Brands are no longer the key influencer in defining themselves. Rather, a brand experience is created with every touchpoint a consumer has with it.
The increase of touchpoints has shifted the power to the buyer, leaving brands with a new challenge: The Connected Consumer. According to iamwire.com, Connected Consumers are “those who use connected devices such as Media tablets, e-readers, portable navigation devices, media players, imaging devices and mobile gaming devices, to interact with and consume digital content.”
While 80% of companies believe they deliver “superior” consumer experiences to their consumers; just 8% of consumers agree (Bain Consulting). The Connected Consumer is touched by a brand before, during, and after a purchase.
Brands should not see these touchpoints as problems to solve. Instead they are increased opportunities to connect with consumers and innovate a better purchasing process.
There is no better time than today to start connecting with consumers through these leading touchpoints:
1.) Become part of the conversation.
Word-of-Mouth continues to be a lead consumer touchpoint and social media makes it even easier for brands be part of those conversations. 74% of online adults actively use social networking sites (Pew Research). The average social network site user is half as likely to be socially isolated, than those not actively using social networks. Ignoring or just deleting negative comments and complaints on your social channels is more harmful than you think. One in five brands say they rarely, if ever, respond to consumer complaints through social media platforms. Yet consumers expect a response from brands within one hour. Six in 10 consumers will take “unpleasant actions” to express dissatisfaction with a brand’s untimely social response. It is also important to note that negative reviews are not something brands and retailers should fear. Learn how you can turn negative reviews into positive customer experiences.
2.) Provide fully branded and customized ratings and reviews on product pages.
User generated product reviews and ratings has been on the mind of leading brands and retailers for more than 10 years. The most basic of review services offer a single text box for consumers to share their experience and feedback on the product or service. However, this is not enough to keep a competitive edge. Create a positive review experience by offering review snapshot summaries, customizing review formats by type of product, creating an optimized UX experience, using keyword tagging and seamlessly tying the look and feel to the website or app design.
According to eMarketer, the number of mobile shoppers is expected to exceed 145 million by the end of 2014 and 18-20 percent of all holiday season sales this year will occur on mobile devices. Make sure your site is ready with these tips.
4.) Stay engaged with your consumers.
Marketing should not stop once a consumer makes a purchases. Staying connected helps create brand loyalty and repeated business. Sending emails requesting a product review or feedback is commonly used. In addition to gaining review content, the consumer feels their voice is heard and it allows the brand or retailer to respond to consumer needs. Only 30% of companies maintain effective consumer feedback loops (Bain Consulting). Helpful content, such as user guides, or a simple thank you note goes a long way in creating brand loyalty. Engagement-based loyalty is a way to encourage ongoing conversation, not only between a brand and its customers, but also among customers themselves.
Today consumer relationships matter more than ever and the relationship begins far before someone even becomes a paying consumer. A seamless brand experience filled with conversation and engagement touchpoints throughout the buying experience allows brands and retailers to truly connect with the modern buyer.