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customer experience

Typical online purchases involve seven steps taking three hours

Shoppers work through several stages before making a significant buy via the internet, which includes spending at least 35 minutes deciding whether a purchase is absolutely necessary.

Following that, an online search for a product or service, including on social media sites, will take place over the next 33 minutes.

And the survey of 2,000 adults found an average of 30 minutes is then spent reading online reviews and recommendations, with the average shopper avoiding a purchase if something has less than 3.4 stars out of five.

While one in 10 wouldn’t buy something with 99 five-star ratings if it has just a single one-star review.

Half an hour will also be spent narrowing down the choices between brands by comparing to other similar products for price and quality.

Other steps include sharing potential purchases with friends or family, putting something into a virtual basket – then the final hurdle of completing the transaction.

The research was commissioned by Vision Direct, whose CMO, Ashley Mealor, said: “As purchasers are spending so long scouring reviews, it is so important for businesses, especially those operating online, to be accurately and fairly represented.

“We recognise there are some brands which have reviews that cannot be trusted, as those writing them have been incentivised to do so.

“Implemented for the main purpose of generating favourable online appraisals, the concept of proposing incentives or hosting competitions can be misleading and skew authenticity.

“It’s encouraging to see platforms such as Trustpilot, starting to take great steps to ensure it is a level playing field for all by revising regulations and stopping all consumer incentives – to address a controversial grey area.

“With the prevalence of dishonest reviews online, the seven stages of shopping feels like a sensible way of ensuring a purchase – particularly one of value – is made well.

“You are then not just relying on reviews, but also word of mouth, social media, customer service and brand comparisons.”

The research also found 62 per cent of respondents think of themselves as ‘considered’ purchasers – who don’t buy without thoroughly researching the item first.

However, 14 per cent are happy to describe themselves as an ‘impulse’ buyer, who shops first then asks questions later.

But Brits would not consider something to be a ‘significant’ purchase if it fell below the £163 price point – and the last time they spent more than £100, they deliberated for eight days.

And 31 per cent are more likely to make a significant buy online, while 25 per cent would rather do it face-to-face – with the remainder not caring either way.

Although consumers are more likely to be suckered by an impulse purchase in a real-life store, than by something they see online (30 per cent vs 23 per cent.)

It also emerged that in order to ‘fully trust’ a brand, Brits want to receive their goods in perfect condition (45 per cent), experience super-quick delivery (26 per cent) and be on the receiving end of exceptional customer service (41 per cent).

But while 78 per cent of shoppers leave online reviews after using a company, just under half are more likely to do so if they are offered an incentive like money off their next order, or a chance to win a prize.

However, a huge 83 per cent of those polled via OnePoll believe unscrupulous sites or brands often put up fake positive reviews to try and trick people into buying their goods.

Ashley Mealor added: “Our study found online reviews to be hugely important to lots of people – half say they are important, especially when considering eyewear or eye medication.

“It can be hard sometimes to know whether an online review can be trusted, particularly where your health is concerned.

“This is where the fifth stage of shopping – getting real-world feedback from people you know in real life – can be hugely beneficial.

“If somebody you know and trust is willing to recommend something that word-of-mouth review is worth its weight in gold to any manufacturer.”

THE SEVEN STAGES OF SHOPPING
1. Deciding on a need for something – 35 minutes
2. An online search for the product you want including social media sites – 33 minutes
3. Reading online reviews and going through recommendations – 29 minutes
4. Narrowing down between brands by comparing to other similar products for price and quality – 31 minutes
5. Share links with friends and family – 14 minutes
6. Getting something into your online or real-life basket – 19 minutes
7. Actually making the purchase – 24 minutes
TOTAL – 185 minutes – 3 hours and 5 minutes

Don’t trick your customers this Halloween, treat them with spooktastic content

By Katharine Biggs, Content and Marketing Manager at parcelLab

When I read that notonthehighstreet.com searches for Halloween are up 889% and already features in its top five search terms, I had to stop and think for a second: it’s still only just September, right? And we’re talking about 2020 – the year when Covid-19 turned the retail world upside down and left many bricks and mortar stores with no other option but to shut their doors for good. And then of course there is the long-term economic impact which last month saw the UK declared officially in a recession for the first time in 11 years. 

