We all crave a connection.
And I’m not just talking about over Wi-Fi. I mean a connection to one another.
This need is never more apparent than when you look at the connection consumers create with their favourite brands.
Think about your daily routine. The clothes you pull on in the morning, the places you visit everyday for lunch and the newspaper you buy on your way home.
What makes you pick these products and services over the countless other options available to you in the market?
It’s because you feel a connection to them
Think of your local pub or favourite lunch spot: you don’t go there every day or week just because it’s next to your office (although this certainly can help).
If you live in any large city or even town, chances are you have numerous options of bars and restaurants a five minute walk from where you are at any one time.
You go to a particular establishment time and time again because you’ve built up a relationship with place. You’ve made good memories there. The staff know your name. The waitress greets you as you walk in the door and the very best places have your usual waiting for you the minute they see you heading in.
All these small touches help build up a consumers personal connection to a brand or service.
Consumers’ time is precious
As consumers, we live in busy and and chaotic times. From the minute we wake up, our heads are full of things we need to do and achieve – meetings, conference calls, project deadlines, family obligations.
They all require a part of your brain power and time. What you spend your money on and more importantly your time, is precious.
So what makes consumers go back again and again? What forges that connection with a brand that can sometimes last a lifetime?
Being known, remembered and recognised for your individual tastes and preferences.
When you walk into a local shop, bar, or lunch place, half of the pleasure of the experience is feeling acknowledged as an individual, but also feeling like you are part of a collective community.
Human beings are, at our core, pack animals. We love to feel a sense of belonging.
So what does this mean for a brand’s online platform?
In theory, an online platform should operate exactly the same as in real life. But, in reality, it doesn’t appear that we’re quite there yet.
Just 7% of consumers are ‘extremely satisfied’ that brands provide a seamless, integrated, and consistent experience across channels according to Zendesk.
Far too often, an online store feels like an unstaffed stock room with poorly organized merchandise, unexpected costs introduced at the worst moments and to finish it off, a complicated checkout procedure.
It makes shoppers seethe with frustration and it’s exactly why they leave without making a purchase. That frustration is then transferred to the marketing managers who poured time and effort into getting those customers onto the site in the first place.
You can literally hear everyone banging their heads against the table.
Think people, not just metrics
The situation is made worse by the current marketing mindset. Ecommerce directors and managers tend to think purely in terms of ROI and engagement, clicks and shares, conversions and leads.
While these are obviously crucial metrics, we cannot hope to improve brand perception and improve businesses’ performance if we forget to treat customers as people.
Brands need to apply this knowledge to improve the online user journey at every stage of the buyer cycle.
eCommerce Managers should be employing relevant solutions to build a fully personalised user journey. High-end personalisation can only be achieved when a brand precisely targets individual users at every stage of the funnel. That way, you can personalise the way you speak to each site visitor, keeping open the lines of communication every step of the way.