Turning customers into fans is the ideal scenario for any business. Once achieved, it makes selling future products easier, helps to deliver brand loyalty and to spread the word about your company. However, there are multiple steps needing to be achieved to reliably convert customers. This blog will be focused on the first and broadest of the steps, inspiration.
If you aren’t easy to find, customers won’t bother to seek you out
More than ever before, people are aware that they have a wide range of information available to them, whether they’re after groceries, a new phone, or trying to book a holiday, spending an average of 225 minutes a week browsing items online. Because of this, it’s vital that you stand out from the competition.
At its simplest, customers need to be able to find you, so you can inspire them. This can be achieved by understanding how and where your customers are searching for inspiration and make sure you’re in the right place with the right content to help. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or Pay per Click (PPC) can be important tools to help ensure that you rank in broad search terms that link into those ‘inspirational’ moments your customers are having.
Driving customers to your site is one step in the journey. Once they’re there, you need to hold their attention.
An engaging offering equals engaged users
Once potential customers arrive at your site, it’s time to prove why you can offer a better service than any rivals. One of the crucial ways customers will judge quality is based on your website. If a website is slow to load, poorly optimised or generally uninspiring, chances are customers might feel the same way about your company.
A particularly important area to focus on is mobile optimisation. Inspiration often comes to people when they’re not near a computer, for examp
le sitting on the bus or train, so having a website that is poorly optimised and frustrating to use will push them away. Google has published a handy guide to help you optimise websites with the customer in mind. (https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/mobile-retail-apps-and-sites-designing-better-experience-for-shoppers.html)
Of course, having a functioning website is just the bare necessity. To truly inspire your customers, you need inspiring content. Whether this is blog content, infographics or videos, enriching your brand or product can only help to increase engagement levels. For example, if you run a cookery website, it is one thing to offer instructions and ingredients, but it’s far more engaging to offer a video guide of that dish being cooked at the same time. Viral videos from the likes of Proper Tasty and Goodful have inspired people to try new recipes, simply by being engaging, visual and easy to consume, to the extent that watching video content makes a customer 1.6 times as likely to make a purchase.
It is worth remembering that inspiration is not just an online phenomenon. It’s very important to have a consistent approach across various touchpoints, whether it’s your website and social channels, or a physical store. This could be as simple as ensuring your brand image matches online and offline, as well as making use of video assets and other technologies to make an offline space more engaging, for example Argos have recently transitioned from their famous in-store formula of paper catalogues and tiny pens towards a more digitised experience, where customers use tablets to complete orders, making things simple, clean and fast.
Excellent customer service inspires goodwill
74% of shoppers find new products through reviews and recommendations, so creating a situation where people are happy to leave feedback, or you show a clear reaction to any negative feedback, will impact the level of consumer trust in your business. This may seem like a simple no-brainer, but taking steps to eliminate any of the frustration that customers can have will make a huge difference in inspiring customers to use your services, or return for repeat business. This can be achieved through ensuring that your staff are well-trained and ready to handle any question they’re asked, as well as making it easy and satisfying to provide feedback.
If you manage to inspire your customers, that is a big step along the path towards converting them to fans. However, it is far from the only one, so in our next blog, we will talk about how to use retailing practices to differentiate yourself from your competitors. In the meantime you can find more information about retail excellence by downloading our infographic here.