How to Deliver Great Customer Experiences in Online Channels

In the face of COVID-19, our most significant defenses are reduced physical interactions and social distancing until medical experts can develop a cure or vaccine. With fewer customers coming into physical locations, those who have store fronts have had to think of creative ways to keep their business going.

With online retail doing exceedingly well during this pandemic, many (both retailers and services providers) have chosen to transition to e-commerce, as well as virtual consultation and offices to keep their businesses afloat. According to e-commerce statistics, in the U.S. and Canada (as of April 21, 2020), online retail orders have grown by 146%. As consumer confidence in online channels grows, businesses should experience further acceptance and experimentation with online services outside of what was traditionally being purchased.

To ensure your business thrives during the pandemic, consider how digital channels could play a new or expanded role. Whether you have migrated your business online or want to optimize this channel, make sure your digital business encompasses these three elements.

1. Bring your brand to life via your website and digital channels

Once you take your business online, your first step should involve building a presence through a website and the many digital support channels. During this phase, you’ll need to ensure your online entity accurately represents the personality of your business. Alignment with your brand will provide your prospects and customers with a memorable impression and a cohesive customer experience across all channels.

If you have a quirky attitude or style, don’t be afraid to let it show. Similarly, if you want to portray a bold and clean look to complement the aesthetic customers would experience at your physical store, don’t hold back. Besides the visuals, try to pay attention to the voice in your content. Does the voice of your content reflect your values, and talk about your services in a similar tone as to what they would experience in the store? Remember to be consistent throughout all digital and physical touchpoints.

2. Benefit from the power of positive reviews

When people become aware of the quality of your products and services, they are more likely to support you. Part of this evaluation of your offering will be what other customers have felt about doing business with you. 82% of consumers read reviews for local businesses, including 93% of people aged 35-54. The careful curation of your business’s reputation assists in building trust and turns searchers into buyers.

Include the ability for customers to provide reviews on your website. Collect reviews from current customers and constantly seek reviews from new ones as future customers are more likely to trust a business that has reviews posted from within the last two weeks. Fresh reviews are also a good indication that your company is active and open for business.

There are many ways you can ask for reviews – in person, by email, over the phone, on receipts and via SMS. The more places you ask the better chance of securing a positive review.

The purchase likelihood for a product with five reviews is 270% greater than a product with 0 reviews.

Many consumers are beginning their search for products and services with the intention of looking for a local option. Having great reviews assist in your business appearance and rankings in local search results. Businesses with the best reviews are given preference to appear in prime positions within the Google Local Service Ads and Google Local Pack results. Creating and keeping a positive online reputation will make your business more visible to those seeking local options.

Don’t forget to flaunt your expertise. Ensure that you clearly and prominently display any accreditation or credentials on your website.

3. No better time to reinvent your business

As service-based offerings have lost the ability to carry out face-to-face meetings with social-distancing measures in place and working from home being the norm of the day, many businesses have had to deviate from their usual customer service approaches.

As a small business owner, you can use this time to your advantage and plan a new business strategy to tackle the evolving market. Is there a way to deliver your service without having to meet in person? Are there portions of your offering better suited to the ‘virtual’ environment? Are there potential new areas where your expertise could be applied to the new normal? Could you evolve your expertise into new applications? No better time than right now to take a fresh look at your business. 

Digital channels present the opportunity to expand and evolve your business like never before – the only restriction is your creativity and imagination.

The Bottom Line

Just like a physical store, your digital presence must convey what your business is about, build and maintain your reputation and evolve your offering to meet the expectations of your customers.

Today’s small businesses need a powerful online presence more than ever. Discover how Staples Powered By Webware helps our customers simplify and amplify their digital marketing efforts, easily and affordably. 

Reach out to one of our Digital Marketing Experts today to find out how the Staples Powered By Webware’s all-in-one solution can get digital marketing working for your small business.

By Staples Canada

September 08, 2020

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