Consumers today have more access to information than ever before on the products and services they want to buy. Easy access to the internet provides an instant gateway to price transparency, product comparison, customer reviews, deals, and ultimately – options. Consequently, retailers must not only respond to what consumers want, but, more importantly, distinguish themselves from the rest. In the Age of the Consumer, how a brand engages customers can set it apart from all the rest. We’ve put together the following four questions every retailer should ask themselves to ensure they are achieving the basics of customer engagement in their online strategy.
Are You Making the Most Out of Social?
Social media fans are more likely to put their money where their “pin” is, according to Business Insider. Additionally, a recent study by Google Insights found that those who regularly engage with brands online are more likely to convert. Encourage customers to virtually interact with your brand and each other along the path to purchase. Facilitate access to social sites such as Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to allow your customers to connect with others – to share opinions, reviews, and products.
How’s Your Mobile Site?
The average American spends 162 minutes (almost 3 hours!) on a mobile device per day. There is enormous potential for retailers to seize the opportunity mobile presents. One third of online visitors to the top-10 retailer sites in 2013 used only mobile devices to shop those merchants online. Building a strong m-commerce presence is a must for retailers. The easier you can make the mobile shopping experience, the more customers will click to buy.
Are You Offering Valuable Content, Other Than What You’re Trying to Sell?
To win in the age of the consumer means to go beyond providing just the product or service you are selling – you need to distinguish yourself through engagement. One way to do this is to provide content that offers intrinsic value – give customers information, advice, tips etc. that is relevant to your product. Selling furniture? Provide a how-to-clean guide for upholstery and leather, for example. You’ll establish yourself as an authority in your retail space and build reliance and trust among your customers.
Are You Being Visual Enough?
It’s well known that the Internet customer has a very short attention span and yes, aesthetics matter. The sooner you can grab hold of your customers’ attention with a visually pleasing web site and marketing materials, the sooner they will stay a while and shop around. Visuals are processed 60,000x faster in the brain than text. Keep the power of visuals and ease of navigation in mind when it comes to your web site.
In the age of the consumer, retailers and marketers must strive to differentiate themselves through engagement. There are more ways to do this than we can count. If you can remember something from this post – remember these four words: social, mobile, content, and visuals.
- Social: Make the online shopping experience social by connecting your customer to virtual communities.
- Mobile: Get in on the mobile game – ASAP. Customers are spending more and more time on their mobile devices and you don’t want to miss out on this prime real estate.
- Content: Establish yourself as a trusted source of information by offering valuable content that brings meaning into customers’ lives.
- Visuals: Capture attention with an engaging and clean visual experience. Make the checkout process intuitive and simple.
 comScore Inc.
About Blueport Commerce
Blueport Commerce is the omnichannel solution for the $78B furniture industry. We marry retailers' bricks-and-mortar infrastructure and expertise with our decade of online furniture experience, innovative technology and unique marketing and sales solutions to create modern, efficient, easy shopping experiences. $6.3B in furniture retailers choose Blueport. For some retailers, Blueport's SaaS omnichannel platform powers their branded websites, driving sales online and in their stores. For other retailers, we drive online sales through Furniture.com, our e-commerce website. For many retailers, we do both. Our technology is transforming furniture retail, for the 4% of sofas that sell online and the 96% that don't. Learn more here. And, if you’re interested in working for Blueport, check out our available jobs on our careers page.