In the “old days” (10 years ago), customers found and bought the items we sell differently than they do today. It used to be that customers would visit multiple stores, where they would be educated on the products that they needed. After comparing features and benefits, they would ultimately purchase what they found to be the best deal or from whom they felt was the best salesperson. They took a chance on your store and the products that you sold. They might ask their friends or consult Consumer Reports – but, basically, they had to trust that you and your people would not lead them astray.
But things have changed – dramatically. Customers looking to purchase an appliance are visiting fewer stores and instead are relying on the internet to help educate them on their purchases. This is especially true for the Duress Customer, who buys 60-70% of all appliances sold. This customer needs it NOW! The item has broken, or they are moving to a new location where this item is needed.
The Duress Customer is our biggest opportunity. We know that they will make a purchase within 72 hours of recognizing their need. And by taking advantage of the complete Digital Package available from Nationwide Marketing Group, as well as our leading edge business services, you can optimize your interactions with the Duress Customer at every step along their sales journey. Here’s how.
Today’s Customer Journey
1. Need Recognized
The product has failed and won’t be / can’t be fixed, or the customer has moved homes and needs a new unit ASAP.
2. Inquiry / Research
The Duress Customer isn’t waiting patiently for a commercial or ad to tell them that the product they need is on sale. Instead, they’re conducting Google searches (generally beginning with “best…”), crowdsourcing opinions from friends on social media, visiting manufacturer and store websites, reading product reviews and maybe even watching YouTube videos that show the product in action. TOOLS TO HELP: NMG Digital Package Component – AdRocket Boost
3. Decision on Product
Next, they’ll narrow down their search to the two or three products they think will work best for them, and they may even rank them in order of preference.
4. Decision on Where to Buy
At this point, the customer will most likely do another Google search – but this time with the model number of the product(s) they have chosen and the words “near me.” These search results will (hopefully) show your store, along with your price and the price of others in your area (remember, customers compare prices, so posting prices is essential). There will also be some big-box stores in the mix, but don’t worry – this is to your advantage. The customer knows these stores; they know what the experience is like. They might not know you. But most will visit your website and search for information about your company, so it’s critical that you ask happy customers to post positive reviews.
If, after all this, the customer is considering buying from you, they’ll probably put the product in the cart to see what the total price will be (all in – tax, install accessories needed, delivery, etc.), how soon they can get the item, what consumer financing options are available and whether product protection is available. Remember, many people want product protection and won’t buy from a store that doesn’t offer it. TOOLS TO HELP: NMG Digital Package Components – Retail Deck, AdRocket Boost, Level 4 Website, WebFront Reviews
5. Decision to Buy Online or In–Store
Can the customer complete the sale, and schedule delivery or arrange pick–up online? While it’s true that builders and remodelers are still going to want a more relaxed and in-depth in-store experience, the Duress Customer is in urgent need and wants to get this purchase completed as quickly as possible. In fact, one home improvement big-box retailer is reportedly now receiving a staggering 55% of their appliance sales online, a trend we expect to continue. TOOLS TO HELP: NMG Digital Package Components – Level 4 Website
6A. In–Store Experience
Are the products the customer found on your website in the store? Do the prices listed online match the pricing in the store (electronic tags are a huge help in accomplishing this)? Does the salesperson support and reinforce the research the customer has done online? Most customers now view salespeople as an obstacle to the purchase of what they have researched and decided will best fit their needs. Don’t allow your salespeople to be this obstacle. Teach them how to help the Duress Customer complete their purchase and get the product home, including how to tactfully move them to a more “correct” product if their research has led them astray. TOOLS TO HELP: Electronic Price Tags, Nationwide Learning Academy
6B. Online Experience
If the customer decides to buy online, the transaction must be seamless to reinforce that the customer has made the right choice to shop with you. The process should also confirm the order, provide delivery (or pick–up) information and include everything the customer needs to know about your product(s). And extra points if they can track their delivery progress in real time. TOOLS TO HELP: NMG Digital Package Component – Level 4 Website, Dispatch Track
7. Successful Sale
Are all install accessories on the order? Is delivery / install scheduled? Has product protection been offered? What about consumer financing? TOOLS TO HELP: Product Protection Plans, Consumer Finance Programs
8. Delivery / Install Experience
Does the delivery / install crew show up on time? Is the crew helpful and engaging? The customer needs to be offered an opportunity to review both their purchase and their purchase experience. TOOLS TO HELP: NMG Digital Package Component – WebFront Reviews
9. Loyalty Building
Reviews need to be requested, gathered and managed. Customers leaving four- or five-star reviews should be invited to share them with the universe, while lower-grade scores need to be addressed by someone in your company. Then, after solving the concerns, invite the customer to re-rate you.
Salespeople also need to follow-up multiple times. Call immediately after delivery. Send a thank-you card or email. Reach back out 90-180 days later to check for satisfaction. Ask for referrals. And add the customer’s email address to the company’s email list for future communications. TOOLS TO HELP: NMG Digital Package Components – WebFront Reviews, Emma Email
Nationwide Marketing Group has the best-in-class components to help get you in front of the all-important Duress Customer at the critical moment of need. We have pulled together the most comprehensive and best digital solution by combining AdRocket Boost, Retail Deck, Level 4 Websites and WebFront Reviews into a fully integrated solution that will easily move the customer along the path to purchase so that they make the right decision – to pick the products YOU sell and to pick YOUR store to buy them from.
To learn more about these tools and how they can help your sales team, contact your MSM.
Leon Barbachano is general manager of Nationwide West