Today it is about the experience. It is having the ability to appeal to the emotions and values of the shopper to turn them into a customer, client or patient.
Yester year, we appealed to customers in the many aisles of the shopping centre. The shop owner would arrange the items on the shelf in a way that would appeal favourably to the shopper. Today, customers in many instances have already made their minds up about the purchase before entering the store.
Online decision-making requires the shop owner to make sure that the online experience is memorable, enjoyable and one the emotionally connects to the values of the audience that they are trying to entice. The virtual relationship today is more important than the physical. The physical relationship in many instances merely completes the transaction that started online.
For instance, car dealers have experienced a shift in the shopping attitudes of their customer. Today, the customer walks in to the showroom knowing the make, model, colour, engine size, wheel size and accessory fit out of the vehicle that they want to buy. It is difficult for the car salesperson to build rapport with the customer. Rapport building needs to start in the virtual world if there is to be any chance for it at all.
This is true for many service industries. People still have regard for the physical relationship. However, customers will start ‘sizing you up’ against competitors from the comfort of their couch first before venturing into your showroom, shop or office.
When creating the customer experience, we need to think like the customer. Many of us get stuck thinking like a business owner or a marketer. Think about the first experiences around a brand that enticed you to be transformed from a shopper to a customer. Use that knowledge to create a meaningful experience around your service and product offering. Stop thinking like an owner! Think with the intent, utility and agility of your customers and create experiences that create strong engagement around your brand.