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How can brands and manufacturers meet the demands of today's consumers?

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How can brands and manufacturers meet the demands of today's consumers? ©iStockphoto.com/gorodenkoff

How do you successfully meet the expectations of B2C and B2B customers?

Customer expectations have been steadily rising over the past two decades in line with the growth of ecommerce trends and are changing the way businesses interact with customers. The pandemic accelerated this process, making digital commerce capabilities and presence a requirement to drive business.  

Today’s consumers expect personalization from the brands they do business with. In fact, 80% of customers are more likely to purchase a product or service from a brand that provides personalized experiences.  Anticipatory shipping methods, different payment options and omnichannel experiences are not even up for debate. In an era where experience matters the most, if organizations cannot meet these ever-evolving customer demands, they won’t be able to keep up with their competitors around the globe.  

To keep clients happy, brands and manufacturers should start analyzing consumer trends and focus on creating personalized customer experiences. Consumers must feel valued right from the first encounter with your company. To facilitate this type of customer connection, you can offer personalized product content and a consistent shopping experience across different channels. When you give customers a great experience, they’ll buy more, be more loyal and share their experience with friends!    

Why is it important to meet customer expectations?  

First and foremost: you won’t have a business without clients, which is why it’s crucial to attract customers and keep them coming back. Most companies already evaluate the set of behaviors or actions that consumers envision when interacting with them. According to Forrester, nearly 95% of leaders say that providing a good customer experience is a top strategic priority.

So not only meeting but exceeding your customers' expectations may be the only factor that separates you from your competitors. But you don’t have to spend sleepless nights thinking about how to exceed customer expectations. That’s why we’re here.  

3 strategies to exceed customer expectations  

1. Increase your reach  

No matter what kind of company you run, it’s becoming clear that it’s not enough to have only a website to attract clients. 87% of customers are now looking for a personalized and consistent experience across different shopping channels.  Added to that, the average consumer uses almost six touchpoints when assessing and buying a product.

Whether you are selling B2B, B2C or making the jump to Direct-To-Consumer (D2C), customers expect a seamless, easy-to-navigate multichannel experience. In an ideal world, every company would have the resources needed to bring this cross-channel vision to life. However, in the real world, most ventures will have limitations. That’s why it’s so important to carefully plan your market reach strategy and choose the channels best suited to support your business use case.  

Before taking your company to the next level, you must review your existing business model in order to cater to the expectations of modern consumers – who want everything available in just a couple of clicks. Failure to do so puts your business at risk of falling behind.  

Let’s say you start selling on different channels, but at some point, your product listings aren't compelling customers to buy or when they do, they're sending stuff back because the product description didn't match what they got in the box. This is much more common than you’d think. Many enterprises struggle to unlock deeper business values and create differentiated consumer experiences if their product information is not consistent and accurate across channels.  

Only 2.17% of ecommerce visits convert into purchasesEvery company that doesn’t want to be part of this statistic should prioritize its product experience. That means reaching more audiences both where and when customers expect. That’s exactly how a Product Experience Management (PXM) system can help your business - by delivering contextual and personalized product content based on the channel, locale and customer needs to facilitate an emotional connection.  

Streamlining every aspect of product information, putting product experience personalization first and choosing the right tools to help you along the way are critical for channel flexibility and standardization. This approach ultimately ensures shoppers know exactly what they’re getting when they click “add to cart,” which means that they are more likely to return.  

2. Deliver personalized customer experiences  

Satisfied customers that’ll stick with you over the long term. That’s the dream for any business, right? But to turn it into reality, companies need to close the gap between customer service expectations and the actual customer experience. Customer expectations have always been on the rise, and during the pandemic, the bar has only gone up. Today’s customers want tailored experiences — and they are even willing to spend 140% more to get them. Yet only 53% of retailers consider personalization as a top priority.

