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Why E Should Stand for Engagement in eCommerce

woman using laptop for ecommerce engagement

Whilst it seems that the floodgates have opened in the Australian retail sector with more overseas brands appearing on the high street, this signals an important turning point in the ways in which retailers are responding to this ever-increasing pressure.

Deloitte’s 2014 Global Powers of Retail report shone a light on the current retail landscape:

  • Almost 80% of the Top 250 retailers posted an increase in retail revenue in 2013
  • Woolworths and Wesfarmers are the only Australian representatives and retain their place in the Top 20 retailers
  • Of the Top 250 companies, 12% (30 companies) are currently operating in Australia; with several more expected to follow in 2014/2015

Are these good or bad signs for Australian retailers?

Retailers will undoubtedly feel the mounting pressure from the influx of overseas brands trying to capture their share of the Australian market, not to mention the increasing online retail boom. Research highlights that UK and US retail giants targeting Australian online shoppers, and reaping the benefits, have leveraged Australia’s slow uptake in ecommerce.

As this open letter to the Myer and David Jones' CEOs candidly explains, the shopping habits of both men and women is changing, and the future of some Aussie retail institutions may just depend on how well, and how quickly, they can respond.

“Shopping has become the thing women do at night, with a glass of wine, after the kids are in bed or at work during a meal break. Couples have less time to spend with each other than they ever have and it shouldn't come as a surprise that men aren't enamoured with the department store "experience".”

How can retailers change the game?

The Deloitte report highlights four main strategies retailers can consider to remain relevant in the turbulent economic times, including cost rationalisation, directly sourcing goods from the manufacturer and using data analytics to optimise pricing. But it’s the final point they make, that we at Astute Solutions think is the key: customer experience.

What role does customer experience really play?

Customer experience and customer engagement seem to be the latest business terms banded around, often with little insight into what they can actually do for a business.

It’s not (just) customer service.

Of course, having great customer service is a vital part of running a successful business, but this is just one piece of the customer experience puzzle.

Customer experience includes (but is certainly not limited to):

1. How customers can access your products and services
Are you online or offline, or both? If both options are available, are customers receiving a consistent level of (great) service across both platforms?

If you only offer a certain product range online and ask customers to call or come into a physical store to enquire or collect it, are you really offering them an enticing and convenient way of engaging with your brand?

2. What products and services you offer
Do you have insights into what your customers actually want? Do you have the means to ask them? Do you provide them with easy and open channels of communication to let you know what they are looking for?

3. What they think of your brand
It doesn’t matter whether you have corporate values or catchy taglines on your website and merchandise, if customers don’t connect with your organisation’s brand it’s irrelevant and a complete waste of marketing dollars.

4. Communication channels
Do you encourage communication with your market, even when the topic is not necessarily related to your product? Retailers might assume that customers only want to connect to offer feedback (usually negative) but this is far from the truth.

There are so many innovative ways to engage with your customers, that there really isn’t an excuse anymore.

See how these brands used clever tactics to communicate with their customers

Is it all worth it?

If you have customers, and want to keep them, and attract more, then customer experience and engagement is only ever going to become even more important. Don’t think it’s lost money either – a recent study found that 80% of consumers would pay more for a product or service to ensure a superior customer experience. That’s nothing to complain about!

The next step…

At Astute Solutions, we work with big (and growing) brands to provide a complete social listening and management solution we call Social Relationship Management (SRM). The tool enables organisations to listen, analyse, engage, measure and optimise their brand via multiple social media channels.

Social Relationship Management (SRM) can help you to increase your customer interaction by;

  • Notifying your team when specific issues, words or phrases are mentioned amongst your online community so you can respond immediately
  • Uncovering the sentiment and emotion behind customers’ social posts - allowing you to understand their needs
  • Providing competitive analysis so you can stay ahead of the curve
  • Monitoring threats to your brand based on company, industry or product keywords
  • Identifying the root causes of problems, changes in customer preferences, and opportunities where customer needs are not being met - all in real-time

So if you’re in the retail space and recognise that the future success of your organisation could benefit from better customer engagement contact Astute Solutions for a free, no obligation Social Relationship Management (SRM) trial.