How e-commerce brands can win through Value-Added-Services
Commentary by: Frédéric Frizzarin
Head of Pre-Sales Merchant Services at Worldline
A fast, seamless checkout experience and free shipping have long served as the major hooks to keep online shoppers coming back for more. But while they are still critical, these factors alone are no longer enough. In today’s marketplace, customers increasingly expect merchants to understand their desires and needs before they even start the purchasing process. Ultimately, consumers now seek value at every turn meaning that merchants who invest in the following Value-Added-Services (VAS) are perfectly positioned to anticipate opportunities, better understand customer shopping habits, increase sales and create loyal brand champions.
It’s all about personalisation
Before the explosion of e-commerce, customers simply walked into stores and found a friendly assistant who helped them find what they wanted. Today, personalisation is increasingly important to merchants – in a heavily saturated marketplace – seeking to not only engage shoppers, but to also stimulate repeat purchases, drive sales, and increase sales conversion. It comes in many different forms, from personalised product recommendations on a retailer’s homepage or product detail page, to cart abandonment, push notifications and onboarding quizzes that provide a bespoke showroom of items to consumers. Thanks to continuous advances in technology and machine learning, merchants of all sizes can now deploy personalised messages and recommendations through their sites.
Today, it’s not about simply delivering what your business wants. You must allow your customers to consume the shopping experience in a way that they prefer while helping them achieve their own goals, during every stage of their journey.
Remembering the relevance of the human touch
In traditional bricks-and-mortar retail environments, customers would always expect a friendly human to be available to answer any questions and quickly guide them through the purchasing process. In the digital world, live chat can serve as a virtual extension of that all-important human touch. When shoppers have the chance to interact with a real person, they move far deeper into the sales funnel. ‘
E-commerce live chat typically appears as a window or pop-up on your business website. It allows your customer service team to be instantly available to any website visitor and provide real-time answers to their questions. This, in turn, allows you to meet your customers exactly where they are – at the heart of their online buying journey, providing support and security at a critical point of the process.
Rewarding loyal customers
Just because a customer purchases from you once, that does not mean they will necessarily do so again. When it comes to e-commerce there are several ways to drive repeat purchases such as offering discounts, free giveaways, partnerships, referrals and more. Loyalty programmes – whether free or paid – are often one of the most popular ways to aid customer retention by harnessing perks and incentives to reward customers for coming back. The best of these programmes is easy-to understand, show a clear path to greater exclusivity and rewards, and offer an overall fun experience.
In other words, these next-gen e-commerce loyalty programmes can create a devoted community around your brand and help you stand out from the crowd while providing you with valuable customer data to shape your product offering around.
A quick and easy return policy can act as one of the biggest differentiators for e-commerce brands today, as online shoppers consider an easy returns process to be an important deciding factor for making repeat purchases. Whether retailers like it or not, returns are a significant part of the purchasing cycle and, as customer preferences change, it is common for them to return items within only a few days. This trend is often referred to as ‘buy-to-try’ and represents a challenge for e-commerce brands in terms of inventory and logistics costs. Making your returns policy visible on your site, minimising escalations by being transparent and maximising customer interaction can all help to facilitate frictionless returns.
A varied approach to financing options
The rise in VAS is being matched by a growing consumer interest in alternative finance arrangements. This presents both merchants and financial institutions with a need to deliver these services at the point of sale. Customers now want their point-of-sale payment options to match the flexibility and convenience of e-commerce while merchants are looking to connect with more lenders to offer customers a wide range of credit options both online and in-store.
But these examples of VAS innovation are just the tip of the iceberg. In the future, we can expect the emergence of more services which will directly supplement transactions on payments terminals and offer extras for retailers and consumers, including loyalty and coupon offers that are seamlessly integrated into transactions
Combine your payment processing with Worldline’s intelligent and attractive, value-added solutions and benefit from numerous advantages. Learn more herehttps://business.worldline.com/en/retail-suite
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