As summer draws to a close, I’m sure many of us find ourselves in this position every year, asking ‘Where has this year gone?’ But this has been a year like no other and now we find ourselves with 79* days left until Black Friday and 107* days left until Christmas for brands and retailers to navigate what the “new normal” will look like, adapt and prepare for what is traditionally the ‘peakiest’ season in the retail calendar. 

But Halloween is usually a slightly different story. Generally, this high level of searching and buying activity isn’t expected until October but still with 52* days to go until Halloween, it seems that consumers are already planning out their frightful activities. Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a complete surprise; for three-months, families were confined to their homes and staying in has become the new going out. So if you can’t go out trick-or-treating under social distancing rules, what better way for families to celebrate than in their own haunted house? 

According to Leanne Osbourne, Commercial Director at notonthehighstreet: “Customer searches for Halloween products such as unique food and drink, partyware, decorations, games & activities and clothing/accessories traditionally increase around mid-September, but this year searches began in early August as customers are planning further ahead for special occasions and celebrating key dates in the diary with loved ones at home.”

Yet the almost 900% increase that notonthehighstreet has reported wouldn’t usually be expected until the week before Halloween itself. 

Where are shoppers turning for inspiration? The digital screen in their home or pocket, of course. Great news for ecommerce, multi- and omni-channel retailers! Well, yes. But only if you are making the most of this opportunity by maximising value for your customers, and that includes after they have checked out. The post-purchase phase of the customer journey, where customers are tracking their delivery via email and text updates, is a prime time to put all your Halloween marketing efforts to good use. 

With open rates as high as 75% – significantly higher than the standard marketing emails that brands and retailers might put out – these email updates are a great opportunity to engage your customer and offer them something of value – which, in the spirit of Halloween, could be anything from how-to video tutorials, decoration inspiration, candy treats or ghoulish recipe ideas and other themed content that shows you, as a brand or retailer, care about your customer beyond the sale. That’s the foundation of long-term brand loyalty right there. As well as letting them know how, when and who will be delivering their items, it’s an opportunity to up- and cross-sell complementary products that will add to their Halloween festivities and ensure that they don’t go looking elsewhere for it. 

It’s all about communication. Create an open dialogue through this channel with your customers and give them an exceptional customer experience. Show them that you’ve got this covered and they’ll be coming back for more, well after the fake cobwebs have been dusted from the party – in prime time for the peak season to come. 

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 

5 steps to optimising conversion rates with customer journey timelines

Over the last few months, as consumer behaviour naturally changed and evolved throughout lockdown and beyond, like many of our customers, you may have seen a massive rise in the volume of visits to your website.

In order to help you convert more opportunities and capitalise on increased traffic, Go Inspire Group have created our 5-step guide to getting more conversions. 

Step 1: Cluster all interactions into Customer Journey Timelines

Disparate visits from thousands of users should be clustered into customer journey timelines that group all interactions a known, or unknown individual makes with your website, across all channels, in one place.

This displays something more closely related to the customer’s actual purchase journey behaviour, as well as highlighting how different channels and campaigns are working together to drive traffic to your website. 

Step 2: Identify Individuals

Identifying whether an individual is a known customer, unknown repeat visitor or phantom visitor can inform your decision whether to deliver personalised messages through CRM activity, to invest in targeted acquisition remarketing and paid search, or to suppress your marketing from individuals unlikely to convert. 

Step 3: Segment your visitors based on engagement

Segmenting visitors to your website based on engagement, value bands and channel preference empowers you to develop bespoke marketing campaigns for Retention and Acquisition.

Overlaying your existing customer segmentation from Single Customer View and CRM data can allow you to build a rich picture of your customers and join the dots between your online and offline worlds. 

Step 4: Filter out the noise

Picture yourself walking past a store of any kind with motion sensors on their entrance doors. If you trigger the doors but do not enter the store – should you be classed as a meaningful visit? 

No, you are what we consider to be a ‘phantom’.

The reality is, around 98% of visitors to your website are probably phantom visitors – who land, bounce and then never return. 

Removing phantoms delivers significant benefits across your digital marketing for example:

  • improve quality scores by removing those who will never convert from your remarketing selections
  • get an accurate read of how acquisition campaigns are performing by only including meaningful visits
  • supress existing customers from acquisition campaigns to avoid wasted spend

By first removing the phantoms to ‘filter out the noise’, only then you can begin to understand your website’s true performance.

