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The brand experience is what marketers, brand managers and brand identity consultants design in an effort to achieve the desired brand image. Your brand is what you stand for in the market, and it sets customer expectations for interactions with your firm. Customer experience is defined as how customers perceive their interactions with your brand. Customer experience is your reality check.
For example, if your brand “stands for” simplicity and flexibility, then that’s what customers expect from their interactions–whether in-store, online, or over the phone. If your customer experience doesn’t consistently deliver on that promise, then you have a problem. In summary, brand sets customer expectations for experience and customer experience is a measure how well you deliver on those expectation. Auditing the customer experience against brand set customer expectations is the only way we will know whether the customer and end-user experiences align with the brand experience we intend to create.
Brand experiences during the post-purchase phase has the greatest overall positive or negative impact on their brand relationship with retailers
Post-purchase is the key to positive brand experience and relationship
According to the U.S. consumer survey done by IBV (Institute for Business Value) in 2011, out of 3 phases of brand experience (pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase) respondents clearly marked the post-purchase phase as the most influential over their retail brand relationships and their willingness to promote a given retailer to other consumers. Consumers have made it clear that brand experiences during the post-purchase phase have the greatest overall positive or negative impact on their brand relationship with retailers and their inclination to shop that retailer over competitors. So, it is imperative that you remain ever aware of the fact that after you’ve thanked your customer for his order, you’re just beginning the most influential phase of his brand interaction with you.
The length of delivery time, how your product is packaged, the quality and variety of provided print materials, the ease of exchanges and returns—it all contributes to your brand perception and experience as a whole. Several post-purchase factors, such as convenience of tracking order, on-time delivery and ease of customer service, play vital roles in influencing customer loyalty. Same findings were confirmed by IBM Consumer Expectations Study Insights done in 2016 and 2017, consumer expectations in post-purchase phase are the key to overall positive or negative experience and brand relationship. Of course, an evaluation of the experience is always in comparison to your brand promises, but also relative to other retailers' performance in this segment. Namely, it is the collective performance of all retailers customers interact with within a single market that shapes implicit customer expectations and market performance averages.
After you’ve thanked your customer for her order, you’re just beginning the most influential phase of her brand interaction with you
So, if you're ignoring your e-commerce post-purchase experience, whether it delivers to to your brand promises, but more importantly how it compares relative to other and best performing retailers, you're ignoring the most influential prerequisite for brand relationship development, loyalty development, repeat purchases and ultimately e-commerce revenue growth.
Measuring up to your brand promises and market implicit customer expectations
Unfortunately, within majority of companies most if not all management attention and investments are focused on pre-purchase phase of customer buying experience, while post-purchase phase has been ignored or left unmanaged. In search of e-commerce growth most companies invest heavily into online advertising and online presence through an ever expanding digital marketing performance tech arsenal and ecosystem that evolves around search, acquisition and conversion optimisation. At the same time everything that happens after the "check-out" button often receives much less attention, especially from marketing & brand departments who, often from siloed departments' perspective, consider this part of consumer journey solely the supply chain department's area of expertise and responsibility.
When a customer makes a purchase online, there’s an “experience gap” from the time the customer checks out to when the product arrives. This is the new moment of truth for online shoppers. Providing a positive experience at this time of anticipation is a tremendous opportunity for retailers to deepen their relationships with customers and build loyalty for their brands. Surprisingly, only 16% of companies are focused on customer retention, even though it costs at least five times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one.
Improve the post-purchase experience for your customers to ensure the relationship doesn’t end at checkout.
Opportunities for a differentiated and brand unique experience are there. Now, retailers can extend the customer hand-holding post-purchase with beautiful branded interfaces, delivery visibility, and personalised content. By streamlining customers’ paths to purchase and bringing them back directly into the loyalty loop, brands can convert one-time shoppers into lifelong brand advocates. There is a whole world of things to do and experiences to optimize between the moment the customer choses to buy — and the moment the goods are delivered into that person’s hands.
Subscription eCommerce brand Shaker & Spoon sells boxes containing ingredients to make creative cocktails. As such, the boxes often contain perishable ingredients. To ensure a positive customer experience post-purchase, the ingredients have to be in good condition. Therefore, it’s important for the brand to let customers know that the box and its contents should be refrigerated in a timely manner.
There is a whole world of things to do and experiences to optimize between the moment the customer choses to buy — and the moment the goods are delivered into that person’s hands.
Staying true to the brand and to the customer experience, the box says, “Boy, I sure wish I were in a fridge right now!” It’s a subtle way of ensuring a positive in-person experience, while providing utility and brand authenticity
But how and where do you start? That's where we at SO DIGITAL can help.
Audit your post-purchase against brand promises and market averages
SO DIGITAL GLOBAL E-COMMERCE BRAND EXCELLENCE PLATFORM is a management tool that helps companies formulate, evaluate, and improve their e-commerce strategies by providing a systematic assessment of competitive performance of post-purchase experience across markets. Trained researches in target countries perform actual purchase of products from target e-retailers, recording their every step, while answering standardised scale based scorecard with average 200 data points to provide insight into comparative performance of leading e-retailers on selected dimensions.
It audits the most influential phase of customer brand relationship by contrasting the customer shopping experience across stages of delivery, tracking, packaging - out of box experience, returns & refunds ( the reality) versus brand set expectations (the promises). Our platform enables competitive cross industry performance benchmarking of best performing e-retailers across dimensions of online (post)purchase experience, including but not limited to, phases of delivery, tracking, packaging - out of box experience, and return & refunds.
To start driving your eCommerce growth by focusing on post-purchase experience contact us today for a free no-commitment one-on-one walk through of the solution & service and use client case of Nike (EMEA). Improve the post-purchase experience for your customers to ensure the relationship doesn’t end at checkout.
SO DIGITAL | GLOBAL BRAND EXCELLENCE SOLUTIONS is a technology company based in Amsterdam specialised in serving headquarters of global brands. We are proud partners of leading global digital growth brands like Nike (EMEA) and Uber (EMEA), but also other brands like TomTom (WHQ) and AS Monaco. With offices in Amsterdam, Berlin, Barcelona and Balkans we help global brands reduce complexity cost of global branding by delivering speed, scale and efficiency in execution across markets.