Leveraging Online and Offline Experiences to Boost the B2B Customer Journey
With high competition on every front, businesses today find it harder to retain customers, there are always an array of competitors ready to offer the same service or product at competitive prices. The key to better customer acquisition and customer retention is to provide a more personalized experience. Several successful marketers and entrepreneurs, (almost 45.9%!), have agreed that enforcing a positive customer experience will be their top priority in the coming years. Good customer experience means the customer is more likely to return and more likely to refer your brand to others.
64% of marketers agree that the word-of-mouth marketing has been one of the most efficient forms of marketing. 49% of consumers have been prone to making impulse purchases just because they had a positive encounter with the business. Focusing on the offline experience is just as important as focusing on the online experience to enable more of this.
Getting started with customer experience enhancement begins with remembering the following:
1. Build customer personas –
Personalization of customer experience begins with drafting customer personas or profiles. Creating archetypes for ideal, target, and potential customers helps forge targeted marketing, improving time, labor, and budget efficiency. Reports have suggested that a minimum of 3-4 personas can constitute more than 90% of a company’s sales. Additionally, 93% of companies that excel in their marketing and customer rating have accepted using buyer personas.
2. Setting goals –
Understanding the brand goals, aesthetics, and vision to incorporate it into the customer experience is one way of standing out amidst a sea of competition. It is important to give the customers something that they can remember your business by. Creating a set of goals on how you want your customers to feel about your brand and working consistently around that brand will provide the customers with a stable opinion of your company. For example, Coca-Cola has transfixed the customers into associating the feeling of refreshed and cool with their signature beverage for more than a century now. The Coca-Cola company is believed to spend more than $4 billion every year for its marketing and advertising campaigns.
3. Omnichannel interaction –
Offering cohesion between the online and offline experience can enhance customers’ perception of the company. The customer has multiple options to connect with the company, which only improves their relationship with the company. Having automated messaging tools and chatbots on official websites to offer 24/7 online assistance can go a long way. 50% of people who search online for products or stores near them visit the store within 24 hours of the search. Active social media accounts that interact and glorify user-created content will gain customer loyalty. Wendy’s, Netflix, Burger King, Old spice, Tacobell, Skittles, Oreo, Frooti, Durex, and Zomato are some of the top brands that have aced social media marketing. This has been achieved through customer interaction and humorous user-created content, which proportionately contributes to the offline experience. It poses a casual and accessible way for customers to reach the business and deliver feedback.
4. Qualified staff personnel –
The face of your business offline is the staff that interacts with the customers directly. Training your staff to interact and represent your brand in the right way is important. Staff needs to offer a hospitable and customer-friendly interface. The JetBlue airline company had its air hosts conduct trivia and other simple games for in-flight games and entertainment while awarding winners with flight and meal coupons. They even handed free donuts and water bottles to people standing in queues for JetBlue in the airports. JetBlue even assigns a mysterious ‘people officer’ who surprises lucky passengers with rewards, coupons, and gifts. IKEA staff offer free treats, pencils, and notepads for shopping lists and more
5. Omnichannel experience –
Companies are merging online and offline experiences. Sephora introduced their ‘in-store companion’ feature that helps customers choose their products, check stock availability, reserve a quick one-on-one consultation session, and more. Nike launched a 3D sneaker customization platform for customers to create their line of footwear for fun. Nike expert studio was launched for customers to customize their shoe preferences with Nike experts. IKEA offered online maps and catalogs for customers to navigate through their stores easily and find their preferred products from their numerous collections. TopShop conducted online and offline events and contests to select five lucky customers who were given an exclusive Virtual Reality 360-degree live view of a top fashion show in London…
6. Events & campaigns –
Improving brand exposure through offline and online events is the perfect way to show how your business is thriving and how customers can be a part of your celebrations. 95% of business owners agree that offline events will help improve customer relations. For example, IKEA in Canada offered free moving boxes that were well designed with brand logos and info and shaped in the exact dimensions of their furniture models. So, customers can benefit from having boxes to move and test out the special accommodation to buy IKEA furniture. The Burger King in the US sent out printed ads in the newspaper for customers to participate in a make-your-own-whopper-burger contest that turned out to be a huge success online. Facebook conducted a US roadshow, hopping through multiple cities to showcase their data and insights programs to B2B companies. Nissan and Air Aroma collaborated to produce the Nissan scent and used it in all their offline marketing campaigns to experience the Nissan car before buying it.
Using every trick in the book and being innovative with your marketing strategies to understand and deliver unique customer experiences is a basic precaution to stay ahead of the competition. Focusing too much on the brand’s online presence, website, and social media while not prioritizing offline customer experience will futile your attempts. Both online and offline CX are equally important and interdependent elements that achieve better ROI.