Customer experience. If you’re operating in the world of commerce then you can’t go very far without bumping into this expression. It was certainly the leading point of discussion at this year’s Magento Imagine and Adobe Summit 2019 events. But the attention is for good reason. Though ‘Customer is King’ is the oldest business mantra in the book, external forces (technological change, access to information, etc) are reshaping the psyche of customers at an unprecedented rate. Customers are now in control of when, where and how they want to interact with your brand. And it’s in the context of this societal change that businesses face the challenging question—with customer expectations changing so rapidly and with so many external forces at play, how can I continue to provide valuable experiences for my customers?
In this article, we’re going to ponder this question by glimpsing inside the mind of the typical modern-day shopper. By taking a more detailed look at their motivations, beliefs and lifestyle, you’ll be able to draw up a more complete picture of what makes your customers tick—and then find ways to leverage this for maximum business success.
They know a thing (or two) about tech
A significant portion of your customers has grown up in a digital world. All communication, shopping, education, dating and entertainment needs are covered by the smartphone in their pockets. And this technology is becoming more user-friendly and more streamlined. Consider Amazon or Google—these have become the purchasing benchmarks that the modern-day shopper has come to expect. You need to keep this at the forefront of your mind when considering the needs of your customers. Because if your online store is slow, clunky, impersonal and illogical, your customers won’t have the patience to stick around. You need to leverage cutting-edge technologies and knowledge to delight them from the off.
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They want experiences, not things
Customers (particularly your millennial demographic) are coming to your online store for more than just a transactional exchange. Research categorically shows that millennials would be more willing to spend on experiences rather than products. And spending figures suggest that in the US, spending on experiences is 4x that of products.
But that doesn’t mean throwing in a random experience just for the sake of experience.
It’s important to remember that customers want experiences that they can share (more on sharing later). Every customer is now a content creator, and in order to put out valuable content, they need exciting experiences to share. If they believe in your brand, they’ll want to collaborate and co-create. So think of ways you can build interactive and emotional two-way experiences into your brand story and give customers an experience they’ll want to share with the world.
They like to share
If there’s one thing the modern-day shopper likes to do, then it’s share. It could be a picture of a hotel lobby shared on Instagram, a review of a new restaurant on Trip Advisor or a piece of negative feedback shared with a brand’s customer service department. Whether it’s excellent, average or bad, consumers are more than happy to share their thoughts with anyone willing to listen (or even when no one is).
Given how connected we are, this sharing can take place instantly for the world to see. What does this mean for your business? Well, firstly you need to supply customers with the kind of content, products and services that they’ll want to actually share in the first place. And secondly, it’s important to get a handle on what sorts of things are being shared about your company for everyone else to see. If a customer isn’t happy about something, is your team equipped to help them with the problem quickly and efficiently, before it spreads on social media?
To really maximise the potential of sharing, though, consider leveraging the power of customer reviews on your site for others to see. At Vaimo, we incorporate user-generated content to help our clients do exactly that.
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They want what they want when they want it
Try saying that one quickly 5 times in a row… But in all seriousness, rapid advances in technology have created customers that demand intuitive and easy shopping experiences across channels. It’s your responsibility to meet your customers wherever they might be, whenever they want. This means thinking about how easy it is to purchase from or interact with your brand across touchpoints, channels and devices.
Whether it’s social shopping, automated B2B re-orders or same-day pickup, you need to anticipate even the most demanding of expectations to cater to the modern-day customer.
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They still think like a reptile. A reptile?
As humans, we might like to think that, for the most part, we’re rational and logical thinkers. But in truth, this sensible part of our brain (the Neocortex) is responsible for roughly 5% of our decisions only. The rest? Well, some goes to our Limbic system (responsible for emotions) but the majority goes to what has been termed the Reptilian or Lizard brain. This part of the brain is fast, mostly involuntary and works at an unconscious level so we don’t even know when it’s kicking into action. It’s concerned with automatic self-preserving habits—namely, keeping ourselves and our close ones alive.
But what does this mean for your eCommerce store?
With its fight or flight tendencies, the Reptilian Brain is extremely self-centric. Its main role is to look after number one. To tap into this innate selfishness, you need to make it clear exactly how a customer can benefit from your business. Sheets of product information might be useful, but the Reptilian Brain only wants to know how it’s going to benefit, right now. It also responds to familiarity and imagery (after all it’s the neighbouring Neocortex that deals with more complex language). In the scope of your customer experience, this means keeping user journeys smooth, intuitive and without hassle or jarring unpredictability. And it also highlights the importance of bold and consistent design—the kind that can transcend languages and borders to tap into Reptilian brains throughout the world.
At Vaimo we partner with brands, retailers and manufacturers around the world to help build digital experiences to suit every customer need. Contact our team to see how we can help your business drive success in digital commerce.