We’ve all heard the trope that the customer comes first and the customer is always right. In spite of this, many brands are fixated on simply enabling transactions and scoring sales, which just isn’t enough. This holds especially true in direct-to-consumer (DTC) commerce experiences, where a brand becomes responsible for each leg of the consumer journey, from sale to delivery.
Today’s consumers have an ever-increasing amount of shopping choices, so it’s the overall experience that builds customer loyalty and satisfaction. In our on-demand economy, many retailers are focused on achieving rapid and convenient fulfillment above all else. That’s why it’s particularly important for brands selling direct-to-consumer to invest in providing great experiences that go beyond generic transactions and fulfillment. These types of experiences help brands establish long-term relationships with their best customers. Sales don’t tell the full story. Here are five reasons to focus on more than just sales when it comes to consumers.
Consumers will pay more for the guarantee of a higher quality experience.
Research shows that 80% of U.S. consumers are willing to pay a higher price for a product or service in exchange for the promise of a better customer experience with the brand overall. In this sense, it’s increasingly important to focus on increasing customer lifetime value (LTV) by delivering a great end-to-end consumer experience and not settling for “average” experiences.
There’s also a significant and irreplaceable opportunity to build loyalty among transacting customers. Not only does it cost six to seven times more to acquire new customers as compared to previous buyers, but also existing customers create more value for the brand in the long run. Marketing campaigns oriented toward existing customers usually have a much higher success rate, sometimes reaching 65-70% while new customers might only convert at a rate of 3% or less.
Consumer satisfaction falls after just a couple of negative service experiences.
When a brand is distracted by simply acquiring new customers or too focused on winning business away from competitors rather than on strengthening relationships with existing customers, the consumer experience for returning customers often suffers. In fact, in a recent survey, 42% of American customers reported that they would discontinue their relationship with a brand following just two negative service experiences. This shows just how critical the consumer experience is to customer retention.
The consumer’s entire end-to-end experience molds brand perception
Since so much of a brand’s perception is crafted by the consumer’s direct experience, brands can significantly improve their perception and positioning to consumers by taking a close look into the consumer’s journey in DTC channels.
77% of consumers report that the most persuasive advice that they consider comes from family and friends when shopping for new brands and products. By turning to customer feedback and centering on consumer satisfaction, brands can double their sensitivity around how consumers experience their product or service. Plus they can go beyond the margins of profit to understand and engage customers on the topics and values that matter most to them.
Research shows that an engaged customer is 44% more likely to be loyal to a brand. By actively participating in brand perception through engaging content, brands can bolster trust and loyalty going forward.
Consistency in the quality of customer care boosts loyalty.
A recent McKinsey study revealed that trust and positive emotions associated with a consumer’s experience consistently resulted in consumer satisfaction and loyalty across industries. A consumer-driven brand will emphasize quality staff training, driving superior brand representation in all of their customer touchpoints supporting DTC commerce.
Conversion rates for superior customer care are undeniable, often far exceeding “self-service” solutions. Showing dedicated investment in the overall consumer experience ultimately improves a customer’s LTV by directly improving the brand equity and the resulting trust that’s built by demonstrating concern for the customer’s needs.
There is potential to strengthen the organizational ecosystem holistically.
By focusing on the complete customer journey from end to end, with the objective of creating a consistent quality experience, brands are able to truly reflect their commitment to a superior product. Scrutinizing and streamlining weak points along the chain enables the consumer-focused brand to create competent teams that deliver high-quality experiences to their customers in DTC channels where the “middle man” is nowhere to be found and the consumer is experiencing your brand directly from beginning to end.
Surveying customer experience and making the quality of customer experience the center of a brand’s initiatives, naturally will push brands into building the appropriate infrastructure needed to advance the brand’s message and influence the consumer’s perception of the brand overall. By treating customers as more than just a means to an end, brands catering to the entire consumer experience will exceed in a world where retailer and brand options abound.
Reuben Hendell, CEO of BrandShop