The Customer Journey
By Ellen Fruchtman, President
Let’s take a trip. Not a real trip in the true sense of the word. It’s more of a journey. A customer’s journey. It’s a long and winding road. All you have to do is think about your own purchasing decisions. The journey you take when you are considering making a large purchase decision. Are you influenced by one ad? One medium? What motivates you to go into a specific business you’ve never ventured into before? What makes you decide to purchase that BMW over the Mercedes? And, more importantly, what makes you come back?
It starts with research.
When a decision is being made to purchase a specific product, customers start researching that product. They are interested in knowing features, benefits, and costs. They are looking at various businesses that offer that product. Today that research is conducted online. Suffice to say, how your business ranks organically and in paid search is of the utmost importance. Once they make a click, it all comes down to your website. If your website does not provide persuasive copy, or clearly communicate the features and benefits of shopping with you, and, of course, the features, benefits, and cost of the product, that customer will be taking a detour to the next retailer. Does copy matter? You bet. If you have a cookie-cutter website that says nothing about you or your products, that customer journey will end.
Let’s remember, there are essential points you need to consider in all of your marketing. The first is that you need to make sure you provide them with what they need to know.
It moves to their consideration.
Once any prospect feels they have completed ample research and knowledge, they are going to consider their options. There will be more than one retail store in their consideration. They’re going to narrow it down to a few. If they are price shoppers, they are going to compare online. It’s hard to persuade that shopper to come to your store (or buy online) unless price is your game. For most other fine retailers, what will also impact a prospect during this part of their journey might be other marketing messages they have seen on various channels. This is where branding comes into play in a very big way. The purchase of jewelry and most other luxury goods often come down to how it makes you feel. Have your branding messages conveyed the emotional part of buying jewelry? In the media world, what is most important is your frequency and reach. Have you communicated a consistent message across both digital and traditional platforms? You’ll move up the chain of consideration if you do. It’s all about making the shortlist.
Once the research is completed and they have made a determination to come to your store, the next step is the actual transaction. To secure that transaction, you need the following four: The right inventory. A knowledgeable salesperson. Comparative value. A great shopping experience. For a strictly online transaction, it may not require a salesperson. However, most items of considerable value (if purchased online) might require that touch. This means you have to be available to chat; to provide a visual meeting. Most of your prospects are going to walk in your door. They are no longer walking into your store to browse or “just look”. That has been done in the research part of the journey. So, this sale is yours to lose. If you don’t provide the four items above, that’s going to happen. Closing ratios should be higher than ever.
Last, but not least, after the sale is made and you have spent considerable time and sums of money to get yourself into consideration, the final step in the journey ends with retention. What are the things you need to do to ensure this customer remains a customer? It goes without saying, you should have procured their data. You should have their email, birth date, an anniversary (if applicable), and a spouse’s birthday. You should be touching them frequently (but not too frequently). You should know their likes and dislikes, not just their jewelry shopping habits. A great jeweler will know much more. A great jeweler will take care of them after the sale. They’ll send them personal notes welcoming them to “their family”. If applicable, they’ll receive an invitation to join their loyalty program. Or will send an unexpected gift after the sale. Retention also has to do with the four items above. New and exciting inventory will keep a customer coming back. A great salesperson will always personally be in touch. You should always be perceived as providing a great value (and shopping experience). The new customer should always be invited to special events and parties, reminding them of their experience in your store.
All of this, by the way, will lead to amazing word-of-mouth and referrals that money can’t buy.
There are customers in the buying cycle ready to take the journey every day. Are you ready?
If you’re ready to take the journey with a marketing firm that can drive your business, contact email@example.com.