Step 5: Optimise marketing spend

By completing steps 1-4, you can begin to truly understand the true cost and profitability of all journeys, to know which channels are working well and which need further optimisation.

You can now focus on retaining the right customers by creating a marketing strategy that moves customers into the most profitable bands, applying your understanding of customer engagement, channel preference and stage in journey to tailor messages to an individual customer’s need.

What results can you expect to see from this approach?

This approach to optimisation typically delivers the following results:

  • 13%-16% saving on digital marketing spend
  • 14% increase in conversion from Abandoned Baskets remarketing 
  • Saving of 1-2p per click on social and paid search with improved quality scores
  • 2-5% more emails landed in inboxes with improved sender reputation
  • Save 10% on social, dm and display ad by selecting most engaged customers for campaigns

How can you achieve all the above?

Simply email info@goinspire.co.uk discover how Digital Playback can solve your attribution headache and optimise your conversion rates.

Digital Playback is our unique attribution platform, that enables you to optimise your conversion rates and marketing spend by clustering every interaction an individual makes, across all channels and devices, in one journey.

Check out our webinar

Nick Greatrex, Digital Director at Go Inspire Insight, shares his thoughts on improving conversion by solving the digital marketing attribution headache, check out the webinar here [17min to view].

How is image recognition software transforming the customer experience?

Across the world, the image recognition market is expected to reach $38.9 billion by 2021. Clearly, this technology is growing in use and demand — but why? 

Many industries differ with regard to how they use new tech products, and the same applies to image recognition software. From improving the customer experience to streamlining operational procedures, Precision Printing — a specialist personalised wallpaper — explores how the software works and why it could enhance business…

What is image recognition technology?

Essentially, this technology is designed to retrieve, process, examine, and interpret pictures, photos and high-dimensional data. It takes this from the ‘real world’ and produces useful information in multiple formats. This could be anything from uploading a photo of a group of friends to Facebook that automatically tags each person to their accounts, to taking a digital fingerprint scan in order to determine a person’s identity. 

Partly because 80% of the content online is visual, image recognition technology is rapidly growing and is becoming more and more adept at mimicking human vision and understanding. 

How is it transforming customer engagement and business processes? 

Generally, image recognition software is benefitting industries across the board. Many companies now have a digital presence, whether on social media or via an online store. A major advantage of this technology is that it can offer real-time insights into consumer behaviour — but not only your consumers. Visual analytics will allow you to monitor the consumer behaviour of your competitors, which will allow you to address their concerns within your own campaigns and potentially attract them to your brand instead.

Keeping an eye on your online competitors is essential — but tricky. With image recognition software, you can now find similar content to what your brand is putting out on social media and track down social mentions of your company — no more manual, time-consuming searches. Not only will this help you monitor the competition in your industry, but it will also allow you to be more responsive to marketing opportunities that would otherwise have been missed and pick up on trends that may be flying under the radar. 

Many brands are opting to launch apps — not a surprise considering that it’s predicted that global gross app revenue will hit $102 billion by 2020. Clearly, there is money to be made and customers to be won with apps, but how does image recognition assist? This technology can help brands boost engagement levels with their consumers, letting them extend beyond the standard boundaries of online and offline and making the app more immersive. As a result, promotional material and discount offers should be able to pack a greater punch and potentially offer a greater ROI. 

How image recognition affects individual industries 

This technology offers opportunities for all brands and sector — but which in particular are already seeing benefits? 

Fashion

Image recognition promises to play a major role in the fashion industry. Firstly, a consumer, when leafing through a magazine, can use image recognition software on their mobile devices to scan a product they’re interested in and land straight onto its product page or relevant online marketing content, which could increase the chances of a conversion. Similarly, consumers can upload images of clothes they like and shop online for similar or complementary products — streamlining the shopping experience. 

From a brand perspective, image recognition makes picking up on trends much easier and quicker — due to the rapid evolution of trends in this sector, this could prove invaluable. 

Automotive 

The automotive industry is also benefitting from image recognition technology. Self-driving vehicles are an emerging market and they’re being developed with the assistance of image recognition. To ensure that self-driving cars are safe, they need to be able to detect hazards immediately and make informed decisions regarding their next action to avoid causalities. That’s where image recognition comes in. With this technology, self-drive car sensors will be able to spot dangers on the road in the same way as a human motorist does, reacting in a way that should avoid crashes and accidents. 