With internet access and an easy connection to multiple brand touchpoints, the D2C business model has become more complex than linear. The push for personalization has blurred the lines between the B2B and B2C buyer’s journey. B2B customers are now looking for more seamless experiences when buying on the job. So, personalization has become mandatory if you want to build a successful business and establish emotional connections that could lead to increased conversions and brand loyalty. 

Once limited to targeted promotional campaigns, personalization now extends to the entire shopping journey. However, many brands overlook the importance that product data plays in providing a successful personalized experience when it can actually help drive conversion in B2C retail or enrich the experience of B2B manufacturing products. In fact, there can be no product experience personalization without enriched product data.  

As Gartner observes, organizations that focus on helping their customers with personalized messaging can expect a 16% more impact on commercial outcomes than those that don’t. However, many teams struggle to keep up with the demands of completing products with rich descriptions, full attribution and digital assets. At the low end of the spectrum, ecommerce brands only convert 0.10% of the traffic that hits their product pages. Therefore, companies need every element of their product page - the featured product, UX, product description and call-to-action - to encourage visitors to make a purchase. 

Getting your product information management under control gives your team more time and energy to focus on personalization. This is where a Product Information Management (PIM) system comes to the rescue. PIM enables your marketing team to set up standardized processes for cross-channel product information enrichment. With a PIM system, companies can easily manage and deliver rich, accurate, complete and channel-ready product content, enabling marketing teams to increase their efficiency by always knowing what gaps need to be filled. The value of a PIM quickly escalates as you expand your sales channels and need to translate content to support the unique requirements of each digital platform and marketplace.  

3. Improve data quality through enrichment  

Content can make or break your ecommerce site. Every year, poor data quality costs organizations an average of $12.9 million. Besides having an impact on revenue, poor quality data can negatively affect how your clients perceive your brand. In today’s digital economy, knowing how to provide a positive customer experience is a crucial competitive advantage. To successfully sell a product across multiple channels, you’ll need more than basic facts like a unique product identifier, description, size, color, etc. Buyers want rich and engaging product content that includes detailed descriptions, stories, images, videos, articles and more. Simple content is no longer enough.

Product content enrichment has many benefits for an organization, from delivering a more relevant customer experience to potentially increasing conversion rates by 78%By providing the necessary details, you can go further with the product features, build an emotional connection and achieve a 360-degree view that includes product descriptions, digital assets, rich media, product bundles, kits, upsells and more. With improved content, you can build a trusting relationship with your clients, leading to not only more sales but customer loyalty.  

With enriched data, your organization can:   

  • Outshine the competition: Use high-quality, enhanced content such as comparison charts, graphics and videos, combined with associated product information management across channels, and your competitors won’t stand a chance.  
  • Captivate more customers: By creating and managing references to other products like spare parts, bundles, upsells, cross-sells, e.g., “shop the look” or “you may also like,” you can increase relevancy and ultimately attract more customers.  
  • Drive traffic to your product pages: When you smoothly maintain and optimize product data attributes, you can boost your SEO and achieve high rankings for product detail pages and category landing pages.  

Do you already meet customer expectations or fall short?  

The ball is in your court. The way you approach your customers directly impacts their perception of your ecommerce business. Today’s consumers expect companies to go the extra mile in order to meet their needs. Siloed approaches for digital, direct and indirect sales models don’t work.  

As online sales are speeded up by digital-savvy shoppers, brands and manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the volume of product information and digital assets needed to support their omnichannel marketing and sales programs.  If that's also your case, we have good news!  

Contentserv can help you simplify the entire process of implementing a successful cross-channel strategy. Our all-in-one Product Experience Cloud ensures that you manage your product information at scale, get your products to market faster and deliver personalized product experiences across all touchpoints. You can even increase the value of your product data through our helpful integrations and connectors.   

By increasing your reach, enriching your product information and personalizing experiences, you can build a reputation on exceeding your customers’ expectations — and nurture lasting relationships that’ll take you far. Check back here as we keep sharing these strategies in greater detail.  

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