If you’re a retailer, then we’re sure you’re aware of—perhaps even worried about—the competitiveness of ecommerce and in-store shopping. Between rising consumer expectations, price wars and direct-to-consumer brands, grabbing shoppers’ attention–and more importantly, their business–is a challenge without the right customer care ideas.
When shoppers feel heard and valued by a company, they’re more likely to keep supporting their products and services. Conversely, failing to adequately care for them leads to customers jumping ship.
Research from NewVoiceMedia found that feeling unappreciated is the top reason why consumers switch brands. Clearly, showing customers how much you value them isn’t just a nice or decent thing to do–it’s a profitable business practice.
To help you implement a winning strategy, we’ve put together eight customer care ideas to surprise and delight your shoppers:
1. Create Customer Care Ideas for All Channels
A key component of any successful customer care strategy is being there for shoppers on multiple channels and devices. People have different preferences when it comes to where and how to communicate with brands.
Some opt for picking up the phone, while others would rather send an email or instant message on social media. Make sure you cover your bases. But also be aware of the different channels that your buyers like using and establish a customer care presence on all the important channels.
One brand that’s doing this well is Target. The retailer has an organized help center to quickly route shoppers to the right department.
In addition to that, Target is also active on all major social networks. Its team takes the time to respond to individual customer comments on Facebook.
But the retailer doesn’t stop there. Target’s customer care spreads across other social networks too. They’re happy to answer questions and provide thorough feedback on channels like Instagram.
They even use their own Target Twitter account dedicated to customer care to respond to mentions. Target even goes as fr to provide support in the user’s own language.
That’s just one area the major retailer uses customer care to build better relationships.
2. Personalize Your Customer Interactions
The idea of personalization marketing isn’t new. We know you’ve likely read “personalization tips” countless times before, but hear us out.
Personalization—at least in the context of customer care ideas—isn’t just putting someone’s name in an email or making tailored recommendations.
Instead, personalization is about connecting with customers on a personal level and making each shopper feel like you know them and understand what they love. The idea is to make shoppers feel unique and significant.
Consumers are bombarded with so-called personalized messages every day. If you search for your name in your email, we’d bet you’d find several marketing messages from brands calling you out by name.
See what we mean?
Today, personalization requires more than customized subject lines. Get in tune with the relationship that each shopper has with your brand and deliver your messages in a way that stands out.
One effective tactic is to send out handwritten cards. These notes feel a lot more personal because your customers know that an actual person wrote them.
Here’s an example of a personalized note from Chanel, which was written by Courtney, an associate who helped lead they way through the customer journey. Courtney not only said “thank you for your purchase”, but she also referenced specific details from the visit, making the gesture feel even more personal.
Another brand that successfully pulls this off is Hockerty, an online menswear retailer. Hockerty Marketing Communications Specialist Salva Jovells explained that last Christmas, the company ran a customer care campaign for its top shoppers that involved handwritten notes.
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“We decided that our top 300 customers, in terms of lifetime value, deserved a better Christmas postcard,” said Jovells. “So we decided to handwrite a personal card in their own language and even [checked] their latest purchases so we could personalize it even more.”
The company added a promotional code for a free dress shirt to drive home their loyal customer appreciation. The pen to paper approach is a customer care idea you can easily pull off.
3. Be Proactive With Updates & Notifications
Most ecommerce stores are quite diligent—persistent, even —when they’re trying to win a sale. Brands send out marketing emails several times a week with the goal of getting customers to make a purchase.
There’s nothing wrong with doing this.
In fact, you should be sending messages regularly to stay top of mind and generate sales. Just remember to exhibit that same level of diligence when handling customer concerns.
The best way to show shoppers that you care is to communicate with them when they need you the most, and not just when you’re selling to them. This means staying on top of communications around purchases, fulfillment and customer service.
Be proactive with updating customers on the things they care about—such as their order or ticket status. Demonstrating initiative when communicating with shoppers (instead of waiting for them to ask for an update) shows you care about the post-purchase experience.
In turn, this builds trust and increases the likelihood of repeat purchases. Sephora also does this well by sending automatic updates when shoppers place an order or make a return.
Like most retailers, Sephora sends a notification email when an order has been shipped. But unlike most brands, it also sends a heads up when an order is arriving soon, and then it sends an additional email when the package has arrived.
It doesn’t stop there. If you decide to return an item, Sephora sends an email notifying you that your return package was received.
Don’t let shoppers guess on the status of their orders and returns and provide peace of mind.
4. Celebrate Your Customers
While most of your customer care ideas will likely take place behind the scenes (e.g., over the phone or via email), there are public things to do to show shoppers love. One way to do this is to put the spotlight on some of your best patrons on your website or on social media.
The apparel retailer Reformation, for instance, regularly features its customers in its Instagram Stories. This is one of the best benefits of Instagram because it specifically highlights your customers.
You can also implement this on a larger scale by running a customer appreciation campaign. Check out what Birchbox is doing.
Every year, the company celebrates its very own Customer Appreciation Day (CAD), and makes it a point to do something big for its customers.
Whether it’s running a giveaway or creating a video dedicated to its customers, Birchbox continuously finds ways to make its members feel valued.
5. Look Back at Your Time Together
Put your customer data to good use by compiling a customized roundup of the key milestones they’ve had with your brand. Many retailers, for example, are sending out “year in review” emails that allow customers to review their previous purchases or interactions with the company.
People appreciate the opportunity to look back at their past activities, so you’re bound to generate engagement with these campaigns. And who knows? You might even encourage people to make a purchase.
By the way, you don’t necessarily have to wait until the end of the year, to send “in review” messages. As an example, check out this “Rapid Rewards Report” from Southwest Airlines which was sent in mid-2018.
6. Be Flexible
While it’s important to have customer policies and guidelines, recognize that every shopper is different. You simple can’t fit everyone into a one-size-fits-all process.
Be flexible with your customer care ideas and empower your employees to use their judgment when interacting with shoppers and handling issues.
Nordstrom, a retailer famous for its stellar customer service, thrives among retailers who are finding challenges to connect in 2019. A big part of that can be attributed to its customer care policies.
Instead of enforcing rigid rules, Nordstrom empowers its employees to use their judgment when faced with customer concerns. Nordstrom also has flexible practices, particularly when it comes to the way it deals with returns and exchanges.
Of course, having ultra-flexible policies like Nordstrom’s may not be the right move for your business. But it’s worth re-evaluating your customer care procedures to see if you can introduce a bit of wiggle room.
Could you be a bit more lenient to your VIP customers? Is there anything more you could do to make shoppers feel special and cared for? The answers to these may shed light into how you can improve your customer care ideas.
7. Run Educational Initiatives
Another great way to show people that you care? Teach them something new.
Sephora holds free in-store classes on a variety of makeup and skin care topics. The classes are high-touch and students can have some one-on-one time with the instructors.
And while participants are invited to purchase the products they used in class, there’s absolutely no pressure to buy. If you’re an online-only retailer, you could still help your customers wise-up on new knowledge and skills through educational content.
Dollar Shave Club, for instance, regularly sends informative and educational content on personal hygiene and grooming.
8. Pay Extra Attention to Your VIPs
While you should certainly care for all your customers, it’s a good idea to extend additional perks to your regular shoppers and VIPs.
Cook up ways to make these patrons feel extra special. Doing so not only helps you cultivate stronger customer relationships, but it also encourages repeat visits and purchases.
Consider The Nordy Club, Nordstrom’s loyalty program. In addition to earning points that they can redeem for future purchases, members of the program also enjoy exclusive perks.
The company promotes incentives such as early access to sales, member-only events and free basic alterations.
Don’t Leave Out The In-Store Experience
Another way to pay attention to your best shoppers is to ask them for customer experience feedback for the in-store experience as well. How were they greeted? Was the product they were looking for in stock? Was the store clean and organized to easily find items?
These are just some of the questions you could get from mystery shoppers. But instead of paying exorbitant prices for this feedback, rely on preferred shoppers who frequently buy from you.
With the help of Journey IQ, retailers uncover valuable insights by sending shoppers on fun and engaging missions. And for their trouble, you provide participants with a discount on a future purchase and make the customer feel appreciated and special for their work.
Is Your Customer Care Strategy Competitive Enough?
True customer care isn’t just about providing customer service. It’s about delighting patrons at every touchpoint.
Whether it’s through social media content, loyalty marketing, or post-purchase follow-ups, you need to actively show your shoppers how much you value them.
Hopefully, this post gives you more than enough ideas on how you can do just that.
Shopping online definitely has its perks. Not only can you stay in your pajamas, but ecommerce websites make it simple for customers to find important details from ratings and reviews and in-depth product descriptions. However, shopping in person remains a completely different experience.
Why is that?
For starters, very few brick and mortar stores currently have in-store displays with reviews.
As a result, many consumers result to searching product reviews on their smartphones while standing in the store’s aisle. In fact, data from Salesforce and Publicis Sapient discovered that 71% of shoppers use their phones to research products while in the store.
In-store customers lack the same detailed information that they can access online. That’s why displaying product reviews in-store is a great way to provide customers with the confidence and information needed to buy your products.
In this post, we’ll highlight a few companies that have taken creative steps to solve this problem and share some general tips to in-store displays showing reviews:
Amazon 4-Star Stores
Unsurprisingly, Amazon sits at the cutting edge of in-store review displays. Last year the retailer opened its first Four-Star Store, primarily offering products with 4+ star online ratings.
The stores display reviews by using a small electronic tag on the shelf, updated with star ratings and prices from the Amazon website. This gives shoppers an entertaining experience, while also providing important product information.
Despite the 4-star branding, the store’s primary focus is to cross-sell Amazon’s private label products and Prime subscriptions. However, every product in the store comes with immediate social proof by virtue of its high rating. Overall, Amazon’s Four Star store ranks as the most prominent in-store use of customer reviews.
Ulta Beauty Reviews Kiosks
While Amazon remains the only major retailer to design a full store around reviews, other companies also display reviews in their brick-and-mortar locations. For example, makeup retailer Ulta Beauty has seen recent growth in in-store sales, due to a revised focus on in-store technology and updated merchandising.
Ulta has also successfully installed “reviews kiosks” in its stores. These kiosks sell products with high customer reviews on Ulta’s website.
While these kiosks are rare, Ulta still does a great job using customer feedback to drive in-store purchases. Shoppers passing by these specific shelves know the products have good reviews and understand they’re quality products.
Hats off to a successful use of reviews to drive in-store sales!
Even if your brand can’t create a review-centric store or kiosk, other brick-and-mortar stores have creatively displayed customer reviews. For example, YETI prints reviews on product inserts surrounding their coolers.
These inserts feature only one review, but still provide social proof needed to help shoppers buy the product. The company does a good job at highlighting what their customers have to say–going beyond typical online reviews.
You might not have seen this coming, but the official SPAM museum in Minnesota also publishes online reviews in-store. Tourists and museum guests can read reviews of SPAM products prominently displayed on a large wall in the museum.
Spam’s creative customer feedback tactic helps promote their brand and its customers in a fun way.
In-store apps provide yet another way for retailers to use reviews. In fact, mobile apps continue to be an integral part of the in-store shopping experience, providing customers with detailed product information while browsing the aisles.
Nordstrom has successfully incorporated its app into the live shopping experience. In addition to reviews, Nordstrom’s app features 3D visualizations of how suits and outfits would fit their prospective shoppers.
Mobile apps are an efficient way to help customers read reviews while they browse in store.
How to Best Use In-Store Displays for Reviews
Because few companies have in-store displays for reviews, showcasing any customer feedback will put you ahead of your competitors. Still, when you decide to display reviews, you’ll want to be smart about it, so follow these tips:
1. Draw Attention to the Reviews
Like the proverbial tree-in-the-woods, if you display reviews in-store but no customers read them, it won’t do much to improve sales. Amazon Four Star stores do a great job of ensuring customers notice the reviews- even the name of the store highlights reviews!
