Just when we thought Amazon Prime two-day shipping couldn’t get any swifter, the e-commerce behemoth announced same-day delivery, sending shockwaves throughout the retail landscape. The move further raises the bar for consumer expectations, setting a new benchmark not just for delivery speed, but personalization. There’s no denying that the one-size-fits-all experience doesn’t work anymore. Shoppers today expect a seamless customer experience throughout the purchasing funnel, from initial exploration to browsing, purchasing, insurance, warranties and returns.
The question is, how can retailers continue to build efficiency into existing stores to evolve alongside these benchmark-setting brands? The answer is threefold. The approach requires striking a synergy between personalization, innovation and services.
Personalization and Upsell Opportunities
Personalization will continue to be one of the most important retail transformations in 2020. Brands on the leading edge will offer excellent customer experiences and tailored offerings, like insurance, that are effortlessly integrated into the checkout process.
One great example is Home Depot. Whether catering to weekend warriors or pros, the home improvement retailer has done a brilliant job addressing unique segments with tailored service solutions. Say you’re a do-it-yourselfer shopping for a fridge online. Once added to your cart, Home Depot’s seamless checkout experience makes suggestions along the way, offering relevant accessory recommendations, queuing up warranty services, and even scheduling white-glove delivery. Home Depot offers a personalized experience throughout the customer journey. In just a couple of clicks, shoppers can easily incorporate relevant accessories and extended warranties in a singular package.
Product Protection Plans
Home Depot isn’t the only one doing heavy lifting on the tech side. Amazon.com is leading the charge when it comes to protecting products that people rely on. The e-commerce titan has successfully built a platform that multiple warranty service providers (e.g., SquareTrade and Asurion) can plug into. On the front end, Amazon serves up dynamic customer experiences. On the back end, it has a number of factors that decide which service wins out. Things like price and customer reviews are all determining factors of the algorithm.
Therefore, whether shoppers are insuring a flat-screen TV, kindle device or the newest Alexa, customers can count on Amazon crowdsourcing a marketplace of suppliers to serve up what customers need.
Establishing Deeper Relationships
While sales and conversion have always been benchmarks for success, more retailers are focusing on frequency of store and site visits. No retailer wants a one-and-done customer who buys a TV on Black Friday and never returns. Not surprisingly, customers will return more frequently once brands have established a deeper relationship beyond buying physical merchandise. As Amazon has shown, next-day and same-day delivery options incentivize customers to shop more frequently.
There’s a multitude of ways to add value for shoppers, but ultimately we see it adopted through services that streamline the customer experience — e.g., credit card and financial services, as well as extended warranties and personalized insurance plans that dynamically prompt the right level of protection at the right time and the right price. For example, we’re in a new era of bespoke, bundled insurance policies that put customers at the center. Alongside increased customer engagement, retailers can see significant revenue opportunities by using innovative technologies that have the ability to leverage data science to serve up relevant insurance products at the right price. Solutions like this can drive the highest possible conversions and be a win-win for both customers and retailers.
Undoubtedly, taking a customer-centric approach will ensure big wins for retailers. I don’t have to remind you that we live in a world of incredibly savvy shoppers. Customers are wildly sophisticated, and they cannot be fooled. The retailers that stay ahead of their customers will come out on top.
It comes down to two simple pillars: saving time and money. Devise a strategy focused on solving these pain points and your customers will always come back for more.
Peter Paine is head of strategic retail partnerships, Americas at Cover Genius, one of the fastest growing insurtechs globally.
Peter Paine is Head of Strategic Retail Partnerships, Americas at Cover Genius, one of the fastest growing insurtechs globally. In his role, Peter is responsible for leading and executing partnerships for some of the biggest retail brands in Americas while delivering best-in-class user experience. Cover Genius has received dozens of awards within insurance and tech circles for its patent-pending platform and global capability that ensures user-centricity throughout the entire customer journey, an approach that has led to global partnerships with Booking.com (NASDAQ:BKNG), among others. Before Cover Genius, Peter was leading the product warranty and financial services team at eBay U.S. Prior to that, Peter spent 5-years at Walmart.com as the Head of Product Care Plan business. Peter has an MBA from Penn State and BA from Indiana University.