The coronavirus pandemic has changed consumer behavior significantly. Before COVID-19, many consumers expected convenience, but the pandemic has accelerated this expectation in the form of frictionless commerce. This trend is driven by social distancing and shelter-in-place orders as consumers look to reduce their risk of exposure by taking advantage of more convenient contactless options such as curbside pick-up, self-check out and contactless delivery.
To create a frictionless customer experience, also called “seamless customer experience,” marketers need to remove historical pain points and redundancies from a buyer’s journey. As more companies adapt their experiences to meet new customer expectations amid COVID-19, location intelligence can provide marketers with the data they need to create this type of frictionless customer experience, and help them win back their customers while also acquiring new ones.
Here are three tips on how marketers can use location intelligence to create a frictionless customer experience:
1. RE-EVALUATE THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY.
COVID-19 has changed how customers interact with businesses. Consumers are shopping online more than ever before: according to Adobe’s Digital Economy Index from March 12 to April 11, U.S. e-commerce sales increased by 49%. Curbside pickup has also become a popular option for customers looking for a quick way to stock up on without having to leave their cars: Adobe Analytics has reported that curbside pickup orders increased by 208% between April 1 and April 20. Revisiting the customer journey is imperative in a world where consumer behavior has evolved so rapidly.
Location intelligence can help marketers understand where customers go before and after they visit a place of interest. When location intelligence is combined with consumer data, marketers are able to see emerging trends and patterns, creating a unified data experience that prevents data silos and provides an integrated view of customer behavior.4 Trends and patterns give insight into where there might be friction in a customer experience — for example: are customers only going to one store or are they going to multiple stores? Are they shopping online and then going to the store for curbside pickup? Or are they just shopping online only? After analyzing the data, a marketer may find that their customers are patronizing their store on a bi-weekly basis after visiting the grocery store. This insight — which indicates that customers are not only trying to minimize their shopping trips, but also more than likely have perishables — can fuel actionable next-steps for companies to re-evaluate their curbside pickup process to make it faster for those who have groceries in their car.
Location data can also give insight into dwell time, which is the amount of time a customer spends in or around the store — another factor to consider as marketers re-map the customer journey. They can use this insight to adjust operations to make customer experience more seamless. For example, if an analyst notices that there are long dwell times at their company’s stores, this could be an indicator that customers are experiencing long wait times at self checkout. The marketing team can work with other departments to create a frictionless self checkout experience including a tap-to-pay system.
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2. REASSURE YOUR CUSTOMERS ABOUT YOUR NEW PROCESS.
After the customer journey is reconfigured, marketers will need to reassure customers of how convenient the new customer experience is. This helps companies begin to rebuild brand trust. No matter where your customers (or potential customers) are in their experience, they’ll want to stay informed and understand how the process has changed. It’s important to remove any communication redundancies in order to prevent confusion. As marketers think about communications, they shouldn’t just stick to standard email notifications — many customers receive these types of emails, so this form of communication might seem redundant and they are likely to tune it out.
To prevent communication fatigue and eliminate points of friction within the customer experience, marketers should send communications directly to where consumers are spending most of their time — their mobile devices. This is where proximity marketing comes into play. Location intelligence companies like us are able to provide marketers with MAIDs (mobile advertising IDs) in proximity to their stores (or even competitor stores). Marketers can then use this data to reach mobile consumers who have previously visited these stores, or to work on a proximity marketing campaign, which includes geo-fencing areas of interest to trigger notifications to existing or potential customers within those spheres. These push notifications can capture the attention of customers and reassure them about new processes. Let’s say that customers are arriving too early before their order is ready, for example. When a customer is in proximity to the store, a notification can go out letting them know that their order isn’t quite ready and giving an estimated time of order completion. This allows them to decide if they want to wait or complete another errand in the interim.
3. MONITOR HOW YOUR CUSTOMERS INTERACT WITH YOUR NEW PROCESS.
Marketers might think that the friction touchpoints are eliminated from the customer experience after they reassure customers and restructure their processes. However, it’s possible that new friction touchpoints will appear as new processes are created, which is why it is important to continue to monitor how customers are interacting with new processes. Marketing teams will need to monitor store foot traffic, dwell time, and shifts in time-of-day or time-of-week that customers are visiting stores. Is foot traffic increasing between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays? Are customers beginning to dine outside at restaurants and order curbside pickup during the weekends? Marketers need to take note of these data trends and pair them with customer feedback to see where new friction touchpoints are appearing and adjust accordingly.
Iterate on the Frictionless Customer Experience
It’s not enough just to create a seamless customer journey and then call it a day. Marketers need to continuously refine the customer experience in order to eliminate any new friction points. As consumer behavior changes rapidly, marketing teams can’t fall behind customer trends. Location intelligence provides marketers with the data they need to be able to understand how consumers currently interact with brands in the real world.
Talk with a Gravy Analytics sales representative to learn how location intelligence can benefit your business.