Because many stores don’t use reviews, drawing attention to the reviews helps your store stand out from its competitors. Along similar lines, the Ulta kiosks also attract shoppers to the in-store reviews.
The large kiosks look different than the rest of the store aisles, helping to make sure customers notice the products with reviews. For in-store review displays to have any impact, you must make the displays visible and noticeable.
2. Keep Review Content Fresh & Up-to-Date
When shopping online, your product reviews will update automatically. But for in store, updating reviews requires a bit more thought. It doesn’t do your shoppers any good to see outdated reviews left a few years ago.
Also, as you begin selling new products in your store, you will want to have updated reviews. Making sure the reviews are current and up-to-date should be a priority for your in-store reviews.
One way to update your in-store reviews is to use digital shelf labelling, like Amazon Four Star and now even Walmart. This technology is relatively new and few stores have started implementing it, but does present an easy way to automatically update in-store reviews.
Walmart conducting pilot test of electronic shelf labels, LED strips https://t.co/a8ip2TXzP2 every retailer trying to cater to digitally influenced shoppers. 2019 will be the year of Digital Fact Tags (Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Sams, Kroger, Walgreens, etc…)
The digital labels can link up to the products online PDP, keeping the in-store star rating current. If digital labels don’t work for your store, it is still worthwhile to make a conscious effort to update the physical review displays.
However, if you find yourself rarely updating the reviews of a given product, that can work as a good reminder that this product needs more reviews, perhaps through a product sampling campaign. For these reasons, it is important to maintain and refresh the in-store review displays.
3. Use Both Summarized & Individual Reviews
Posting an aggregate review total (the review summary, such as “4.6 out of 5 stars, 1,132 reviews”) is the most important part of your review display. Customers want to know both a general product rating and the number of people that have left reviews.
In addition to the summarized rating, showcasing individual reviews is a great way to engage with your customers. Highlighting a basic “nice product, I liked it” review probably won’t have much impact.
However, displaying a creative and amusing review allows your customers to brag about your product for you. For example, Criquet Shirts profiles this Masters-themed review on its website- and could easily do the same in-store.
While collecting online reviews is par for the course in e-commerce, not many companies use review content in their physical stores. A few leading retailers- like Amazon and Ulta- have taken strides in displaying reviews in-store.
Other brands, including YETI, SPAM, and Nordstrom, also are innovative in the way they share reviews. When using your reviews in-store, it helps to make reviews the center of attention. Likewise, it’s important to update the review displays with your most recent content.
In addition to displaying the aggregate review total, highlighting a few specific stand-out reviews works as a fun way to engage with your customers. Overall, in-store displays represent an exciting untapped area that retailers will increasingly take advantage of in the coming years.
When’s the last time you stepped into your customers’ shoes?
Because sure, you probably might know what your ideal customer looks like. But what about the customer journey that results in your repeat, loyal shoppers?
Listen: consumers today are bombarded with marketing messages like never before. This recent retail study from Marketing Charts is just another reminder of how many ways customers discover brands, most of which stem from word-of-mouth.
The takeaway here? There is no “single” or “correct” path to purchase to win more sales. And while businesses obviously have multiple ways to move people from prospect to customer, it’s easy to overlook the importance of customer journey mapping.
In this guide, we detail how to create a customer journey that makes sense, resulting in more conversions and fewer leads falling out of your funnel.
Why the Customer Journey Matters So Much
At a glance, customer journey mapping much might just seem like another item on your seemingly endless to-do list of marketing tasks. However, consider that understanding the customer journey (and touch points along the way) are among some of the top challenges of modern marketers.
According to a recent survey by SmartInsights, 44% of businesses struggle with getting a holistic view of their customer interactions. The same study noted that 40% of marketers have difficulty creating a consistent experience through the customer lifecycle.
Putting your customer journey under the microscope can make these challenges much less daunting. If nothing else, doing so can help you identify weak points in your funnel and give your conversion rates a much-needed boost.
What Does the Customer Journey Look Like?
Here’s a snapshot of how new and current customers might experience the customer journey:
New Customer A
New Customer B
Hears about your brand from a friend or relative
Googles and clicks around your site
Reviews your site, but doesn’t make a purchase
Sees a Facebook sponsored post featuring a discount for first-time customers
Clicks through the social ad and makes a first-time purchase
Clicks your Instagram bio link–leading to your store and makes a purchase using the influencer’s promo code
Return Customer A
Return Customer B
Receives a promotional email for a 24-hour sale, but doesn’t click through
Scrolls through Facebook and sees your brand mentioning the sale again
Clicks through your promotional link–leading to your store and makes a purchase
Shares their latest purchase from you on Instagram
Gets featured in your Instagram feed weeks later
See another promotion from your brand
Clicks your Instagram bio link–leading to your store and makes a purchase
And that doesn’t even scratch the surface of what’s possible, especially if you run a brick-and-mortar store in addition to your online presence.
The unpredictable nature of the customer journey and myriad of available marketing channels isn’t necessarily a negative, though. Consider the old-school marketing “rule of seven” which states you need to make seven touch points with someone before they’re ready to buy.
Having multiple avenues to reach and convert customers is absolutely necessary. The customer journey is rarely linear. That said, you likely have a variety of paths laid out for people to discover and purchase your products, right?
You run ads campaigns and promotions. You have your marketing channels prioritized. But how do you bridge the gap between how people find you and how you want people to find you?
The short answer is customer journey mapping.
The Art of Customer Journey Mapping
Mapping the customer journey starts by breaking it up into various stages. Based on these stages, you clearly assess which parts of your funnel need fine-tuning and likewise, what’s already working.
Looking at your funnel piece-by-piece also encourages you to look at your marketing campaigns as a series of paths rather than something that’s just sort of “there.”
Below we’ve broken down a five-point funnel framework that applies to just about any business.
Part 1: Awareness
This is where you’re dealing with top-of-funnel leads. In other words, folks who are in the learning stage about who you are, what you’re selling and whether or not they need your product in the first place.
Ask yourself: how are you putting yourself out there to people in the “just browsing” phase? What does your discovery phase look like and how do they find you?
And for others, it might be a piece of content or advertising which breaks down their search “at a glance.” Sometimes it takes general statistics to get people to understand what you do.
If you haven’t figured out your customer engagement strategy, it’s high time to do so. But make sure you focus on the first step–awareness, before getting too deep.
Here’s an awesome example from Home Chef (with over a million views to boot).
Part 2: Consideration
This is a critical funnel phase that’s easy to overlook. How do you stack up against the competition when people are faced with an “either-or” choice?
This signals the importance of having a repository of customer reviews. Some studies suggest 95% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase. In fact, 20% of shoppers say they’ll leave for another brand or retailer site if there aren’t reviews (or enough reviews) on-site.
Whether it’s a Google search or side-by-side comparison features like what we see on Amazon, having star-rating and social proof is a major point in your favor.
This is where a tool such as PowerReviews for Ratings and Reviews is a game-changer. Aggregating your product’s positive feedback, you put your satisfied customers front-and-center to reel in more leads while they’re in the research phase.
With our Social Collection tools, along with ratings and reviews, you make the consideration process a visual experience. Providing user-generated content on product pages helps give potential consumers visual cues into what exactly they’re getting–and not from just your brand, but other trusted shoppers.
Going beyond reviews, remarketing ads that target former site visitors can serve as your “second chance” to someone who might have looked you up but failed to convert. Facebook cites a ton of success stories such as Brassy Bra who dramatically lowered their cost-per-acquisition while upping their conversion rate via remarketing.
Part 3: Purchase
Let’s say that you’ve won someone over and they’re ready to buy. That doesn’t mean that your job is done. Not by a long shot.
The purchase phase has many moving pieces that oftentimes fly under the radar for brands. Consider that the average cart abandonment rate still sits around 70% in 2019. Someone might have the intention to buy but that doesn’t mean that they’re a “sure thing.”
For starters, a high-converting purchase page loads quickly and is easy to navigate. According to Unbounce, there’s a direct correlation between laggy sites, lower conversion rates and higher bounce rates. This is why effective SEO on product pages is critical.
At the same time, it’s important to include elements on-site that’ll boost conversions. This includes star-ratings, user-generated content and, you guessed it, product reviews.
Room and Board’s product pages are a prime example of what we’re talking about. A variety of product photos and interactive content helps seal the deal with customers who might be on the fence.
Meanwhile, the wealth of reviews help customers better understand the in’s and out’s of a product. PowerReviews Review Snapshot aggregates the most important key terms for customers to help them make informed decisions.
See how that works?
Part 4: Retention
Remember: the customer journey isn’t over when someone makes a purchase. Your end-game should be to turn customers into enthusiastic brand advocates for the long-term.
The good news? Doing so might be easier than you think. Data shows 48% of shoppers say they start the path of purchase with a brand or retailer website because they’re a previous loyal customer.
If you’ve created a seamless experience so far and likewise deliver an awesome product, you’ve already done the “hard part.” Now it’s your job to make frequent, relevant touch points with former buyers.
This might include email offers and newsletters exclusive to your followers. See how Revolve entices their shoppers with bold and flashy sales messages?
You could also go the route of social promotions and remarketing ads. Here you can specifically target past customers (like this example from Smallwoods).
Oh, and don’t forget loyalty programs that encourage customers to return to your storefront time and time again. Creating a sense of community and rewarding your customers for always coming to you is a great way to build better B2C relationships.
For example, Sephora’s Beauty Insider program incentivizes repeat business with free gifts and other perks for sign-ups. What better way to make sure you’re retaining as many customers as possible!
The end-game of your customer journey should be to create brand advocates that help guide others through your path to purchase. That means encouraging people to share their latest purchases and positive customer feedback on a consistent basis.
For example, brands like Skechers show love to their followers with giveaways and opportunities to be featured in their Instagram feed.
Those featured customers also have a chance to be featured on-site in their lookbook. This makes sharing content a breeze with simple advocacy tactics.
And of course, happy customers should be empowered to highlight their positive experience with your brand. PowerReviews helps brands and retailers get more product reviews and through it’s leading review collection capabilities. This helps businesses showcase more product details and consumer feedback to others on their own customer journey.
The customer journey then comes full circle as one customer’s experience leads others to discover your brand themselves.
How to Make Sure Your Customer Journey Makes Sense
Now that you understand the steps of your customer journey, it’s time to figure out what’s working and what’s not. Because all of this stuff is kind of theoretical, right?
You have these marketing tactics in place, but how do you know if it actually clicks with people? What better way to figure it out than by sending actual shoppers through your funnel and to gather real customer experience feedback.
That’s the benefit of working with a mystery shopping program like the one we offer at PowerReviews. With an emphasis on customer experience, Journey IQ helps complete the customer journey by diving into the in-store experience consumers encounter when shopping from you.
There’s no replacement for feedback from flesh-and-blood shoppers, and PowerReviews does the hard work of curating that feedback for you. Through Journey IQ, we send your loyal shoppers on missions to uncover in-store insights all through their mobile devices.
You collect, aggregate and analyze the feedback–and instead of paying the typical hundreds of dollars per mystery shopper, you simply reward these customers with a discount for their work. This allows you gain more sales when they shop from you and incentivizes shoppers to give you feedback for a discount!
Pinpoint what channels you should prioritize, which products people love and weaker points in your funnel. It’s a full circle journey to understand every point for your customers. Luckily, there’s some pretty simple steps to follow to help you get more sales and higher conversion rates.
What Does Your Customer Journey Look Like?
If you want to create an engaging experience for your shoppers, you need to break down your customer journey.
