Changing patterns of consumer behavior means furniture retailers now, more than ever, need to focus on engaging more deeply with their customers to build loyalty, drive in-store and online traffic, and uncover a steady flow of sales and marketing opportunities. New research by Package AI investigates the role of engagement in customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Customer loyalty is on the decline, and furniture retailers need to react. The reason? According to a report by Blackhawk Research, one-quarter of consumers are now spending less on the brands they typically buy. A further 22% say they intend to buy less from their favorite brands, while only 23% of respondents say they are not planning to switch from their current brands.
And for retailers who believe their repeat-purchase solid performance is a measure of their customers’ loyalty — they could be badly mistaken. Consumers have become increasingly habitual in their purchasing behavior but not loyal. One-third of respondents in the survey said they showed no loyalty when shopping, while 75% said they do not have a ‘strong’ loyalty towards the brands they usually buy.
Consumers typically spend their dollars elsewhere when better, cheaper, or more suitable alternatives become available.
To Increase Loyalty, Increase Customer Engagement
With habitual or repeat purchases an unreliable indicator of customer loyalty, retailers need to focus on increasing customer engagement. Engaged customers are likely not only loyal customers but precious ones. Consider that loyal consumers spend an average of $132 a month with retailers, compared with just $71 a month among those they feel less connected with, according to Bain’s research.
To capture this additional spend, retailers need to pivot from simply selling their products to investing in a great customer experience throughout the buyer’s journey. Furniture retailers can benchmark their performance by looking at industry-specific metrics in Package AI’s new Customer Experience and Fulfillment Report. This report investigates delivery confirmations, post-delivery feedback, post-delivery customer happiness, customer reviews, and post-delivery upsell metrics.
With customers expecting Amazon buying and delivery experience standards, how can furniture retailers provide a customer-centric experience that turns customers into loyal customers and help drive traffic to brick-and-mortar and online stores?
Gain Full Visibility of Your Customers
Retailers have benefited from technological solutions for decades to improve the fulfillment process and increase customer engagement. Their Achilles’ heel, however, has often been their reliance on multiple, disconnected systems that keep data private. Because these systems don’t interact, they don’t allow for a complete line-of-sight of all customer interactions. Different departments are blind to how other departments have been engaging with customers. These departmental silos impact a retailer’s ability to upsell or market additional products post-delivery effectively. According to Package AI’s research, the industry average post-delivery upsell is merely 3% based on data from 50 leading furniture and appliance retailers.
Implementing a single system to manage customer engagement allows retailers to gain complete visibility of every customer throughout each stage of the buyers’ journey and across all departments. This merges all interactions and conversations customers have with a retailer’s sales, marketing, customer service, and delivery staff, in one central location. So when a customer reaches out or is contacted, their complete history is at hand regardless of the department involved. When a customer feels that a retailer knows them intimately, it goes a long way toward building a lasting relationship.
Don’t Notify Customers. Interact With Them
However, the vast majority of retailers cannot achieve high levels of customer engagement because they notify customers using one-way push notifications. According to Package AI‘s research report, this notification is one of the reasons why the industry average for delivery confirmation rates is at 50%.
Armed with instant access to centralized customer data, retailers need to establish a flow of relevant, personalized, and engaging two-way conversations with their customers throughout the fulfillment process. Allowing customers to instantly respond to communications or engage in two-way conversations during the fulfillment process.
These interactive customer conversations, powered by artificial intelligence and automation, will ensure that each customer has a voice throughout the customer journey. These conversations increase engagement and lead to great fulfillment experiences that build stronger, more personal relationships, turning customers into brand advocates and repeat buyers.
Increase Positive Reviews and Sales Opportunities
A disjointed, disconnected, dissatisfied customer experience leads to poor customer reviews. However, according to Forbes, retailers who boost customer satisfaction will increase positive online reviews, which will, in turn, help drive traffic and revenues in their online and bricks and mortar stores.
Research from Package.ai has shown that an engaging fulfillment experience, based on personalized and meaningful Interactions with customers, can double the percentage of customers who leave positive reviews from an industry average of 4% to 8%.
Visibility of customers through each element of the fulfillment process will also boost sales opportunities. Retailers who need more visibility can expect to achieve the industry benchmark of a 3% response rate to upsell and marketing communications, according to Package.ai research. However, those with a dynamic, transparent, and interactive fulfillment process based around centralized customer data will find their customers more responsive to upsell and marketing communications. These retailers expect an 8% response rate, an almost three-fold improvement.
Using a single customer engagement platform powered by AI and automation can enable furniture retailers of all sizes to use customer engagement as a central pillar of their growth strategy. This automation will offer a competitive advantage in building customer loyalty and upsell opportunities. And in an era of dwindling customer loyalty, this will be key for furniture retailers looking to expand and drive growth.
Download your copy of Package.ai’s State of Fulfillment and the Customer Experience in Furniture and Appliances Retail in 2022 to see how your customer engagement compares to other furniture retailers. It will help you improve your post-purchase buyer journey to drive and grow your sales this year.