash into their bank account like clockwork. Dealers are not seeking credits or any other form of payment. They require money to pay their employees and keep the lights on.

New and Innovative Products/Services

New and innovative products are the lifeblood to any organization. To effectively launch new products it requires multiple mediums to get consumer buy in. The most effective medium is the ability for the consumer to touch/feel and/or trial a product to get early adopters buying and spread word of mouth. The primary place these early adopters learn about new products? Physical retail showrooms; yet another value add of retail to expose your products and brand to new consumers lowering customer acquisition costs.

Getting your products onto market sometimes requires leadership and demonstrating demand. With a retail as a service platform, you can use cold hard sales data to prove there is a market for your latest product and to speed up wholesale customer adoption.

Customer Service

In-person customer service is the ultimate form of support. It reinforces consumers purchases, puts a face to the purchase, and builds customer loyalty. With retail as a service consumers can have their purchase installed, assembled, explained/instructed, delivered, and or complimented with other items the retailer may have in store. This type of service allows consumers to have a personal connection with those trusted partners in your network that keep the consumer coming back and/or recommending future consumers to purchase.

Engaging dealers with your online channel is a recipe for success. Many retailers are not technically inclined and/or will never see the payout from creating their own online store front. By partnering online with dealers, brands can help ensure the success of their retailers as they leverage the demand a brand can generate to enhance the business relationship with more sales for everyone.

The report was based on data from a survey conducted in May and June 2017 among 1,502 consumers in the United States age 18 and older.

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What Makes Customers Loyal to Brands?