Although customer journey mapping might require some legwork up front, it’s totally worth it in the long-run. With so much competition in any given retail space, doing so is key to maximizing the value of your customer base.
With the help of tools such as PowerReviews, you can make a more positive impression on would-be customers and keep the ones you have happy.
There are a ton of unique ecommerce companies that make up the online shopping ecosystem. From custom embroidered shoes to rare board games, it seems like there’s a market for just about every niche.
But what’s one issue all ecommerce brands and retailers have in common? Cart abandonment rates.
A study from Baymard found only 1 in 4 customers complete a purchase. This means the average cart abandonment rate is roughly 68%. That’s a lot of cold feet.
Here’s the good news–solving cart abandonment isn’t rocket science. But to know how to stop cart abandonment, you need to fully understand why it occurs in the first place.
What Is Cart Abandonment & Why Shoppers Leave
Cart abandonment is the consumer process of digitally adding an item(s) to an online cart and leaving the website without ever paying or finalizing the order. But the reason shoppers leave isn’t just due to indecisiveness.
According to Statista, 56% of shoppers left their carts due to unexpected costs, like additional shipping or taxes. What’s more, 36% of customers left after finding a better deal by comparing prices and 25% said it was due to a poor navigation experience.
The list doesn’t stop there. Consumers have several several reasons they close their tab before making a purchase. But these reasons are all saying the same thing–companies must make customers feel secure, empowered and confident about their purchase.
So how can brands do that? Let’s take a look at 16 ways you can effectively limit cart abandonment on your ecommerce site:
1. Eliminate Cost Surprises at Checkout
There’s no better way to scare customers away than adding surprise shipping costs or extra fees at checkout. One of the top reasons why customers abandon their carts is due to unexpected costs, so why not be as transparent as possible from the get-go? Limit cart abandonment by being honest with much customers can expect to pay before they click “order.”
So what’s the best way to approach this?
Shipping calculators are great to immediately show how much customers can expect to pay for shipping and other associated fees. Depending on your ecommerce store builder, adding a shipping calculator to your product pages early in the checkout process gives information on fees up front.
Price calculators work well at showing fees the second an address is included like this example of one installed on a WooBox storefront. Some ecommerce site builders, like Shopify, have shipping calculators built right into store themes to make things super easy.
Others, like Square Space, allow you to enable shipping calculator features within the settings of your storefront to limit any confusion with your customers. The bottom line is to be crystal clear with any additional fees associated with your product to avoid scaring away customers.
2. Include Thumbnail Images of Products in the Checkout Window
It’s not likely customers forget what’s in their shopping cart—unless they’ve gone on a massive shopping spree—but why not make it easier to remember? Having a visual reminder of their items in the cart serves as a way to reaffirm what they’re going to buy.
This checkout page from Madewell is an excellent example of leveraging thumbnails in the checkout window. The customer easily sees each item and other relevant details like color, size and quantity.
Shoppers can check that the right items are in the cart, which also allows them to easily review products visually. This might make the difference between a customer solely focusing on a large cart total vs. a long list of awesome products they’re going to get.
3. Highlight Customer Savings in Real Time
A great way to encourage customers to convert is to show them how much they are saving while shopping. Whether it’s from a sale, promo code or discount from a VIP program, shoppers love to see what they’re saving.
This checkout window from the women’s athletic clothing line, Fabletics, does a great job of showing savings in real time. Customers see the regular price of the item as well as the price they pay as a VIP member.
In addition, this checkout screen shows shoppers other items where they might qualify for a discount as well. In this case, the consumer not only gets a discount, but a two-year subscription to Midwest Living.
This shows added value and reinforces the notion you’re providing them with as much value as possible. But the retailer doesn’t stop there.
Fabletics also shows customers what they could save on additional products. This helps encourage consumers to add more to their shopping cart before checking out.
This brand does a great job of being transparent with shoppers while simultaneously encouraging additional purchases.
4. Offer a Guest Checkout Option
There’s no arguing that checkout processes are a great way to collect customer data. But is it worth it to potentially lose customers over? Well, Invesp found 14% of shoppers will abandon their cart because there is no guest checkout option.
By making checkout as easy as possible for customers—meaning they make a purchase without additional steps to create an account—you increase the likelihood of them converting.
Urban Outfitters gives shoppers the chance to choose if they’d like to create an account or complete their purchase via the guest checkout option.
With this method, Urban Outfitters is still able to collect customer email addresses, which can be used for future campaigns. Sacrificing a bit of customer data in order to make things easier for your customers may prove to be worth it.
5. Limit the Number of Steps in the Purchase Process
This seems like a no-brainer, but make your checkout process as easy as possible to reduce customers bailing at the last second. A Statista report found 25% of shoppers abandon their carts due to a confusing navigation.
Amazon’s checkout window is not only easy to understand, but it’s simple to make changes within the cart. Each stage of the buying process is clearly outlined for customers, which eliminates confusion and cart abandonment.
So what’s the best way to adjust your purchase process?
Look at your current checkout screen and identify anything that could be streamlined or eliminated. Consolidate the number of screens shoppers navigate through to buy.
If this isn’t possible, an order progress bar is a great way to visually show customers their process. Lastly, include any relevant information on the final checkout screen before they place their order. The last thing you want is to leave out important information and increase the likelihood of more product returns.
6. Create a Shopping List Feature
It’s normal for customers to be unsure when in the path to purchase, especially at the beginning stages. In fact, an additional Statista study discovered 17% of customers abandon carts because they plan to purchase at a later time–not because they don’t want to buy.
A great solution is to implement a wishlist or “save for later” option that gives shoppers the opportunity to return to lists later on—like when they’re ready to make a purchase.
If you want to compete with Amazon, take a page from their book and allow consumers to create wishlists or add items to a list all within the cart. Let customers share lists with friends too, which makes it really easy for wedding and baby registries.
Lists are also a great opportunity to collect data on customer shopping behaviors. With that information, you can send post-purchase emails and promotions regarding certain products. You could also jump on the opportunity to reach out to customers and see if they have questions.
7. Leverage Retargeting Campaigns
It’s time to put all that customer data you’ve been collecting to good use.
Retargeting is a great way to re-engage customers and encourage them to convert. It’s arguably one of the best tactics for brands to use to resonate with customers.
But what is it exactly?
Neil Patel gives a great break down here, but essentially, retargeting is a tactic that shows customers relevant offers based on their behavior online. So if a customer visits a product page on your website then clicks off the page, you can use retargeting to remind them with an attention-grabbing ad.
Facebook is a great way to make retargeting an easy part of your cart abandonment strategy. Using the Facebook Pixel, you can collect customer data through your website or app activity which can then be used to create a retargeting ad.
You can also use customer contact information for retargeting campaigns too. Remember those email addresses you collected with your guest checkout feature? Retargeting is a great opportunity to use those emails.
This ad from Glossier is a great example of the power of retargeting. The makeup brand used video to re-engage with customers.
For example, this is where a customer goes to the site and views a product. But in the image below, this is what a customer sees on a Facebook ad for the same product they viewed previously on the brand’s website. The connection is seamless and simple.
Glossier used retargeting to show customers another side of the product. In this case, they used a video of a model using the product, which is more engaging than a static image. This ad also includes two calls-to-action—one on the video screen and a button below the video—which gives customers more opportunities to click.
8. Increase Trust During the Checkout Process
Even in 2019, some customers are wary of entering credit card information online–especially if you’re a new or upcoming brand. Online privacy concerns are at a high, which is why it’s not surprising that 15% of customers report a lack of security at as a cart abandonment reason.
However, there are a few ways to make consumers feel more at ease when purchasing products online:
Security logos: Include the logos of trusted, secure payment sites to reassure customers that your site is legitimate and safe.
An SSL Certificate: SSL certificates are small data files that bind a cryptographic key to a site, which ensures a secure connection whether it’s for a credit card transaction or for transferring data.
Both of these measures make customers feel more confident their information won’t be compromised and that checkout is secure.
9. Offer Various Payment Options
We know the easier the checkout process, the more confident the customer feels making the purchase. Offer multiple payment methods to fuel that feeling.
With more payment options, customers make the decision that’s easiest for them–whether it’s a credit card, PayPal, Amazon Pay or Apple Pay. Convenience is critical for payments.
Also, offer payment plan options for higher-priced items to get customers to convert as well. Paying a fraction of the cost up front may be easier for some customers, especially if they really want the item.
10. Be Creative With Cart Abandonment Emails
Cart abandonment emails are a popular tactic for ecommerce brands. And when done right, they yield great results. In fact, BigCommerce found recovery rates in shopping carts have gone up by as much as 36% with compelling content and higher open rates.
But how can you make these emails stand out among the sea of emails your customers receive daily?
A great way to make your cart abandonment emails stand out is to highlight highly-rated items in their cart with ratings and reviews and quality product imagery. PowerReviews makes it easy for brands to collect and display customer reviews in an engaging way to encourage purchases, which can be used in these emails.
This cart recovery email from Adidas is simple, yet packs a punch with product imagery and clever copy. Adidas gets consumers to read reviews from other customers and it’s easy to click back to the cart and convert–thanks to the two call-to-action buttons.
11. Identify Gaps in Your Checkout Process
Your checkout process matters more than you may think.
If you’ve noticed a major spike in your cart abandonment rate, it’s a good idea to audit your existing checkout process. An audit allows you to identify any areas of your process that could be improved or adjusted to help the customer along.
A separate study from Baymard found that website errors or crashes accounted for 17% of customers who left their carts. While auditing your process, keep the following in mind:
How long does it take to checkout with your current process?
Is it clear what items are in the cart as well as what the total cost is with additional fees?
Is there anything that could spark a potential issue for a customer?
12. Provide Every Product Detail
Shoppers need confidence in their purchases, which is why you have to provide them with everything about the product. Without being able to physically touch an item before buying, it’s up to the ecommerce site to provide thorough product details to consumers.
This is why PowerReviews provides a customizable Review Snapshot. You simply choose the features you want on your product pages, like Size and Fit, Pros and Cons or searchable question and answers.
Additionally, our Social Collection features allow brands to showcase user-generated content from your own shoppers, so consumers get a better idea of exactly what they’re buying. Make your shoppers confident in their purchases by giving as much product information as possible.
13. Build Stronger Product Pages With Online Reviews
What better way to make your customers feel more confident about their purchase than with product pages that go above and beyond? Product pages packed with customer reviews, honest ratings, product details and high-quality product photos can be the difference between customers converting.
Reviews, in particular, are an excellent way to further establish customer trust. According to BigCommerce, the more reviews you have, the higher your conversion rates. In fact, you could see an increase as much as 4.6% just by adding 50 reviews to a product’s page.
PowerReviews customer Room and Board found similar success by leveraging reviews on their product pages. The retailer saw a conversion rate increase of 95%, which was attributed to customers reading reviews or Q&A sections of the product pages.
What’s more, 30% of sales have come directly from reviews—both online and in store. Customers trust the opinions of other customers. Again, transparency on product pages helps solidify a customer’s trust in you.
14. Make It Easy for Customers to Contact You
Another excellent way to build trust with your customer is to make it easy for them to contact you in case they have a question about a product or their order. Live chat bots especially can reassure customers that you’re only a quick chat away.
This boutique women’s clothing shop uses a live chat widget to make it easy for customers to get in touch at any stage of their journey. The button is discreet, so it’s not interfering with the shopping experience.
This chat feature is also readily available in case customers have a question about sizing, price, discounts or shipping. That’s why it’s smart to opt in for good old-fashioned email and ticketing customer service to tackle shopper questions and issues.
However, if you decide to structure your customer service process, make it clear how you can be contacted. Bonus points to you if contact information in the checkout window and in order confirmation emails is included!
