This is part 1 of our 4 part Customer Journey Stages series. Click below to view the following stages:
- Part 2: Outreach and Promotions
- Part 3: Avoiding Missed Deliveries and Improving CX
- Part 4: Credit Collection with Proactive Messaging
Black Friday is by far one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Shoppers flock to their local stores and hop online to get their hands on the products they love, at deeply discounted prices. As a result, shoppers were expected to spend more than £5 billion on Black Friday in 2017.
But this exciting shopping experience isn’t without its headaches — for shoppers and retailers alike. Issues like low inventory, poor website navigation, and unclear customer expectations create friction points that prevent shoppers from converting. Instead, they leave in search of other sales.
Even with the addition of the Golden Quarter, which extends holiday shopping from one or two days to months in advance of the holiday season, customers still face issues that affect their progress through the customer journey.
In this four piece article, we take a closer look at the customer journey and how it works, the friction customers experience along the way, and the strategies to use to remove or minimize the friction.
First, lets take a look at how you can learn more about your customers using surveys, and follow up with early stage targeted promotions.
How to Solve Catastrophic Friction Points in the Digital Customer Journey [PDF]
Survey customers to gather insights and cater to specific needs
A big part of being able to reduce friction early on in the customer journey is knowing who your customers are and what they expect from you.
As you gather customer data — through surveys, purchase information, and conversations — begin to create buyer personas to help categorize customers.
Who your customers are will dictate how you connect with them and what type of touch points they need to stay engaged and move through the customer journey.
For example, for tech-savvy millennials interested in your products, reach out to them via social media and highlight how your product helps solve their pain points. If they’re shopping for a new laptop in October, talk about the speed and power of the laptops you sell to prime these shoppers for a sale.
However, knowing who your customers are and what they are interested in is the first hurdle to overcome.
What you can do: Gather customer insights with SMS surveys to build a persona
Gathering customer information can be a challenge. Are you contacting the right people, and will they actually fill out the survey? Using automated SMS chat-bot you can ensure you’re talking to the right person, and from there, gather data based on preset questions. With Rich Media Messaging you can gather more in-depth data and deliver an app like experience, without requiring the customer to download an app. This method also has high engagement rates.
Once you have your personas — you only need two or three to start — segment shoppers so that you know who they are and what they want. For example, figure out how shoppers find you. Segment those who find you on social media vs. through PPC ads vs. direct messaging. This helps you know how to target the same types of shoppers in the future.
Next, figure out which metrics to track. It’s easy to look at the number of new leads you get per day, but that doesn’t tell you anything. You want to know what kinds of customers take advantage of early sales. What do they buy? What kind of communication are they most responsive to? Also look at metrics such as click-through rate, response rate, and engagement to get a sense of what’s working in the early stages of the funnel and what’s not.
Use our analytics feature to track the response rates of your marketing strategies, the performance of your support staff, and even the effectiveness of your campaigns. Combined, all of this insight helps you create strategies that attract your target audience early in the Golden Quarter and allows you to cater to them in a way that reduces friction.
Engage with shoppers early in the customer journey to reduce friction
With the start of the Golden Quarter fast approaching, imagine creating a series of ads to share via social media and PPC advertising strategies. The ads might result in lots of traffic to your site, with people browsing the product pages. But what if no one buys anything?
The problem is that even though you’ve done a good job of attracting new shoppers to your site, chances are you haven’t made it clear what they should do next. Shoppers know that you want them to buy something, but they are hesitant.
Their hesitation affects how they move through the customer journey, from awareness to advocacy.
What you’ll notice in this customer-journey example are the number of touch points meant to keep customers engaged and moving forward. Asking for a sale immediately doesn’t show them the value you offer or encourage them to buy — even with a discount.
This is where many retailers go wrong in the journey, which hurts customer experience and causes friction. Too much friction, such as unclear benefits or a poorly designed website or app, causes frustration that prompts shoppers to leave and find a deal elsewhere.
What you can do: Reach out to customers early proactively
Engage with shoppers early on by offering them guidance. This can be an audible welcome message or a link to customer testimonials and reviews to move them from awareness to the consideration stage.
You can also create a dynamic SMS marketing strategy that moves beyond bulk SMS, and shows shoppers they’ve made the right choice in demonstrating interest in your product. For example, use VoiceSage for direct-marketing opportunities. Instead of waiting for shoppers to reach out (they might not in the early days), proactively contact them first as a way to help them make a purchase. Send automated and personalized text messages to keep shoppers engaged during the early months of the Golden Quarter. Remember, there are lots of special offers out there, but you want shoppers to buy your products.
Your proactive contact strategy determines your success
By now, you should have a better idea of what types of touch points you need to include along the customer journey, how to segment shoppers, and how to track your progress. You should also know what type of marketing strategy to use to engage with customers in meaningful ways so that they keep coming back.
The last phase needed to reduce friction involves the creation of a detailed process that incorporates your findings. Create a matrix that focuses on
- customer-journey touch points,
- shopper segments, and
- applicable metrics.
This way, you can create a customized journey for each segment that makes it clear exactly how to guide shoppers to the consideration and purchase stages. This will define how you and your team show different shoppers the next steps in the process.
For example, don’t just run ads that always take shoppers your product pages. If one of your buyer personas wants a summary of information early on, create a custom landing page for them that
- reiterates the value your product offers;
- shows current special offers;
- includes a lead form to capture shopper contact information;
- includes a value add, like customer testimonials; and
- has a clear CTA.
Lead pages like the one above are simple, and they make clear to shoppers what you expect them to do next. Showing the most relevant information piques their interest and gives you the information you need to follow up and guide them through the rest of the funnel.
By creating a matrix that outlines the customer journey, it is easier to see what parts of your strategy aren’t working and what, exactly, needs to be fixed. Whether it’s the kind of voice messages you send when a shopper shares their phone number with you, or your data analysis shows that a segment of shoppers spends more time on your blog than product pages to find information, you can adjust your marketing strategies to accommodate this.
This process helps you turn more leads into paying, long-term customers.
Learn as you grow
Start small with two or three buyer personas, and then increase as you grow and update your products. This allows you to cater to more-specific customer needs and increases the chances of them moving through the customer journey with minimal friction.
Having a tool at your disposal that gives you the flexibility to gather information from shoppers in a way that works for them is key. Book a demo today to find out more about how we can help you cater to shoppers’ needs.Published on: 19th September 2018