Although we’re still a while away from having motorways full of self-driving vehicles, image recognition is certainly already playing a part in the automotive industry and will help some brands in the sector capitalise on a trend that may be huge in the future. 

Healthcare 

Image recognition software is also a useful tool for healthcare professionals. The technology is currently being used to help process the huge numbers of medical images that need verifying and checking in the sector. As a result, doctors can diagnose conditions and diseases at faster rates and with great accuracy, meaning less stress for the patient and easing the pressure on the doctor when it comes to arranging the best course of action.   

Image recognition is a growing technology that looks set to benefit companies on many levels. Are you clued up on how it can help your business in 2018? 

Sources: 

https://mobgen.com/image-recognition-can-beneficial-company/

https://www.upwork.com/hiring/data/how-image-recognition-works/

https://www.itproportal.com/features/a-guide-to-ai-image-recognition/

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Hyper everything: How tech integration is changing customer communication

By Michael Wright, CEO, Striata 

A raft of new technologies, many of which are easily integrated into existing channels, are changing the way organisations communicate with their customers. 

Chatbots, voice integration, and dynamic (hyper-personalised) content, amongst others are at the forefront of this evolution. But organisations cannot simply implement these technologies and expect dramatic improvements in their customer communication efforts. 

Instead, they have to ensure that any new technologies are utilised in line with the broader goals of customer communication; that is, making communication as valuable to the customer as possible.   

AI and meeting customer needs

With any form of customer communication, the aim should always be to move with the customer through their stages of life and offer the customer appropriate services at each stage. 

So, for example, in the insurance world, a customer may start with renter’s insurance as a single person and move to homeowner’s insurance, car insurance and life insurance as their personal circumstances change. 

Here, artificial intelligence (AI) has an important role to play. In the customer communication space especially, AI-based systems are useful for predicting user behaviour and providing content based on that prediction to prompt the user’s next action.

Organisations are already seeing the value AI provides in this regard, integrating it into email, billing, and mobile payments, all of which contain forms of customer communication. 

AI is also driving the use of chatbots, which appear on websites and instant messaging services, as automated virtual assistants.  

Not only are chatbots useful for customer service,  but also for invoicing and payment collections.  

The rise of voice 

But good customer communication isn’t just about baking new technologies into existing channels. It also means embracing the technologies your customers are actually using. 

One example of this is voice recognition.  

By 2020, Gartner predicts that 30% of web browsing will occur without a screen. And 55% of American teenagers will use speech recognition, daily. 

It’s only natural, therefore, that customers will want to interact with organisations via voice. Any organisation that invests in integrating voice technology into its customer communications now stands to give itself that extra edge over its competitors.    

Micro-segmentation and hyper-personalisation 

If an organisation is going to integrate these technologies successfully, it needs to ensure that it couples them with real-time data to deliver more relevant content, product and service information to each user. 

The more information an organisation has on each customer, the more meaningful and valuable its communication will be. 

Broadly referred to as hyper-personalisation and micro-segmentation, this use of data means being able to provide content that is relevant on the day / month / life stage of that customer. It allows the company to provide information that improves the customer experience due to the very personal nature of the content. 

Moreover, hyper-personalisation is proven to build loyalty and trust, that ultimately makes customers more profitable. 

A dual approach

Putting the customer back in the centre of customer communication requires more than technology alone. Like the human-centred design approach (putting the customer at the core of the product design process), communication design should be too.

Asking customers directly what content they want to receive, when and how, is invaluable to the design process. This dual approach enables the organisation to combine preference and engagement data (technology), with input obtained directly from the people best suited to design the process: customers and employees (humans). 

By taking this integrated approach, organisations can ensure that they provide customers with the kind of communication they need and want. 

About the author – Michael Wright launched Striata in 1999.  A Chartered Accountant by profession, he started his career at PwC where he was responsible for Internet Strategy & Services and Business Information Services. The technology bug having firmly bit, he moved to VWV Interactive as Managing Director before founding Striata. He was the founder of the South African chapter of First Tuesday, the “Global Thought Leadership Network”. As Striata’s CEO, Wright is responsible for the company’s vision, mission and the business’ global expansion

Hyper everything: how tech integration is changing customer communication 

By Michael Wright, CEO, Striata 

GUEST BLOG: The changing face of customer loyalty

New research shows that 76% of consumers admit they would switch to a competitor if they have just one bad experience with a brand they like.