15. Invest in Mobile Checkout
Here’s some online shopping statistics to consider–nearly a quarter of online purchases are made through mobile devices and 90% use mobile devices to help make a purchase even in store.
What’s worse? Data from Adobe showed only about half of landing pages were set up properly for mobile. If you’re not convinced about the power of mobile, you’re probably not seeing a lot of sales here in the first place.
Let’s fix that.
Easy to navigate mobile checkouts are a great way to limit cart abandonment. Make sure buttons are large enough to click and clearly make sense.
PGA Tour Superstore does a great job at highlighting the checkout button on mobile at the top of the screen and allowing shoppers to buy online, pick-up in store or home delivery. Additionally, they give their CTA plenty of space to alert buyers of orders that earn free shipping.
16. Invest in SEO
SEO is quickly becoming synonymous with everything marketing and appears on resumes about as much as experience with Excel. All the talk about SEO makes some businesses hesitant to fully invest.
However, SEO for ecommerce is essential to limiting cart abandonment. How? For starters, it’s all about page speed. If you’re using any sort of third party product, even say PowerReviews, we’re going to add code to your landing pages, and SEOs will not like that.
With so many scripts, it can significantly slow down page load speeds, causing abandoned carts. But with PowerReviews intelligent script loading, we only add the code you need for each of our features.
This significantly limits the amount of script on your site and can help limit any page speed problems, making SEOs very happy. Additionally, SEOs will help you keep your product page content filled with the appropriate keywords.
Rank for more long-tail keywords and increase your overall reach on search engines with better SEO strategies.
Cart Abandonment Is a Solvable Problem
Reducing cart abandonment rates boils down to testing different methods to see what’s best for your brand and customers. You customers are at varying points in their buying journey, so creating a checkout process that makes them feel confident and secure can make all the difference.
Understanding your customer stories and how they fit with your brand is often overlooked. But these experiences should mean everything to you if you truly want to drive a connection.
In the Game of Thrones series finale, Tyrion Lannister talked a great deal about stories. He said:
What unites people? Armies? Gold? Flags? Stories. There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it.
Now, not everyone may have loved how the HBO series ended, but most of us can agree with Tyrion. Stories are incredibly powerful, not just in the entertainment world, but also in the realm of business and branding.
Storytelling helps you achieve various business objectives, including increasing customer engagement, generating buzz and driving sales. This guide will explore the power of narratives in ecommerce and shed light on how you can use them to your advantage.
Step 1: Understand Your Customers & Their Shopping Journey
In the same way that you wouldn’t share a murder mystery with a toddler, you never want to tell stories that don’t fit for your target customers. That’s why the first step to effectively work with customer stories is to get to know your audience and their shopping journeys.
What's one way to enjoy the weekend without harming the environment? 🌲
Dr. Bronner’s knows their customers are likely eco-friendly consumers, so this question fits right in with their demographic. Gather insights into who your customers are and what they go through when they consider products or brands.
Creating Audience-Appropriate Stories
Let’s start with getting to know your audience. Being keenly of your customers’ demographic and psychographic profiles will allow you to determine the right themes, languages and people to use in your stories.
Here’s an excellent example from Nutrisystem. Because Nutrisystem appeals to customers from different backgrounds and ethnicities, the company has several case studies on its website, with each story representing a specific customer group.
Sharing Stories Based on the Buyer Journey
In addition to getting the content right, you also need to make sure your stories are in line with the different steps your customers’ shopping journeys. A typical customer buying process starts by identifying a problem, which is then proceeded by research for solutions. Here’s where customers get to know different brands and compare specific products.
When crafting content, think about where a particular piece would fit in your customers’ shopping process. A brand’s origin story, for example, is great for customers who want to learn more about the company’s mission and values.
The “About” section of SleepingBaby.com details an authentic account of how the site’s innovative baby swaddles came into existence.
Meanwhile, shopper success stories or content about how customers solved their problems using a product are ideal when a buyer has identified an issue they want to fix.
Nutrisystem, again, is doing this well. Its customer stories are results-oriented, and each case study details the issues that the user was having prior to using Nutrisystem, as well as the results they’ve achieved after.
Product reviews, on the other hand, work best for shoppers who are comparing different items. In many cases, these customers already know they want to make a purchase, but are trying to decide on the right brand or product type to get (e.g., large or small, classic or trendy).
Be sure to think about the different processes that your customers go through when making purchase decisions, and then craft stories for each stage of the buyer journey.
Step 2: Determine the Storyteller
Customer stories aren’t always coming from George R.R. Martin. That’s why you also need to figure out the right storytellers for your brand. Who will tell your customer stories?
Businesses generally have two options here: the company can tell the story itself or it can let its customers do it.
Option 1: Share the Stories Yourself
The main benefit of telling your own brand or customer stories is it lets you control the narrative. Plus, you present your messages in a way that’s harmonious with your other branding efforts. This creates a consistent experience for your customers as they move from one channel or touch point to the next.
We can see this in action in ModCloths’ #MarriedinModCloth series. To promote its wedding dresses, the retailer showcased the true love stories of its customers who got married wearing ModCloth merchandise.
The stories were shared on its website and social media. Because the content was created by ModCloth, the look and feel of the series was consistent to its own brand all throughout.
Option 2: Let Your Customers Share Stories for You
Being consistent and “on brand” is great, but too many branded or polished stories come off as inauthentic. You also need to balance out your initiatives by having stories that come directly from your customers.
In other words: leverage user-generated content. Luckily, UGC comes in various forms and each piece of content typically serves a specific purpose.
Consider the following forms of UGC to empower your customers’ voice to the fullest extent:
Content From Ratings & Reviews
One of the most common types of user-generated content is through ratings and reviews. This type customer content is particularly helpful for those who are in the deciding stage of their buyer journey.
Ratings and reviews help highlight specific product features, pros and cons and ultimately the entire customer experience, which is their own unique customer story. Make ratings and reviews a key component of your product pages and ensure that customers can easily find and browse the content.
Evo, a retailer that sells outdoor apparel and accessories, does just that. Ratings and reviews are key components of its product pages.
In addition to always having the star rating visible on the page, Evo also uses PowerReviews‘ Review Snapshot platform to summarizes a product’s key components by sifting through previous reviews.
Content From Social Media Posts
A picture is worth a thousand words, right? So why not use visuals to help tell stories?
Collecting user-generated content from social media is what most people know about, but don’t fully understand how to effectively use. This isn’t to point fingers, but instead, to highlight the capabilities of collecting visual and social content through tools like PowerReviews.
Customers commonly tell their stories on social media, and the common practice for brands is Retweet, Regram or republish their content on your own social channels. One of the biggest believers in sharing UGC as stories on social is GoPro.
But how can you use visual UGC from social media to tell even better stories?
Move their social media content to your product pages.
Social Collection allows brands to gather user-generated content from their shoppers. Whether it’s from a branded hashtag or a tagging feature, our tools collect, authenticate and gain permissions to share customers’ social content of your products on your own product page.
Product pages with visuals tell a more robust story and provide your shoppers with authentic images and video to make a better purchasing decision. In fact, data from CrazyEgg showed the average piece of user-generated content is viewed 10 times more than branded content.
Try to connect your customer stories where they have the most impact.
Step 3: Craft the Story
We’ve talked about the types of stories to tell, now let’s discuss how you to craft them. There’s not a single “best way” to come up with your own brand story. And the right method for you will depend on the type of story you want to share.
But here are some general pointers to keep in mind when you’re crafting your brand story:
Tip 1: Select the Right Customers
When deciding on which customers to feature, set your sights on those who are already big fans of your brand. You can do this by:
Identifying High NPS Customers: If you conduct your NPS surveys, go through the scores of respondents and take note of your brand’s Promoters with an NPS score around 8 to 10. These customers are more likely to respond to your requests and be happy to share their experiences.
Turning to Social Media: Another option is to identify your biggest social media fans. These individuals want to be social influencers for your brand and can talk about you as well as any of your employees. Additionally, you can run product sampling campaigns to find these influencers who have awesome things to say about you.
Tip 2: Let Customers Narrate Their Experience in Their Own Way
The best way to interview your customers is to let them do most of the talking. Try not to ask overtly leading questions and let your interviewee share their thoughts in their own way.
If you want to get authentic customer feedback, try using a mystery shopping program to collect their experiences. With the help of tools like Journey IQ, brands and retailers turn mystery shopping into a fun way for customers to go on missions to collect intel on their experiences.
Journey IQ makes mystery shopping much more affordable by using shoppers who already buy from you on a regular basis. Then you incentivize these shoppers to write detailed feedback about their customer experience–all for an incentive like a discount on a purchase.
Typical mystery shoppers each cost hundreds of dollars to participate, but with Journey IQ, you rely on those who already regularly shop from you.
Step 4: Package Your Customer Stories Nicely
Once you have the information you need, the next step is to package all those details into a story worth sharing. Each case is different, but generally speaking, the best customer stories contain a healthy mix of the following:
A few words for your company
Direct quotes from your customers
Images and/or videos
For inspiration on how to do this, check out the lingerie retailer ThirdLove. The company regularly spotlights interesting customers through a blog series titled #ThirdLoveStories.
And while these posts mention ThirdLove’s products and features, most of the content is dedicated to telling the customer’s story — i.e., what inspires and drives them and how they’ve achieved success.
Looking to get more customers to tell their stories? Here are a couple of ways to encourage people to generate content for your brand.
Prompt People to Do It
The best way to get people to submit content is to prompt them. Send out review requests if you want shoppers to share their product feedback.
If you’re beefing up your social UGC, then make sure people know that you’d love to see their posts. Use a special hashtag or better yet, publish posts on social media encouraging your followers to share their posts.
The North Face, for example, uses the hashtag #NeverStopExploring.
Give Out Incentives
If your UGC strategy needs a boost, consider using incentives to entice your customers to create and share content. You could try gamifying the process by having prizes up for grabs when people review your products or share social media content.
Have a look at what the motivation app Shine is doing. The company is running a 30-day giveaway where they award daily prizes to users who share and tag Shine in their Instagram content.
Step 5: Put Your Stories Out There
Once you have your stories, move on to distributing the content in front of the right audience. Here are some ideas and examples of how to accomplish this:
Leverage Your Website
Your website is one of the best places to tell customer stories. As mentioned earlier, using your own assets gives you more control, which means you can pretty much dictate the look and feel of the content, as well as the publishing schedule.
Another benefit of housing customer stories on your website is having access to data. If you’re using software like Google Analytics, you can easily track page views, traffic sources and conversions. These metrics offer valuable insights into the stories that work and what could be improved.
Where do you put this content on your website? Try the following locations:
Homepage: Want to put your customers front and center? Display quotes or testimonials on your homepage to let visitors quickly see what people are saying about your brand. Athletic Green’s homepage features stories and quotes from select customers.
Site Navigation: Several brands use specific landing pages labeled “Stories,” “Testimonials” or “What Our Customers Have to Say.” The objective is to keep the content in one place to keep the experience easy to navigate and find. For example, Belly Bandit has a “Moms Who Made It” section dedicated to posts about its customers.
Leverage Social Media to Re-Share Customer Content
Already got people talking up your brand on social? Like we mentioned earlier, simply repost their content through your own account to give credit to awesome visuals, tell better stories and to build a more loyal community.
This is one of the easiest ways to spread stories on social networks because you can do it with just a few clicks. The sustainable makeup brand Thrive Causemetics regularly reposts content from its users.
If you already have input from loyal patrons, repurpose their testimonials for social media by creating images using their quotes. Need some examples to help you out? Check out Celsious, a hip and modern laundry mat in New York, that commonly uses Instagram to promote customer experiences in a more visual context.
Email is another excellent medium for sharing stories. Just like with your website, you have a lot more control over how the stories appear in your messages. And since subscribers have to opt-in, you’re speaking to a relatively warm audience.
