It’s no secret that the pandemic changed the way many of us shop. In a more remote world, brands and retailers’ digital efforts have expanded by leaps and bounds in a short time due to necessity. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of this rapid expansion has been a misalignment of information across the countless channels that brands use to connect with consumers.
By enriching commerce offerings, brands can work to ensure accuracy and uniformity of experience, which keeps customers happy while fueling loyalty and retention efforts.
Product Experience is a Key Component of Customer Experience
Digital commerce is taking up larger and larger portions of the overall retail landscape. Nearly two-thirds of consumers (62 percent) report that they shop online more now than they did prior to the pandemic. This shift to a more digital audience has caused increased competition in the online retail space.
Competition is typically good for the consumer; in an effort to attract and delight the most customers possible, brands have begun investing heavily in user experience. Many of these efforts are beneficial, such as rich content and multimedia experiences, search engine optimization to provide the best relevance, and better merchandising to get the right products in front of the right customer. However, one of the most obvious and basic components of customer experience, accurate and detailed product information, is an area where brands can do even more to see real results.
We’ve all been there: cross-referencing product names and SKUs across multiple retailers in order to cobble together a complete picture of a product’s description and specifications. It’s no surprise that the brands that invest in completeness and accuracy within their product experience tend to fare better than those that don’t. One recent Akeneo survey found that 48 percent of consumers would be willing to pay more for a better and more compelling shopping experience.
Focusing on product information is often seen as an afterthought for many brands, particularly those that manage extensive inventories. This investment in a transparent product experience, however, reverberates across all omnichannel customer experience efforts. Even the best, most compelling consumer targeting efforts are wasted if the product experience doesn’t align with the expectations the customer has for the product. That same survey revealed that four in five consumers would abandon a planned purchase if product information was flawed or inconsistent.
Building Loyalty Through Transparency and Consistency
There are countless factors that contribute to customer loyalty and retention, but a major one is consistency. If a consumer knows what to expect from a brand, and gets the same positive experience time after time, that can go a long way to building a loyal customer.
By enriching e-commerce offerings and emphasizing transparency and alignment of product information across channels, brands signal to customers an investment in consistency. Setting expectations for the exact product a customer will receive helps reduce returns, increase repeat purchases, and build positive brand interactions.
As the number of selling channels continues to grow, it can be harder for brands to keep up with product information integrity. For those that set it as a mandate, however, it aligns the entire brand experience around transparency. When a customer knows that they’re going to get the same experience regardless of where they encounter a brand or its products, that can serve as a foundation for loyalty. When 66 percent of consumers say they would cease buying a brand due to a bad product information experience, these steps are essential in the long term.
Customer experience, in many cases, ends with the product in the customer’s hands. When brands put the product experience front and center though, it aligns the entire customer experience around transparent brand interactions that become the bedrock of long-term customer retention.
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