3 Ways to Maintain Consistency Between In-Store and Online Customer Experiences
With an increasing shift away from brick-and-mortar stores to online options, it has never been more important for brand manufacturers to cultivate an engaging, online experience. The strategic use of mobile apps, flagship websites and social media can help evoke familiar in-store messaging and feel so that brands can create a captivating, virtual in-store experience through any device, anywhere, 24/7.
The following are three solutions to help keep the online consumer engaged and coming back for more:
- Consistent Messaging: It's vital to maintain a consistent image and message, however, when your products are sold across multiple online retailers, maintaining consistency can be a challenge. Thankfully, there are tools that can help ease the manual process of gathering such large amounts of information online. For example, research tools that automatically gather all product descriptions, including images, from online retailers to analyze in real time how well a retailer is complying with established brand guidelines.
- High Definition Imagery and Virtual Video: The best way to represent the in-store experience online is to recreate a high-quality virtual representation of a product. With the capabilities of new media technology, shoppers can tour, in detail, all types of merchandise from any retailer in their living room. However, the experience might not be the same across different retail outlets. While one retailer may settle for an approved brand image that's scaled down to reduce page load times, another may use last year’s image or create their own in-house. Yet another retailer may use an incorrect image or video altogether. Creating visual brand cohesion is critical to maximizing conversion rates, especially if you’re in an industry where ingredients are updated often.
- Consistent Pricing: This could be the most important and toughest retail challenge for brands of all types. Whether at a brick-and-mortar location or surfing the net, consumers have the right to expect to pay the same amount for any given product. Yet with so many online avenues to purchase, there's an increasing threat of price alteration by marketplace sellers looking to offload product quickly and cheaply, without a manufacturer’s consent. Not only is this a surefire way to confuse and lose customers that may have paid more than others (one of the most frustrating experiences for any shopper), it can simultaneously devalue a brand to the point of no return. This is why it's vital for brands to monitor their prices online. With the right online monitoring tools, brands can maintain control over pricing in cyberspace.
From established name brands to market newcomers, manufacturers and retailers are working overtime to understand current and potential customer browsing patterns and buying behaviors. When armed with a website that mimics the brick-and-mortar experience, brand manufacturers charged with brand identity and performance are more capable of not only driving sales, but also of creating a more familiar, engaging and enjoyable online experience for their customers.
Reza Farhangi is the director of strategic initiatives at PriceSpider, a retail technology company specializing in products and solutions that provide invaluable insight into consumer purchasing behavior.
Reza Farhangi serves as director of strategic initiatives at PriceSpider, where he works to build strong, long-lasting relationships with clients and strategic partners. A thoughtful listener and an insatiable learner, he uses his experience, his creativity, and his grit to help lead the development of current and future products. Prior to becoming PriceSpider’s director of strategic initiatives, Farhangi served the company as both a product owner and senior technical account manager. Before joining PriceSpider, he held positions with progressive levels of responsibility at both multinational corporations and community-focused organizations, including NewLeaf Supportive Services, DMG Technologies and Delta Airlines. Farhangi graduated from the University of Phoenix with a degree in Business Management and received his MBA from Chapman University. He currently resides in Irvine, Calif.