So, find opportunities to share customer stories on social media. Try incorporating them into your nurture sequences and newsletters.
Athletic Greens, once again, does this really well. Nearly all of its emails mention a customer story or testimonial, which helps portray a better narrative for its brand.
Tap Into the Power of Customer Stories
Customer stories are incredibly compelling. And for most brands and retailers, this content should be a part of every marketing strategy.
If you haven’t tapped into the power of storytelling yet, it’s high time to do so! Need help doing that?
PowerReviews’ solutions for ratings, reviews and social content could take your initiatives to the next level. Request a demo to learn more!
A brand exists in the minds of consumers. That’s it. Nowhere else. No matter how clever your brand messaging is, it can’t alter the brand. It can only raise awareness or reinforce existing perceptions. If consumers know a brand promise is empty, they’ll just scoff at the disconnect between the message and the actual customer experience.
Scary thought, right?
Not if you’re committed to following through on your brand promise, and you move heaven and earth to do it.
Some brands get it. They know success depends on listening to and understanding the customer, empowering employees to achieve excellence, making sure brand standards are met on the front line and innovating in response to market trends.
Other brands have a more insular view. And we all know what happens when customer-facing businesses lose sight of what’s important. To us, the brand promises examples below represent a wholehearted investment in serving the needs of customers—and in going further to earn their confidence, loyalty and trust.
We’ve collected 12 of the greatest brand promise examples we’ve ever seen. Some of these brands you’d expect to make the list and others may come as a surprise. But it just goes to show that a successful brand is a lot more than a logo, icon or memorable slogan.
Best Brand Promise List
1. Geico: “15 minutes or less can save you 15% or more on car insurance.”
This brand promise has become the basis of Geico’s entire marketing strategy, leading them to the top of the auto-insurance industry. Though a time-based promise can be tricky to keep, it’s easy to measure. Geico has done a great job at maintaining their image and keeping their promise.
2. Coors Light: “The World’s Most Refreshing Beer”
This straight-forward brand promise is both simple and informative, easily capturing the spirit of the company in one sentence. While “refreshing” may mean different things to different people, it’s overall concept for a light beer is generally agreed upon–and an amount of exaggeration is implied (and accepted) with the claim of “world’s most.”
3. Coca-Cola: “To inspire moments of optimism and uplift.”
Coca-Cola’s brand promise takes a bit of a different route. It does not mention the product or service, but instead aims to convey a mindset held by all of those that are a part of the company. With a brand promise like this, Coca-Cola positions themselves as a lifestyle brand that is about much more than just manufacturing popular drinks.
4. BMW: “The Ultimate Driving Machine”
This bold statement is the driving force behind BMW’s brand. They aim to produce only the most efficient and elegant vehicles and their brand promise states this with confidence.
Get an exclusive look at our fleet of All-New vehicles: the 3 Series, X5, 8 series, Z4 and the First-Ever BMW X7, along with other exceptional models. Only at the LA Auto Show. pic.twitter.com/e779g0a3Ht
5. Nike: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”
Similar to Coca-Cola, this brand promise doesn’t even mention Nike products, but instead tells the consumer how they think and what they aim to do on a much larger scale than sports clothing and equipment.
6. Harley Davidson: “We are Harley Davidson.”
Harley Davidson have had a number of different brand promises through the years, but all of which revolve around the simple fact that there is nothing like a Harley. The cultural icon needs little explanation, and so their most recent brand promise doesn’t attempt to be anything but simple and to-the-point, promising a consistent experience with their company every single time.
What started as a shrug to IBM’s “Think,” Apple’s brand promise is arguably the most famous slogan of all time and the key to Apple’s wild success in the computer industry. Apple’s brand promise is two-sided–their guarantee to create products based on seeing the world a little differently, and their promise to inspire their customers to do the same.
8. H&M: “More fashion choices that are good for people, the planet and your wallet.”
Karl-Johan Persson, CEO of H&M says, “We have set ourselves the challenge of ultimately making fashion sustainable and sustainability fashionable.” This is a promise the brand achieves with sustainable materials in their product and consistent low prices.
9. Starbucks: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
With a following as iconic as Apple, it’s no surprise that Starbucks provides a great brand promise example, and one they continue to deliver on. Like many company, Starbucks distinguished themselves as a lifestyle brand looking to bring much more to the world than a great cup of coffee.
10. Wegmans: “Consistent low prices.”
Wegman’s promises its shoppers something they can rely on – consistent low prices. Committed to customer satisfaction with every store experience, this company believes that families should be able to buy what they want, when they want it, instead of relying on coupons and what’s “on sale” each week.
This brand promise example is all about a consistent experience. Whether you stay in a Marriott in New York City, California or Utah, you expect the same experience and service. If Marriott did not live up to this promise, they wouldn’t be one of the most successful companies in the hospitality industry today.
It’s no surprise that Walmart makes the list of great brand promise examples. By combining the obvious promise of low prices with emotional benefits, Walmart offers its shoppers a better quality of life with easy access to the necessities.
How to Create a Brand Promise That Sticks
A great brand promise reflects careful consideration, courage, and creativity. The bolder and clearer the better. The best brand promises go big, challenge the status quo, and connect with consumers on a deep emotional level.
Make It Measurable
With many brand promise examples, the promise becomes too many things in an attempt to be everything to everybody, and ends up being nothing to anyone. For your brand promise to be effective, it must be measurable.
What does friendly mean? How do you measure that? What does safe mean? Does safe only mean that the driver has never been in an accident? We all know people who don’t necessarily drive safely, but have not been in an accident – yet.
If you can’t define what your promise means, you can’t measure it. If you can’t measure something, you can’t manage it.
FedEx Ground will deliver to residences every day of the week beginning in January 2020, because shoppers don’t run on business days – they run every day. https://t.co/SE0suhqcMm
Take FedEx for example. When FedEx first started out, their brand promise was, “We will get your package to you by 10:30 am the next day.” Time is a measurement we all agree on. If the package arrives prior to 10:30 am, the brand promise is kept. Starting at 10:31 am, the promise is broken. A strong brand promise is easy to measure against.
Make It Meaningful
This is where the old cliche “actions speak louder than words” is particularly true. A brand promise is nothing if it’s not followed through with action.
The one thing strong retailers do well is deliver on their brand promises consistently. You make a commitment to your customers, and if you don’t deliver, you’ll lose them. The problem is that many companies have one big barrier to consistently delivering on those promises–their employees.
Your store associates are the faces of your business. They are the ones who interact with your customers daily and they make the strongest and most lasting impression on your customers. It’s their job to be the point of contact between your brand and your customers.
Most employees don’t even know what their company is promising. Instead of helping to improve your brand, they may be harming it.
Educating your employees about your brand message is the key to ensuring that your company keeps its promises to your customers. Training programs should include clear messages about what your brand stands for, what you are committed to delivering to your customers and why it matters.
When you give employees a deeper understanding of what you promise your customers, and how their performance fulfills that commitment, your employees will consistently provide the great brand experience your customers expect.
And that’s how you deliver on a brand promise.
Like any in-store initiatives, ensure you measure them. Use tools such as Journey IQ for mystery shopping and customer satisfaction surveys to track performance and the impact on your customers’ perception of the experience.
What’s Your Brand Promise Worth
That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? You can’t hope to stay competitive (much less make meaningful gains) without knowing how well your customer experience aligns with your brand promise. The only way to be certain is to collect the right kinds of data on an ongoing basis. Then you can apply the findings throughout your organization to close the gap.
To learn how leading brands use subjective and objective data to consistently fulfill their brand promises across all channels, request a demo of Journey IQ today!
While the concept of personalization marketing isn’t new, the demand for businesses to tailor products, offerings and experiences to customers is clearer than ever. That means it’s time to get personal–with your customers, that is.
A lot of demand for personalization marketing specifically comes from needs of shoppers. In fact, the Segment 2017 State of Personalization Report has some incredibly well-documented positive outcomes of brands that focus on personalization marketing for the modern shopper:
71% of shoppers say there’s “some level of frustration” when shopping experiences aren’t personal.
49% of shoppers unintentionally buy a product after getting a personalized brand recommendation.
25% of shoppers think personalization is the No. 1 improvement needed by brands and retailers.
But why does it matter so much, though? Consider the traditional experience of shopping in the digital age: Browse. Click. Add to cart. Repeat.
On the flip side, personalization marketing empowers businesses to form stronger connections with shoppers. Brands should strive to uniquely market to as many individuals as possible rather than take a “one-size-fits-all” approach.
In this guide, we’ll break down six personalization marketing tactics to illustrate how businesses consistently create meaningful experiences for their customers:
1. Recommend Relevant Products You Know Your Customers Want
Personalization marketing is a tactic to make recommendations on products you know your customers want, whether it’s through data analysis or consumer research. That’ why recommendations are arguably the most straightforward way to personalize your shopping experience.
Here’s some food for thought: Salesforce data shows a staggering 26% of ecommerce revenue comes from product recommendations. The takeaway? Customers love to be told what to buy and are highly influenced by peers.
Much like a concierge or store clerk, recommendations provide that much-needed “push” that results in a purchase. Recommendation engines like Amazon and Google product display ads are the bread and butter of today’s ecommerce product discovery. This is true for brands, including those based on previous purchases.
Recommendations shouldn’t be reserved for post-purchase interactions, though. By organizing your product catalog and tags, you present recommendations while visitors are in “just browsing” mode. Here’s a great example from J. Crew:
Connect the Dots With Product Recommendations
The same rules apply to email too. Even without a full-blown recommendation engine, you also highlight your best sellers and popular products among your customers to create a sort of bandwagon effect.
This could be done in a post-purchase email or even private email only for exclusive customers who bought a specific product. The point is to let them know they’re exclusive and you’re recommending X because they bought Y.
Oh, and let’s not forget emerging trends in personalization marketing such as customer quizzes. Serving as an interactive way to gather invaluable customer feedback, quizzes give shoppers exactly what they want through carefully curated answers.
For example, Birchbox’s “Beauty Profile” quiz ensures every product included in their subscription package is relevant to their subscribers. This is huge for consumers who don’t have time to sort through products and find something specific to them.
Now, that’s your job.
Based on the results, quiz-takers are sent to a recommendations page. Then the shoppers will have their boxes customized accordingly to their answers. This not only breaks down preferred products, but it makes the customer experience that much better.
Your shoppers aren’t always as confident in their purchasing decisions as you think. So provide them with tailored recommendations on products based on customer surveys or quizzes so their search turns into something like this:
See how that works?
2. Give Your Offers a Personal Touch
According to Campaign Monitor, personalized emails result in significantly higher click-through and transactional rates. No surprise there, right?
Let’s say you have a customer repeatedly buy boots from your ecommerce store. Wouldn’t it make sense to offer them the occasional discount on, you know, boots as opposed to cashmere sweaters?
Sure, there’s a time and place for store-wide deals. However, segmenting your offers by individual trends and buyer behaviors is a smarter move toward an easier path to purchase.
Another common tactic for personalization marketing is through cart abandonment or behavior-triggered email marketing campaigns. Here’s an example from TeePublic which includes a “They Miss You” message attached to some previously viewed items.
Another low-hanging personalization marketing strategy is to present your shoppers as a community. Like we mentioned earlier, exclusivity is something shoppers often want.
This works for you because you’re not only creating an personalized experience, you’re also driving urgency to buy. In fact, the “email subscriber exclusive” message from Sierra is a good example. It creates a sense of exclusivity for buyers as if they’re “in the know.”
And of course, personalization marketing means treating people like people. Along with your brand voice, messages that celebrate your customers and show your appreciation (think: birthday, customer anniversary), are an awesome tactic to create a stronger sense of brand loyalty.