On the flipside, over half of consumers say that once they’re loyal to a brand, they’re loyal for life. This offers the question – how loyal are consumers actually being towards their favourite brands, and what will it take for a consumer to have a bad experience? 

Dino Forte, CEO at Ventrica, investigates…

Gaining loyal consumers and advocates is something most brands aim for; but given the research, how far can this really be stretched? Unfortunately, many brands take loyalty for granted. The brands that hold a monopoly over a market, with unique products or services that can’t be found elsewhere, are often the strongest culprits of this, knowing their customers will continue to return regardless of the customer service they provide.

However, even in this situation, delivering a customer experience (CX) that meets the customer’s expectations and needs, is critical. Even for organisations in industries such as utilities where many consumers stay with their provider to avoid the hassle of switching, CX is still key. After all, it is six times more expensive to win new business than to retain it; showing how essential it is for organisations to look after their customers, even if they are confident they won’t leave.

New touchpoints and skilled staff

The fact is, delivering a CX that enables an organisation to remain competitive and encourage the customer to return is a big challenge. With numerous touchpoints now available to today’s consumer – from social media, to the organisation’s website, webchat and phone calls – how can a brand ensure it reaches its customers across all channels but provide the same experience, irrespective of channel?

All consumers will agree that a ‘bad’ CX involves a frustrating experience, long waiting times, unanswered questions, unknowledgeable staff, faulty products or simply not being listened to. Can we really blame them if an experience like this makes them want to switch to a competitor?

However, it doesn’t need to be like this. An organisation’s contact centre should form the heart of the CX it provides, with a trained, dedicated team ready to answer queries and resolve any issues the customer may have experienced across multiple channels. A customer service team should completely embody the persona of the brand; understanding who the customer is, what issue they’re facing and how it can be resolved in a quick, seamless manner that leaves the customer satisfied and eager to purchase a product or service again.

If a bad experience strikes, an organisation can’t blame a customer for wanting to look elsewhere. It’s therefore essential for organisations to put measures in place to ensure that all channels are equipped to provide the best CX possible – so that a customer’s loyalty never comes into question at all.

GUEST BLOG: Customer Experience – The latest silo in the marketing mix

Joey Moore, Head of Product Marketing, Episerver

For years, marketers have talked—and written—extensively about the disconnect between marketing and IT. Who should own email lists and sensitive data? Who should have access to the website CMS? Who should decide which marketing automation platforms to install? These are just a few of the questions that have plagued the marketing/IT debate.

In 2019 however, this debate finally feels like it’s come to a close. According to new research from Episerver, 93 percent of marketers now have the ability to directly edit their company’s website, while 80 percent expect to have complete ownership over their brand’s web presence within the next two years.

Instead of seeing this as a ‘land grab’ from IT, however, 62 percent of marketers say they are simply working collaboratively with their IT departments in order to reduce silos and ensure the best customer experiences. While this is great news for customers, the problem of marketing silos has not gone away for good. Instead, a new debate has started to rage—this time between marketers and the new wave of customer experience (CX) professionals.

Over the last few years, customer experience has become a central topic for most businesses, with as many as 35 percent hiring specific teams and individuals to manage the CX journey. In contrast, only 45 percent of marketers feel they have genuine autonomy over the customer experience, with many feeling that CX teams aren’t delivering the same quality of experience that marketers themselves would provide if they were in charge.

As a result, Episerver’s research shows that as many as 80 percent of marketers are planning to take over the CX role by 2020, removing the need for standalone customer experience departments and professionals.

While new technologies are making it easier than ever for marketers to control elements of the customer experience, by attempting to force out CX teams, marketers are falling into the exact same trap they did with IT.

Just as IT teams work across so much more than just marketing technologies, today’s CX teams also provide a far more all-encompassing view. Working with customer service departments, contact centres, HR and employee training courses, the remit of today’s CX professionals goes well beyond just marketing. Given this fact, marketers should be careful about biting off more than they can chew.

Instead, what is needed is a joint approach, one in which marketing and CX teams work together and collaborate in the best interests of the end customer. Technology can enable this collaboration, providing a seamless link through which marketing and customer experience teams can decide the CX direction of their company and ensuring it’s implemented across all levels of the brand. This will be the future of CX, not total marketing ownership, but technology-driven collaboration.