Should you treat your online and offline customers differently?
For retailers, it’s well understood that no two customers are the same. Each one buys through different channels, responds to marketing in differing ways, shops at different frequencies and has varying levels of loyalty.
It’s this diversity which makes retailing and retail marketing so interesting. And it means that small independents should think carefully about buyer personas, and about ecommerce versus the shop buying experience, along the way.
If one approach to the challenge lies in personalization of the online offer, at a more basic level the smaller retailer is coping with the basic point that its online customers and its in-store customers are likely to be very different and to have different priorities.
Jo Stroud, the founder of jewelry and accessories business Fabulous Collections, says her online and offline customer profiles are dramatically different.
“The customers that come into our retail stores are mostly women. They want an experience and enjoy browsing the items we stock. We work hard to create an engaging environment for them. We also enhance the service with events that drive face-to-face engagement” says Stroud
“For example we throw garden party at The Bath Priory Hotel and a similar event in Lamington where customers can meet the designers behind the brands. We also do fashion shows to bring the jewelry to life.”
But it’s a different kind of customer who shops online with Fabulous.
“Our ecommerce offer works differently,” says Stroud. “Here we are selling established brands and designers benefit familiarity with many clients. This makes online purchasing and gift-buying easier for customers. Typically we might be selling to a husband looking to buy a jewelry item for his wife and he has different needs. He needs to ensure that the branded is a trusted one and his which his wife will recognize. He needs to ensure that the product will arrive speedily and discreetly. As a retailer, it’s clearly crucial that we understand the difference between this kind of online customer and those we encounter in-store!”
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