Check out how TopShop does it through an exclusive birthday offer.
3. Promote the Products People Truly Want the Most
This might seem like a no-brainer. But as you saw from the first data points in the Segment report, businesses don’t always deliver products and experiences their customers want. Think about it. Do businesses create products on a whim? “Just because?”
Perhaps the best way to vet your product ideas is by listening to what your customers are saying. This email from Pendleton highlights how brands can market their products based on demand.
Of course, this begs the question: how do you listen for what your customers want, anyway? Dig into your customer feedback to see what your customers are already telling you. From reviews content to social comments, there’s a gold mine of product insights to take your items to the next level.
Tools like PowerReviews’ Product Pulse does all the hard work of digging through your content and finding customer comments that matter the most. This includes specific keywords, product features or even adjectives associated to your products that could help you create a more personalized marketing strategy.
Above all, these insights are invaluable for figuring out what your business should promote next. Don’t do the manual work of looking through hundreds of product reviews. Instead, use Product Pulse to analyze your content and uncover insights you might have originally missed or been previously bias to.
4. Understand Your Customer Journey All the Way Through
It might be cliche to say no two customers are the same. But isn’t there a truth to that statement?
From the channels where shoppers discovered you to the ease of their checkout process, it’s paramount that all of your customers have a positive shopper experience from Point A to Point B. But with only 8% of consumers believing brands deliver “incredible” customer experiences, it’s clear that most businesses fail to leave a consistently positive impression.
Being able to see the whole picture does a lot for brands and retailers wanting to improve the customer journey. That’s why tools such as Journey IQ are a game-changer. By turning mystery shoppers into product insights specialists, you pick the brains of your customers and what they think of your shopper experience.
JourneyIQ incentivizes customers who already shop with you to fill out questionnaires, go on search missions and provide helpful feedback to the in-store or online experience. By selecting a specific audience, you have better details of what your shoppers experience in real time.
In such a competitive retail landscape, customer experience personalization is a must. This again speaks to the importance of gathering as much customer data as possible from flesh-and-blood customers.
Similarly, brands should keep an eye on their ecommerce and Google Analytics data to see where there might be drop-off points. If someone’s failing to convert from a particular channel or at a certain point in your funnel, it’s worthwhile to investigate why.
Such detective work might be just what you need to create a better experience for shoppers.
5. Curate as Much Customer Feedback as Possible
Piggybacking on some of the tips above, personalization marketing oftentimes involves picking your customers’ brains. Although analytics data and buying behavior are invaluable, so is good, ol’ fashioned feedback.
For starters, consider some straightforward strategies to figure out what your customers want on a community-wide or individual level. How do you get this information? Well, it’s actually pretty easy and we’ve already mentioned a few ways earlier!
Try to collect information through:
Social questions: This includes Q&A posts, asking customers to highlight their favorite products or what they want to see from you next.
Email surveys: Whether it’s a formal survey or an informal check in, asking for feedback in exchange for a discount is totally fair game.
Quizzes: As noted earlier, quizzes offer direct answers from your customers regarding what they want and more.
Brands shouldn’t be shy about asking for feedback, either. The majority of consumers are more than happy to provide information to businesses if it ultimately results in a better experience. It’s just a matter of asking.
6. Adapt to Your Customers’ Schedule
Timing is an aspect of personalization marketing that’s easy to overlook. Your customers aren’t “on” around the clock, day after day.
Perhaps you’re all about seasonality. Maybe you sell big-ticket items that are prime for “one-and-done” buyers with serious consideration. Regardless of your target audience, you need to reach out to them when they’re in the mood to buy.
There’s no use hitting folks with deals when they’re “cold.” Timing is a subtle yet significant aspect of giving your customers what they want. But a not-so-subtle aspect of scoring more sales is when your customers are most active.
Especially considering how crowded the ecommerce space is, data-driven timing is absolutely key to making your offers stand out. That’s why tools that perform scheduling optimization are so popular.
For example, MailChimp has it’s optimized timing feature that allows businesses to target individual members of their list based on when they’re most likely to be active. This makes targeting that much easier.
This is crucial for businesses with customers across multiple timezones. After all, who wants to get an offer in the dead of night? Spoiler alert: nobody.
On a related note–timing is key for businesses looking to roll out any sort of social ad strategy. Although remarketing ads like those on Facebook are popular as they create another valuable touchpoint with your customers, they still need to be timed to perfection.
These are the steps that businesses today need to take if they want to create meaningful experiences for their customers. Listen: personalization marketing isn’t just a buzzphrase. Customers still crave the personal touch of old-school brick-and-mortar stores even as ecommerce booms.
Are you greeting them at the proverbial door? Offering service with a smile? Pushing them to purchase when they have doubts? If not, you definitely need to be!
Thankfully, modern tools and analytics make the process of creating positive customer experiences so much easier. And by combining the tactics above and taking advantage of the features baked into PowerReviews’ platform, you can start getting personal with your buyers sooner rather than later.
See how our tools help businesses of all sizes manage customer feedback and surface important product insights. Request a demo today!
A solid relationship is always a two-way street, which is why so many businesses struggle to get a high level of customer satisfaction.
Consumers will buy your products if you give them good reasons. But on one hand, you have to be honest, forthcoming and problem solvers. This lets your customer base know you care and are willing to do your part in the relationship.
Research from Indiana University found across multiple industries, companies tend to overestimate their own customer satisfaction levels. This disconnect in perceptions leads to less satisfied customers and ultimately, fewer shoppers coming back and a huge dent in your sales.
So, how do you prevent all that from happening? The first step is to determine where your customer satisfaction currently stands. Measure satisfaction levels in your business to identify areas that need work and then you creates ways to wow your customers.
First, let’s figure out what truly makes up customer satisfaction and how it works with your business:
What Is Customer Satisfaction?
Customer satisfaction is a metric used to track and gauge the degree of gratification or comfort with a brand’s products and services. Simply put, it finds out how happy your customers are and do they trust your business enough to buy again.
It’s equally important to measure customer satisfaction to fully comprehend how it affects your business. You can’t improve what you can’t measure. If you want to make your customers happy, you need to know how satisfied they are right now. From that point, figure out how to take things to the next level.
Knowing your customer satisfaction numbers also provides valuable insights for research and development. That’s why so many businesses rely on a ratings and reviews platform to uncover opportunities to develop new or enhance products and services.
So how do you measure customer satisfaction? There are various ways that all depend on your industry, offerings and customers. But if you’re curious to learn more–we’ve got you.
Here are five secrets to success to improve customer satisfaction:
1. Let Customer Surveys Tell You Everything You Already Know
As one of the most straightforward ways to gather insights, a survey can give you quantitative and qualitative data about your customers. Likely, you already have some idea of what your customers think.
However, it’s smart to test your hypothesis on a regular basis to know exactly what your customers are thinking about your brand or product. The nature of your survey will depend on the metric or score that you’re trying to find.
For customer satisfaction, the most common scores businesses rely on are the Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) and Customer Effort Score (CES).
Let’s quickly break down each of these scores in detail:
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
The Net Promoter Score measures the likelihood of a customer recommending your company to others. Finding a user’s NPS starts with a simple survey question: How likely are you to recommend the company to a friend or colleague?
In fact, Omniconvert explained that users then answer the question with a scale from 1 to 10, which classifies your customer fulfillment according to their ratings. Those who give you a score of 9 or 10 are called Promoters, while a score of 7 or 8 get named Passives and 6 to 0 are Detractors.
To calculate your overall Net Promoter Score, subtract the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters. So, if 60% of your customers are Promoters and 5% are Detractors, then your NPS is 55.
Your Net Promoter Score by itself won’t tell you a whole lot because NPS benchmarks vary from one industry to the next. An NPS of 10 for example, might be great if you’re in the Cable and Satellite TV industry, but that same score is considered low if you’re a specialty retail store.
So, look into NPS benchmarks to figure out how you measure up compared to companies in your field. To give you a better idea, here are average NPS industry benchmarks from 2018, as provided by NICE-Satmetrix, the co-developer of Net Promoter:
Pro Tip: Ask Additional NPS Questions
While your NPS gives you insights into customer satisfaction (especially when compared with others in your industry), your score alone doesn’t provide any information around the specific areas of your business that need improvement. If you want to get even more value out your NPS, consider asking additional survey questions based on the user’s initial answer.
For example, if someone gives a score of 8 and below, then you can follow-up with asking what changes would have persuaded a higher rating. But for users rating 9 or 10, your follow-up question could ask what specifically they recommend or what do they think you did really well.
More often than not, you’re going to get honest customer feedback about your buyer journey. This could ultimately help you fix things like product returns, low ratings and abandoned carts.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
While NPS measures customer satisfaction at a more general level, the Customer Satisfaction Score measures satisfaction with a specific product, service or brand interaction. To that end, CSAT surveys are typically initiated after an event such as after a purchase or support team interaction. The key is to do it while the experience is still fresh in your customers’ minds.
This is why post purchase emails are essential to gathering valuable customer feedback. PowerReviews Review Collection solutions sends your customers emails asking about their experiences with the products they just purchased. This allows shoppers to give their recent and fresh feedback for every product they purchased.
As you likely know, getting customers to fill out reviews for multiple products is asking a lot and time consuming. Instead, PowerReviews collects all the recent purchases and makes it absolutely simple to enter reviews while staying on the same review page.
Customers are more likely to fill out multiple reviews when they see what’s needed to move on–unlike some review collections that continually jump to new pages and feel endless.
Measuring CSAT Success
Just like with NPS, your customers provide answers by choosing a score from a scale. You can use a 10-point scale (similar to NPS), though a 5-point scale also works for CSAT. Many companies ask customers to rate their satisfaction using a scale from “Very Unsatisfied” to “Very Satisfied”.
One example of a company doing this is Morton’s Steakhouse, which sends their guests a survey a few days after their visit.
Once you’ve gathered enough responses, take note of the scores your received and keep an eye out for trends or patterns. CSAT helps determine which products, experiences or support reps yield the highest satisfaction scores. This allows you to further identify trends in various customer segments.
Customer Effort Score (CES)
Customer Effort Score is a metric measuring satisfaction based on the amount of effort required to use a product or service. According to the Harvard Business Review, CES is the best predictor of whether or not a customer will continue doing business with a company.
You measure CES by asking questions about how much effort was needed to handle the request. Customers use a scale from 1 (Very Low Effort) to 5 (Very High Effort) to provide feedback. The same HBR article found 94% of customers reporting a “low effort” score were likelier to purchase again, while 88% admitted they’d spend more money to get that service.
However, 81% of respondents said if the process was “high effort,” they were likelier to tell friends and family of their negative experience, significantly harming any word-of-mouth marketing strategies in place. With that in mind, once you have enough completed CES surveys, you should have a better idea about:
Would continue buying from you
Would say negative things about your company
NPS vs. CSAT vs. CES
What’s the best metric for measuring customer satisfaction? That depends on your objectives as well as your overall views about customer satisfaction. If you’re looking for a more holistic view of how satisfied your customers are, then NPS would be the best option.
But if you want to gain insights about specific components of your business (e.g., a particular product or service) then CSAT would likely do the trick.
On the other hand, if ease of use is an important metric in your business or if you agree with HBR in that customer effort is a good predictor of future behavior, then consider implementing CES surveys. Each metric has its sets of pros and cons, so do your research, figure out what works best for your specific business and start measuring.
Tools for Conducting Customer Surveys
Whichever metric you choose, you can easily create and send your customers surveys. There are plenty of tools on the market to conduct surveys, and here are a few we recommend:
2. Use Social Media to Truly Listen to Interactions & Conversations About You
Sometimes the best feedback is things customers voluntarily provide. And this is where social media listening is incredibly helpful. Consumers constantly share both positive and negative opinions about brands on social media–it’s up to you to decipher what’s valuable.
