Australian small businesses have been through a lot this season, and there's never been more concentrate on honouring customer relationships and building loyalty. With businesses adapting to new ways of working and Australian consumer habits evolving, it's rarely been more important for businesses to leverage insights to understand the changing needs and expectations of their customers.
Anticipate your customers' needs
Personalisation and consistency will always be central to a great customer experience. Nowadays there are added elements to consider, like health and safety, but the basic principles of superior customer experience – ensuring they feel understood and valued – stay the same. The method of delivery, however, is changing. The proliferation of eCommerce, that has seen record online sales in recent months, means a good customer experience is about providing effective, memorable services across all of your sales channels.
Online stores can use search and purchase-based data to personalise the customer experience. For example, when shoppers are suggested products that are tailored for their previous activities on the site. These recommendations, that align with your customers' interests, are the things they expect to see when they visit an online store today. Be careful not to overwhelm them, presenting too many options can lead to “analysis paralysis” which often leads to purchase anxiety and a rise in abandoned online shopping carts. The following era of personalisation is about simplifying purchasing decisions for customers, using technology for everyone hyper-targeted experiences and products aligned for their needs and wants.
Develop deeper customer relationships
Truly understanding customers is all about knowing what they want, their pain points as well as their goals. Many brands now use profiling tools, like surveys and quizzes, to understand their customers better and use those insights to fuel their sales funnel and create a more personalised strategy. For your small business, this is crucial. Whether through email, an online survey or a simple question at the point-of-sale in your store, if a customer can see your business is taking the time to better understand what they want, their loyalty will grow.
Provide options which make customers feel safe
Right now, personalised experience may also simply mean meeting them where they're, both physically and in terms of their shopping mindset. Because the onset of COVID-19, consumers have varying comfort levels with how they are able to shop so providing a number of purchasing options will meet their individual needs. While some shoppers are more than pleased to shop in-store, others might prefer options for example click and collect, or ordering online for delivery. Regardless of their preference, one consistent factor that needs to be front of mind for businesses at this time is providing contactless payments. Recent research from Square revealed that almost one in three Australian businesses turned effectively cashless throughout the pandemic as staff and consumers alike shunned cash handling.
Nurture your existing customers
To cater to the needs of contemporary consumers, a lot of whom are active across multiple channels, many companies are now pursuing an omnichannel strategy that blends physical an internet-based strategies to engage their loyal customers. Google research discovered that 90 per cent of global shoppers search on the internet prior to visiting a store. That's why implementing tools that will streamline your operation, from marketing right through to point-of-sale, and enables you to capture data at each touch point is crucial.
With insightful data, you can develop stronger recommendations which make customer decision-making easier, ultimately unlocking better retention and more loyalty. Delivering products and services inside a targeted way, based on information from strong customer relationships, is going to be key to success for small businesses across Australia as we recover from the post-pandemic economic downturn.