Capturing a customer's attention among the hundreds of "dings and rings" we receive with every email and text message has turned many of us numb to their effectiveness. Sending out an email newsletter and having a zillion likes on Facebook isn't enough these days. Customers have evolved. They are more elusive, more demanding and looking to have a personal "experience" online.
Traditional customer capture strategies won't cut it when you're trying to compete with big empires like Amazon, Zappos and others. You have to stand out with a unique purpose. Unfortunately, most businesses in America don't have the bloated corporate budgets to continually monitor, track and capture their customers' trends. And quite frankly, even with those budgets many giant e-commerce marketers continue to miss the mark. Just because a user bought a grill online for her father's birthday doesn't mean that receiving emails offering grill tools will lead to another sale. And, more importantly, they could even annoy your customer to the point of boycott.
Here are the three keys to capturing your hyper-connected customer:
1. Harness the Power of Referrals
So where is the new point-of-sale and what are the biggest influencers in buying decisions? It's the power of referrals. In this tech-savvy world, we advocate going back to basics with a 21st century mindset. The power of a third-party referral continues to offer the best endorsement a company can receive. Top companies are incorporating the power of social media and asking happy customers to endorse their products within their own circles. Many times, there are incentives to do so, such as an additional discount on their next purchase or a bonus structure for referring friends. The ROI is well worth the discount they are offering, and much more effective than a blind ad campaign.
The key is providing real-time referrals. People will often buy based on a referral or testimonial from someone they don't know. But the feedback needs to be fresh, not stale or dated. Providing real-time point of purchase feedback is the game-changer. Couple this with seeing how the product works in your own life and the sale becomes personal. With the right tools, marketers can turn online shopping into an in-store experience, minus the lines, parking issues and hunger pains.
2. Make the Most Out of Mobile
As the mobile phenomenon continues, every company needs to have some kind of mobile offering. From smaller steps, like offering a mobile-friendly layout on your existing site, to the more costly steps of creating a native app for specific devices—the shopping and sharing on-the-go trend is too strong to ignore. If your core customers are between the ages of 12 and 28, a mobile device is fast becoming their only source of communication with you. And the truth is, more and more grandmothers are out there every day with smartphones and Facebook accounts, too. Smartphone use is hardly just a young person trend.
3. Reward Loyalty With Ease
The loyalty programs of the past five years have become a nuisance to customers who literally can't keep all of those cards in their wallets or on their keychains. When the drug store and the frozen yogurt shop are implementing programs like this to learn more about customer buying habits, savvy businesses need to start working on the next big thing.
Finding a balance with your customers to ensure that you stay top of mind, without crossing the "unsusbcribe me" line, remains an elusive goal. Understanding that happy customers bring more customers continues to be a concept that transcends trends. Taking that and applying it to 21st century technology is the winning combination for growing businesses. For your company, consider ways to reward your customers that are easy, fast and fun.
Innovative products require innovative means to capture your customers. Social media makes doing so more cost-effective than ever. Creatively engaging through referrals, mobile solutions and rewards will increase your customer base, sales and satisfaction.