In fact, the Sprout Social Q3 2017 Index found 46% of consumers have called out a brand on social media for unfair treatment, a poor experience or multiple reoccurring issues. These experiences are crucial to track whether they’re coming at your brand directly or in-directly.
Invest in a Social Media Listening Tool
Effectively social media listening requires more than manually reading comments and brand mentions. For it to be effective, you need tools that can not only track important mentions, but also provide information that you can quantify and take action on–even if they don’t specifically tag your brand.
Here are some tools that can do everything from monitoring brand mentions and analyzing sentiment to tracking your competitors and generating social media reports:
There are a lot of social media listening tools out there, but we recommend doing your research before signing up for a solution. At the end of the day, the success of your efforts will hinge not on the tools that you’re using, but how you use them. Here’s a few tips to note when using these tools:
Find Your Most Valuable Keywords to Monitor
For starters, most social media monitoring tools let you add specific keywords to monitor. One of the first things you should do is identify all the significant keywords to track on social. These may include:
Your company name
CEO and key executive names
Specific product or feature names
Keywords associated with competitors
Weaknesses about your products or services
Common customer pain points in your industry
The next tip is to act quickly. Social media monitoring will do nothing for customer satisfaction unless you act on the information. A 2018 survey from Clutch found the majority of consumers expect brands to respond to social media comments within 24 hours.
Actually, data shoed 83% expected companies to respond within less than a day, while 38% want brands to connect within an hour. Speed is clearly important to social media users, so if you want to keep their satisfaction levels high, make it a point to respond to their comments ASAP.
Pro tip: Most tools can alert you when important comments come through. Use this feature to your advantage.
3. Thoroughly Mine Your Product Ratings & Reviews
If you collect and display product ratings and reviews (which you totally should), all of this content is a goldmine for customer satisfaction insights. But more likely than not, you know this important, but manually digging through reviews content can be extremely time consuming and create unknowing biases toward responses in the process.
So what do you do if you get dozens or even tens of thousands of product reviews to dig through? It starts to feel like a literal hunt for gold.
That’s why PowerReviews launched its newest feature in its Intelligent Suite: Product Pulse. We listened to our customer feedback and the comments were clear–it’s too time-consuming to dig through review content.
Product Pulse does the heavy lifting by pulling most-used adjectives, trends customers see with the product and sentiment analysis with your items–all at the product level. Powered by our intuitive platform, Product Pulse provides real product insights in an easy-to-digest visual display.
The Intelligence Suite engine has already processed over 40 million consumer product reviews to discover 2 million unique topics with 5 million unique opinions to give your brand actionable product insights.
The quickest ways to frustrate your customers (and diminish satisfaction) is to not have answers to their questions. It’s important to arm your staff with the resources they need to provide prompt and adequate answers to your customers.
In addition to offering ample training, identify the most common question customers have and make sure your team is ready with the answers. At the same time, it helps to give shoppers the ability to find answers for themselves.
According to Forrester, 53% will leave a site if they cannot find an answer to a product question before purchase. So, what’s a brand to do?
Let your shoppers submit their own questions. This can be helpful on your product pages because it allows shoppers to bring up item-specific concerns.
Their question is then routed to the most qualified sources based on flexible business rules set by Skechers. Shoppers get an answer within 3 hours or less through a follow-up email with a link to the product page so they can complete their purchase.
With the feature, Skechers saw a 32% increase in conversion for products and a 51% bump in their conversion rate from answer notification emails. This goes to show that shoppers who get answers to their questions are more likely to complete their purchase.
In addition to having the right answers, being quick with delivering them can also help customer satisfaction. Research from Forrester found 73% of customers believe their own time is the most valuable asset for great customer service.
One of the best ways to show customers that you value their time is to provide answers and services quickly. Here are a few suggestions on how to do that:
Set Up an Auto-Response
Even if can’t answer right away, let people know their message was received. Automate this by setting up a customer service autoresponder that notifies users you got their message. Your auto-response also tells people how they can get in touch if they need to follow up.
For instance, when you submit a customer support ticket on Postmates, you immediately receive a “Request received” message. In some cases, an auto-response can even streamline the support process for you.
Check out this example from ThirdLove. After submitting a Returns/Exchange request, you’ll get an automatic message with instructions on what to do next and a link to download a return label.
Route Questions to the Right Department
Set up your help center in a way that queries are filtered and routed to the right people. If you’re using a form or live chat to collect customer questions and requests, you can do this with a drop-down menu that lets users specify the nature of their request.
Apparel retailer Showpo does just that with its chat form that has a drop-down menu on which customers can select their “Enquiry Type.”
5. Show & Tell Customers You Want to Improve Satisfaction
Once you’ve done something to address customer feedback, follow-up so it’s known you’ve addressed the concern. This is as simple as sending an email or a social media message saying you’ve fixed the issue.
If you’re addressing a larger concern that many customers have brought up, notify users through a product email update or blog post addressing common concerns.
For the longest time, Grammarly users asked for integration with Google Docs. So when it finally happened, Grammarly published a blog post announcing the update and that the customer feedback is the main reason they updated the software.
Deliver on Your Word
It’s all about focusing on delivering first and delighting second.
This may seem like weird advice when we constantly hear businesses should “surprise and delight” their customers. However, a separate Harvard Business Review study found consumers’ tendency to punish bad service is greater than their impulse to reward delightful interactions.
We have updated info for SoundSport Free owners about the reports of an audio/video delay issue with some video sources. More details can be found here: https://t.co/xs1rJ6NNaT
Bose shows you why it’s important to evaluate your existing products, services and experiences customers face when interacting with your brand. They identified areas of dissatisfaction and then took action.
Another company that did this well is Fandango, a ticketing company that lets people book tickets online and through mobile devices. The company gathered feedback from its users and discovered a big problem.
When using Fandango’s seat selection feature, customers had having trouble knowing what side of the theater was faced toward the screen. It’s a simple hurdle that could cause a lot of unhappy front- and back-row customers.
That feedback was routed to Fandango’s product team, which addressed the issue straight away. If you want to improve customer satisfaction, take action on your word and show consumers you listen and fix problems.
Improving Customer Satisfaction Is a Long-Term Process
Boosting satisfaction requires performing two key things very well: measurement and addressing the issues causing the most problems. This isn’t a one-and-done method.
Brands have to keep up and prioritize customer satisfaction as well as product sentiment because moods change over time. So no matter how satisfied your shoppers are today, make it a point to keep measuring and keep improving!
Don’t let anyone tell you that search marketing is dead if you’re an ecommerce brand.
In fact, the PowerReviews Snapshot for Ecommerce report found a staggering 50% of online purchases begin with a Google search. That’s why the ability to put your products front-and-center in search is a crucial part of paving of the path to purchase.
Think about it. Whether someone is just browsing or is dead-set on making a purchase, showing up on the search engine results page (SERPs) is invaluable for retailers looking to make a lasting impression on shoppers.
Enter the world of product listing ads.
In this quick guide, we’ll break down how to set up Google product listing ads and the best practices for making your ads stand out to shoppers.
Why Product Listing Ads Deserve Your Attention
Product listing ads pull data from your online store to populate for specific Google searches. These image-based ads operate on a pay-per-click model, but are much more eye-popping than text-based ads.
At a glance, you might look at these ads and wonder “why bother?”
Hey, fair question.
On the surface, product listing ads might not seem as “sexy” as social ads or influencer campaigns, right? However, that doesn’t change just how insanely effective image-based PPC can be.
For starters, here are some key benefits of product listing ads.
You Only Pay for The Clicks You Get
This might seem like a no-brainer but it’s worth mentioning.
Unlike ad campaigns which are difficult to measure and budget for, product listing ads are fairly straightforward. After all, you only pay for the clicks you get. This makes it easier to determine the ROI of your campaigns and what product categories are your top performers.
Likewise, don’t forget Google’s robust analytics suite, which is baked into each of your campaigns. Want to know which products are killin’ it? Every click is a valuable data point for your business if nothing else.
Stop Sweating Over Search Rankings
Let’s be honest: ranking for individual product keywords is tedious, time-consuming and sometimes seemingly impossible if you’re an up-and-coming brand.
According to recent PPC statistics, shoppers are happy to click on Google ads and consumers are more likely to convert than organic customers anyway. Product listing ads allow you to “skip the line” by appearing atop any given search query. This removes the “what-ifs” and legwork involved with trying to rank for product-related terms organically.
This benefit is a two-way street. Product listing ads quite literally position your brand right in front of searchers in text, image and shopping searches.
This allows shoppers to use search as a starting point toward choosing a specific item, brand or store. Just look at how many options arise from a simple search of “women’s shoes.”
There’s a ton of opportunity for brands and retailers to take advantage of being in this initial search to shop. However, it’s just as important to also consider how product listing ads position your products from a branding perspective.
Appearing alongside household names in search gives your brand a much-needed sense of authority. In other words, you automatically look “bigger” by association.
Appeal to Visual Customers
Data from a Social Media Examiner 2018 Industry Report found 32% of marketers think visual images is the single most important form of content on their website. And more likely than not, you can guess why.
Seeing is believing for modern customers. Being in search results with visuals gives customers less hesitation and more incentive to click and get additional information.
Everything from high-res photos to showing off products in the wild, product listing ads empower brands to use a variety of imagery to win over customers.
Also, consider how shoppers’ eyes naturally gravitate toward imagery when it comes to search. According to ConversionXL, the traditional ad placements of Google Shopping ads represent prime real estate.
How to Set Up Google Product Listing Ads
Now that we’ve highlighted the benefits, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. That is, how to set up Google product listing ads for the first time.
The good news is that the process is relatively straightforward, especially if you’re already familiar with AdWords. For starters, you’re going to need to link your AdWords and Google Merchant Center account.
The Merchant Center is where you’ll upload your product data, which will flow between your storefront and Google’s ad platform. The setup for Merchant Center simply requires you to verify your website prior to creating your first campaign.
After your accounts are linked, go ahead and pop into AdWords. Click on the “Campaign” dropdown and select “Shopping.”
You’ll then be asked to name your Shopping campaign and select a Merchant ID: this is your Merchant Center account. Then confirm the country of sale depending on where your products are sold.
Assuming this is your first rodeo, don’t worry about campaign priority quite yet. You can then choose to have your campaign to source all of your products or between specific categories based on inventory filters.
From here, you’ll choose where your ads will be served in terms of geography. You can restrict ads only be served via Google search or other third-party sites running ads. You’ll then choose between manual or automatic bidding as well as when your ads will be scheduled.
Finally (and perhaps most importantly) you’ll need to choose your product groups and categories. To double-check your account set up, you can also reference this nifty video from Google themselves.
Google Product Listing Ads Best Practices
Product listing ads have major potential for just about any ecommerce brand. This is especially true given that PowerReviews’ Mapping the Path to Purchase report found 52% of searchers are more than happy to click on them.
That said, you need to make each and every click count. You’re payin’ for ‘em, after all.
It’s crucial to understand both the best practices of product listing ads as well as promotional strategies to entice those ever-so-important clicks. Below are some tips for fine-tuning and setting up your ads to maximize their performance.
Keep Your Product Information Up-to-Date
Bear in mind that Google requires you to send them up-to-date product data including pricing information and imagery every 30 days. Doing so might seem like a pain, but it makes sense.
You don’t want to send someone to a page with a sold out product or inaccurate pricing. These sorts of errors are conversion-rate killers and Google wants to help you steer clear of them for an all-around better customer experience.
Thankfully, Google allows you to send automatic product updates through its Merchant Center to help you save some serious time. Especially if you’re dealing with a massive inventory, the upfront setup of automatic updates is worth your while.
