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.

new voice media infographic example

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.

target customer care ideas

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.

Target Facebook Customer Care

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.

Target Instagram Customer Care Ideas

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.

ask target customer care ideas

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.

Email by Name Example

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.

chanel personal message example

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.

“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.

Boot Boyz Biz Customer Care Example

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.

sephora arriving soon example

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.

sephora email example

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.

reformation instagram example

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.

southwest customer care idea

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.

Nordstrom return language example

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.

Sephora class enrollment

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.

dollar shave club educational content

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.

the nordys club message

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?

Journey IQ customer checklist

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.

SMS invite for journeyIQ

Want to see a demo of Journey IQ? Contact our team today!

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.

Good luck!

Francesca Nicasio

Francesca Nicasio is a writer and content strategist specializing in B2B content for companies in the retail, technology and SMB space.

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.

While this appears innovative compared to most in-person stores, it still lacks the detail available online. Customers cannot read, search, sort or filter reviews the way they can on the internet.

In addition, these electronic tags appear surprisingly low-tech. They use the Kindle style “ink text,” rather than LED display, which limits the colors and graphics available for customization.

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!

Yeti

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.

SPAM

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.

Nordstrom

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.

updated reviews example at Amazon

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.

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.

criquet online review example

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.

Main Takeaways

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.

Ben Tannenbaum

Ben Tannenbaum works on the Renewals and Account Management team at PowerReviews. He is always happy to grab a spot of tea and chat about current events, books, baseball or Big Ten football.

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.

Marketing Charts graph in consumers learning about brands

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.

smart insights graphic

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
  • Sees you mentioned in an influencer post featuring a promo code
  • Checks out your brand’s Instagram
  • Scans through your feed–featuring other user-generated content
  • 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?

For some, it might be through product listing ads based off of a Google search.

compact tents google search

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.

Amazon Headphones Search

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.

vans ratings and reviews graphic

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.

Brassy Bra Facebook example

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.

Julian tables search

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.

Room and Board Last Consideration

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.

Room and Board Review Snapshot Example

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.

Revolve Sale Example

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).

Smallwoods facebook example

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!

Kat Von D Beauty Customer Message

Experimenting with different customer retention strategies clues you in on how to keep folks in your funnel for the long haul.

Part 5: Advocacy

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.

Skechers 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.

Share your style with skechers example

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.

skechers review snapshot

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.

Journey IQ customer checklist

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.

SMS invite for journeyIQ

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.

Brent Barnhart

Brent Barnhart is a professional writer and content critic. When he’s not battling the latest buzzwords, you can often find him strumming the nearest guitar. Feel free to bug him on Twitter or check out his website brentwrites.com.

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:

Ratings and reviews partner banner

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.

woobox shipping rate example

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.

Get Shipping Estimates Website Example

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.

madewell checkout example

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.

fabletics shopping cart example

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.

fabletics VIP checkout discounts

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.

invesp infographic of abandon shopping cart stats

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.

urban outfitters guest checkout example

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.

amazon checkout example

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.

Amazon Save for Later Option

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.

Glossier Product Page Ad Example

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 Facebook product Ad

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.

security checkout example

  • 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.

Various Payment Methods in shopping cart example

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.

Adidas Email Cart Abandonment Example

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.

vans ratings and reviews graphic

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.

room and board page graphic from powerreviews

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.

Roolee Chat Example

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 superstore checkout example

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.

MAC Search Results with SEO seller ratings

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.

Looking for a way to reduce your cart abandonment rates with customer reviews and ratings? Reach out today and connect with one of our experts!

Kat Ambrose

Kat Ambrose is a writer who specializes in creating value-packed blog content for ecommerce and SaaS companies. When she's not writing, you can find her out running, checking out a thriller novel—or two—from the library, or trying to pet the nearest dog. Say hi on Twitter or check out her website Katambrose.com.

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.

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.

nutrisystem customer stories examples

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.

sleepingbaby brand story

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.

nutrisystem brand story

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.

modcloth customer story

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.

married in modcloth customer story

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:

Visual and social suite banner

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 reviews snapshot example

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.

visual and social display Room and Board example

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.

That’s huge.

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.

influencer and sampling suite advanced targeting example

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.

SMS invite for journeyIQ

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.

Journey IQ customer checklist

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.

thirdlove customer story

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.

francesca's customer reviews

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.

the north face instagram bio

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.

instagram story contest from Shine

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.

athletic greens customer story

  • 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.

belly bandit customer stories website example

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.

Turn Customer Quotes Into Shareable Images

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.

Use Email to Showcase Stories

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 email customer story example

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!

Francesca Nicasio

Francesca Nicasio is a writer and content strategist specializing in B2B content for companies in the retail, technology and SMB space.

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.

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.

7. Apple: “Think different.”

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.

11. Marriott: “Quiet luxury. Crafted experiences. Intuitive service.”

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.

12. Walmart: “Save money. Live better.”

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.

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.

But you know what’s scary?

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.

Journey IQ customer checklist

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!

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