Great Online Customers Journeys

February 26, 2015 12:21 pm

Like so many of us, most of my purchases are now made online – from grocery shopping to books, school uniforms to gifts. This provides me with the ability to shop at my convenience and receive and return goods easily – something I value. However, I do miss the consumer experience of browsing in shops, interacting with a sales assistant and hopefully taking home a carefully wrapped package – all this a reward for parting with my hard earned cash.

That’s why savvy online retailers are making sure that customers are experiencing great online journeys to replace the in store experience; and we are not just talking about the route from homepage to checkout anymore. It’s the whole customer experience from start to finish. Brand engagement is vital in making sure that customers feel valued and encourages loyalty and drives referrals.

There are a few that do it well – Sofa.com is one of them. From selecting samples which come in a neat, fun package to a slick ordering process, follow up emails and pick of delivery times and finally encouragement to leave a (great) customer review. One can see why Sofa.com have invested so much into giving customers a great online retail experience; with only one outlet in London, they rely on their digital purchases and have to convince buyers to enter into a transaction online when buying a sofa is usually something that most people like to do in person (feel the fabric, test the cushions etc.). By offering a unique and reassuring experience, they get the online sales that would otherwise evade them.

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I was recently pleasantly surprised when ordering a product Stylechapel.com – a small independent online retailer – who delivered a clever and memorable experience for me from the off. As soon as I placed the order (for a purse, since you ask), I received confirmation via email as would be expected. I would usually glance at this – check the price and delivery details were correct – and then move on, not reading the detail. But this email was different, using a fun and friendly tone of voice, the content introduced me to the staff that would be handling my order as well as the usual details. This was then followed by an email the next day to confirm that my order was on its way and humorously advised me that to contain my excitement until my delivery arrived I could clean my kitchen cupboards or alphabetise my book shelves. I was hooked.

When my parcel arrived, it ticked all the boxes, nicely packaged – I almost hated to rip it open, with an A8 concertina product guide and company overview (handily purse sized), a covering letter confirming the contents which included a handwritten footnote in which Raphael thanked me for my order and offered a discount code to encourage me to go back, which I will: not because of the product – which was beautiful – but because the experience made me feel valued and made me laugh.

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