Choose Your Product Categories Carefully
Picking categories for your product listing ads might be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be rocket science. Don’t think of categories the same way you might think of ranking for specific, product-related keywords.
In fact, Google recommends choosing broader categories and branching out from there. For example, let’s say your storefront sells shoes and your women’s black flats are among the most popular items.
After an initial search, you quickly see the product listing ads are full of competitors with affordable options. Additionally, you see product rankings on the last two items, which means they use a ratings and reviews syndication software like PowerReviews to get customer content in more places.
But for this example, let’s say you really want to hone down your category even further. Luckily, you can specify a sect of your audience, which in this scenario, you might want to target “black flats for women.”
Google gives you the option to take it a step further. Brands and retailers can appeal to shoppers looking for products at a specific price point.
This let’s you target searches for products and price point together like “black flats under $20.”
Let’s say you’re currently running a sale on a specific item. You can set up PLAs to target specific audiences searching for bargains.
In this example, we used the search term “black flats on sale.” And if you haven’t noticed yet there are some commonalities between all the search examples. However, each term does bring different results, which is why you must test your campaigns.
See how that works? The beauty of product listing ads is the ability to drill down into specific categories based on your budget and the specifics of your products.
Include Star-Ratings Alongside Your Products
Food for thought: more than a third of shoppers say average star ratings are the most effective way of understanding a product as well as trusting the seller.
Star-ratings provide shoppers with an extra layer of assurance by highlighting your best products and that other customers are satisfied with what you’re selling. With the help of PowerReviews, you can source your star-ratings directly from your storefront to popular in your product listing ads.
Choose Compelling Product Images
Note that people are looking for “real” visuals when it comes to product searches. As we mentioned earlier, some brands rely on “stock photos” of their products while others show off what they’re selling in a real-world setting.
And data from the same Snapshot of Ecommerce report found 72% of shoppers admit to regularly looking for visual content before making a purchase. So why not make sure you’re properly collecting and displaying images as well as gaining rights to user-generated content for your product pages?
PowerReviews’ easy-to-use dashboard provides businesses control over social programs and visual content collection with predefined UGC channels. This allows companies to adjust on the fly and make sure the appropriate visual content is collected successfully to make product pages drive more sales–both organically and through paid ads.
Use Discounts & Promos to Encourage Clicks
Everyone loves a good deal, right?
Whether it’s a sale announcement, percentage-off or free shipping, having a special offer tacked onto your product listing ads is a brilliant move. The oft-cited statistic that free shipping is the No. 1 incentive for shoppers to make a purchase is rather telling, isn’t it?
Check out how Google displays various types of promos to help give searchers an extra reason to click.
Google allows you to create promotions manually or create a promotional feed that automatically updates your ads based on your most recent offers. Give shoppers the extra push to learn about your product and the benefits to choosing your company.
In the end, you’ll provide more context to buyers and stand out among the competition.
And with that, we wrap up our guide!
Ready to Set Up Your First Product Ad Campaign?
If you’re looking for a cost-effective avenue to raise brand awareness and win new customers, product listing ads can make it happen.
There’s a reason why brands big and small already rely on Google’s PPC platform. Prime advertising real estate? Robust analytics? The opportunity to leapfrog your competitors in the SERPs?
Hopefully, this guide on how to set up Google product listing ads can serve as a much-needed dose of inspiration and motivation to get started yourself. With these tips and tools such as PowerReviews, you can start running click-worthy ads sooner rather than later.
It’s only natural for businesses to strive for positive reviews of their product or service, right? After all, what brand or retailer actually likes receiving negative reviews from customers? Who wouldn’t want to receive a glowing review from a customer?
Plus, thanks to word-of-mouth marketing, we know just how powerful a positive review is for a brand. In fact, data from the Proven Power of Reviews report found 95% of consumers consult customer reviews prior to making a purchase. Seeing reviews with positive sentiment is the push customers need to turn from browsers to buyers.
But what happens when your brand receives negative reviews from customers? Do you throw in the towel and preemptively close up shop—or worse, reply with an equal amount of negativity?
Here’s the thing–negative reviews are not the end of the world.
Instead, this negative feedback can give brands and retailers a major leg-up–if you know how to leverage them properly.
What Role Do Reviews Play in the Customer Journey?
The power of customer opinion is one that shouldn’t be underestimated. Whether a customer chooses to give an opinion in a negative review, on social media or through a text with with a friend, you can be certain consumers share their experiences.
“Trust, encouraged by social media, significantly affects the intention to buy,” said Hajili. “Therefore, trust has a significant role in ecommerce by directly influencing intention to buy and indirectly influencing perceived usefulness.”
Online reviews help customers form educated opinions of a product or service, which is why word-of-mouth marketing is so powerful. Data from BrightLocal found 91% of shoppers between the ages 18-34 believe reviews are as trustworthy as personal recommendations.
People trust the feedback of other people, especially those they relate to the most. Despite this number, an Impact infographic showed only 33% of businesses continuously collect reviews for their products.
In addition, if customers are going to search for information about your product or service, why not make it easy for them to find? Online review engines like Yelp, TripAdvisor and Google are go-to sources, but collecting reviews across your product pages are what truly help your business and drive more sales.
For example, one instance where reviews on your site help more than review engines is SEO. By indexing review content from your product pages, you provide search engines with more unique content and long-tail keywords to organically rank.
How Negative Reviews Affect Purchases
Negative reviews affect consumer purchases in a plethora of ways–starting with product page abandonment or even to see why customers gave a bad report. When shopping online, customers want to feel empowered in their decision before making a purchase.
Consumers are driven to research every possible aspect of a product before purchasing, especially if the item is expensive. In fact, research from PowerReviews and Northwestern University found reviews are especially impactful for products that are considered to be of a higher price in their category.
As we looked at a highly-reviewed item like baby food, our data showed there’s more trust to increase spend on products with higher ratings.
Consumers Pay Special Attention to Negative Reviews
We know customers look at positive sentiment and it affects their decisions, but what about negative reviews? For starters, almost as many shoppers who trust positive reviews also prefer to read negative reviews before buying as well.
For example, consumers look at negative reviews for various reasons, such as:
Understand the biggest downfalls of the product product they’re researching
Identify any specific factors that might not work for them (i.e. if a a product caused an allergic reaction)
Learn how customers with negative experiences use the product
Balance consumer feedback to paint a better picture of the review content
On the flip side, customers aren’t searching for perfect five-star ratings to validate their purchase decisions. In fact, perfect reviews often come across as “too good to be true.” In the same PowerReviews and Northwestern study, data showed the average rating between 4.2 and 4.5 stars is more effective and realistic compared to a perfect 5.
Keep in mind, customers take the review into consideration, but they also judge the reviewer as well. If a customer can’t relate to the reviewer, they are likely to ignore that review.
For example, if a customer is scrolling reviews for this lip balm, this type of review may not impact their decision. Why? After seeing the reasoning behind the supposed negative review, customers see it’s due to a personal preference instead of actual product flaw. Some customer will care about bulky packaging, others will not.
How to Use Negative Reviews to Your Benefit
Reviews go beyond customers stating whether or not they like a product. They play a major role in shaping potential customers’ opinions as well as providing valuable insight to brands.
We know that customers rely heavily on feedback to gauge purchase decisions, but what about negative reviews?
Increase Conversion Rates
There’s an overwhelming amount of data that confirms just how important displaying reviews are to driving sales. Though it may seem obvious that if you include reviews on product pages, you see an uptick in conversions. But what’s telling is just how much they help.
A study from the Spiegel Research Center found just by displaying reviews, the chance of a customer converting increase by 270%.
Not only do online reviews drive higher conversion rates across the board, but they also have a significant impact on higher-priced item conversions when compared to lower-priced items. The same study from the Spiegel Research Center found when reviews were shown for a lower-priced product, the conversion rate increased by 109%.
However, when reviews were displayed for a more expensive product, the conversion rate increased by 380%.
That’s quite a leap.
In the mind of the customer, higher-priced items come with more risk. Therefore, the more information at the customer’s fingertips, the more confident they feel about making the purchase. The writing is on the wall: brands that provide a means for customers to learn about their product in an honest way will see a spike in sales.
Establish Trust & Authenticity
It all boils down to keeping things honest and open with your customers. Having negative reviews on your site shows customers you aren’t afraid of them understanding your product in its entirety or of them seeing the good, the bad and the ugly of other customers’ experience with your brand.
As counterintuitive as this may seem, this builds trust between you and your customers. It also reinforces that you are on your customers’ side and want to be fully transparent with them.
A recent analysis of the 7.8 million reviews in the PowerReviews network found that on average, one-star reviews yield more “helpful” votes than other ratings. This is because not only do negative reviews validate the authenticity of review content, but because negative reviews steer customers to products that best benefit their needs.
This negative review received a high “helpful” vote because it provides insight into what customers can expect to get with this particular product, not just that the product wasn’t what the reviewer anticipated.
Drive Improvement & Innovation
There’s no question that online reviews are full of valuable insight that can help you improve your products and your customers’ experience with your brand. Reviews serve as a gateway into consumers’ minds. They are the people who interact with your products, which means their customer feedback—both the good and bad–is extremely valuable.
This is why PowerReviews built Product Pulse, a sentiment analysis tool that can analyze and pull insights of all your review content at the product level. Product Pulse allows brands and retailers to dig even deeper into their review content to uncover product insights that might have been missed otherwise.
In a day and age where businesses want to cut the fat of unsuccessful products or find ways to make processes more efficient and cheaper, digging into negative reviews helps. When businesses don’t look into the commonalities of their negative feedback, they miss major product malfunctions or issues that potential customers see in reviews and abandon their cart.
How to Respond to Negative Reviews
We know the importance of using negative reviews, but how can brands take this feedback a step further?
How your company addresses a bad review can speak volumes about your brand and how you treat your customers. Not to mention, you’re showing both current and potential clients that you care about their feedback and opinions.
Consider the following when addressing a negative review:
Empathize with the customer’s frustration: However, don’t act like it’s the end of the world. It will only drive a customers’ frustration further.
Thank the customer for their feedback: Let customers know you value their input and provide a customer care phone number or on social, ask them to DM your account.
Offer a return, refund or exchange: Tell the customer you’re addressing the issue and not just sending a refund for a quick fix.
That's a "Yikes!" from us. Send us a DM with your order number, please. We'd like to make this right!
Ulta Beauty always does an amazing job answering to their customers’ concerns on social. By doing this, you have a better chance of turning a negative review into a positive experience.
How to Appropriately Reply
Think about how you want to reply to the customer as well. Remember, the bigger deal you make of the issue, the more likely the customer will feel they were scammed or mislead. So when you reply, consider how you should respond to negative reviews or feedback:
Public reply: Be curious, genuine, and professional as other customers and potential customers may see your reply. This is your chance things right with the person who left the negative review. It also demonstrates you care about your customers’ concerns and feedback.
Email reply: With an email reply, you’re respecting customers’ privacy. Even though you’re corresponding with them in private, there’s still a chance the customer could share your reply with the public or with family and friends. Treat any “private” correspondences as if they were public.
This reply from a clothing retailer is concise and polite. It also encourages the reviewer to reach out to the customer service team so they can remedy the issue. By taking the conversation offline, the brand can find out more details about the issue by focusing solely on that customer.
Let Negative Reviews Boost Your Authenticity
How your brand chooses to engage with negative reviews is just as important—if not more important—as responding to positive feedback. The way your brand handles the situation, ultimately leads to the growth of sales. Additionally, your actions provoke trustworthiness and identify areas of your product or service that need to be improved.
The bottom line: don’t ignore negative reviews. You could miss out on an opportunity for your business to shine.
Want more info on how PowerReviews helps brands and retailers increase review collection and boost sales? Reach out today to talk to one of our experts!