It's fairly obvious that online interaction is one of the major aspects of the customer experience today. If we ever came across a company that didn't have a website, we'd not only be surprised but also pretty annoyed and take our business elsewhere. Social media has also become a predominant platform to interact with customers. Now, with the rise in use of smartphones and tablets, it's time for businesses to start thinking about how they can reach out to the mobile consumer and use mobile technology to their advantage.
How Prevalent is Social Media and Mobile Tech?
The number of channels consumers use to reach companies has doubled over the past couple of years, and the Internet has become the predominant medium of choice for consumers to express their opinions about a particular product or company. How important is social media, in particular? A survey found that 50 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a product from a company that they can contact via a social media page. In addition, 56 percent of consumers that actively use social media to interact with businesses feel a stronger connection to that business. It seems social media won't be dying as a fad as many predicted.
Using mobile to reach customers is also growing more prevalent. A survey of smartphone users found that 63 percent will use online coupons to get the best price. In addition, 57 percent of users indicated that would like to receive location-based offers from companies, and 80 percent said they have received promotions or other marketing efforts on their smartphones from their preferred brands.
Taking Advantage of Social and Mobile
Clearly the future of marketing and creating a good customer experience lies in taking advantage of social media and mobile. Here's some ways to get started.
Moving away from the check-out line and a register to mobile point-of-sale, which essentially uses mobile technology to allow employees to check out a customer from wherever they are in the store, provides a more personalized experience for customers and can reduce the number of customers who walk out due to long lines and slow service.
Location-based marketing has become a popular way to interact with customers who check-in to a business via social media. Businesses have started making exclusive offers to these customers as well as provide other useful information, such as nearby amenities.
Businesses have started equipping their salespeople with iPads, so they can have instant access to information about products without having to move over to a computer. For specialty stores, information about the individual customer, such as purchasing history, can give the salesperson a better idea of the person's preferences, so they can give better recommendations and perhaps add accessories to a previous purchase.
The Mobile Shopper
Mobile shopping is becoming more common, even with some companies adopting strict BYOD policies, which means mobile is no longer just about marketing but about making the actual sale as well. Creating web pages or apps designed specifically for mobile, so that the customer doesn't get frustrated with tiny buttons and long forms, is incredibly important to keeping that conversion rate up. Relying on big data to create a more personalized customer experience, such as a landing page based off of previous searches and purchases, also caters to the mobile shopper's desire to get what they want quickly and efficiently.
The importance of mobile and social media in creating a streamlined customer experience is only going to grow. Those businesses that are proactive in adapting to these new mediums will reap the benefits in a happier, more loyal customer base.