I needed a new laptop bag last month. The bag I had bought 18 months prior and lovingly touted around Toronto was on its last legs. A mere thread was holding one of the straps together. I knew (feared) an embarrassing bag falling on the ground and contents spewing along the downtown streets incident was imminent.
I started my shopping journey visiting my “go to” shopping destinations—Winners, Marshalls, Nine West and The Bay. I am a creature of habit and one of these stores usually provide what I need quickly and easily. But my search was fruitless–they had laptop bags, but nothing that felt like “the one".
Next, I turned to Google and searched “laptop bags.” I only used the Image and Shopping tabs. This was a good step in opening me up to considering new options, but I was still underwhelmed. Amazon was the last frontier—I typed “laptop bag” and the floodgates opened. They had a plethora of options, but now I didn’t know which one to choose.
I was experiencing retail fatigue.
What happened to retail therapy? Isn’t shopping supposed to be fun? I truly just wanted to be able to describe the image in my head and have someone (or something) find it for me and let me get on with my day.
Randomly scrolling through Instagram, I started seeing posts with women carrying bags that appealed to me. Following the hashtags, I knew my search was over. There was one bag where it was love at first sight. Funny it wasn’t a laptop bag!! Now the big question was “is it big enough to accommodate my laptop?” I reached out to the poster with my questions and within moments she responded back. With confirmation the bag met my needs, it was a quick and easy journey to purchase.
My final purchase. It’s a mommy backpack, not a laptop bag!!! But it works amazing for my laptop and has so many compartments, I have never been so organized.
Lessons for Retailers
1. Customers Want to Be Loyal. Reciprocate the Love—My journey started with my “go to” shopping destinations. I, like most customers, am a creature of habit and frequent places that previously satisfied my needs. Loyalty is claimed to be a high priority for retailers, but what’s being done to foster it? My shopping journey began out of necessity, but it could have just as easily begun out of pleasure. I have loyalty cards with all of my “go to” destinations. They could have leveraged my data and put together a remarketing campaign that included product recommendations, maybe 6 months after my purchase. But in response to my loyalty, I received silence.
2. Be on Top and Greet Them with a Smile—Google is amazing, but after a few moments of scrolling and clicking through the Image and Shopping tabs, I gave up. I searched multiple terms and only those that showed up at the beginning of the results received a visit. In some cases, I was led back to the same e-commerce site multiple times for different products. Imagine if a chatbot or chat was enabled, recognized my search pattern, and offered up potential suggestions. I would have been so relieved. It’s great to have a plethora of options, but it would be better if they could be narrowed down with filters that make sense for me, not just the canned ones built into your site.
3. Product Descriptions are Not Enough—Yes, I needed a bag to carry my laptop, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I need a laptop bag. Customers are going to have questions. It’s impossible to have an FAQ that addresses every possible question. You may have an email or toll-free number option, but that slows down the buying cycle and opens gaps for the customer to venture elsewhere and get enticed by another option. I saw something that I liked, asked a question and got an immediate response from the poster—the appeal of social media is that immediate engagement. For a retailer, having a chatbot or a chat agent offers customers a similar experience, with immediate support and responses to their questions.
4. Offer Therapy for Weary Shoppers—Make it Easy - My purchase finally brought the therapy I needed. I was excited to make the purchase. I was getting an upgrade from my current laptop bag. It was going to be both stylish and practical. I made the purchase with a known retailer. They had my details on file so no need to re-enter my information. I was automatically updated with when my bag would ship and it arrived as promised.
Enjoy this on-demand webinar called The New Ecommerce Imperative: Data-Led Customer-Obsession. In this webinar, myself and Forrester VP/Principal Analyst, Brendan Witcher, will explain why companies must create contextually relevant experiences for their customers, examine how personalization is really becoming individualization, and why the prerequisite for becoming customer-obsessed in 2018 requires a culture and organization that is data-led.