Success in any enterprise business is created through providing an exceptional customer experience.
Plain and simple.
While product quality and price play a role in success, nothing so quickly limits a company’s opportunity for growth as a less-than-exceptional customer experience. The happier the customer is when the transaction is finished, the greater the chance that he or she will purchase again and recommend that company to friends and family. Right?
Okay, here’s an example: I love to read.
I am always on the prowl for the next great page turner. I work in downtown Minneapolis and there is a Barnes and Noble a few blocks away that I can walk to on my lunch. I’m not particular about where I buy my books, but I am particular about the customer service I receive. Barnes and Noble allows me to preselect books that I want to look at in-store and then request that they pull the books and hold them for me so that I can scoot down and take a peek before I buy.
What does this have to do with ecommerce automation?
Ah, good question!
First, when I peruse their list of titles, I’m actually surfing through their ecommerce site. The option to pick up a title in store is a secondary call to action below the “add to bag” option and my selection is automatically forwarded to the store of my choosing. If I don’t want to buy the book online, there is another way for me to engage with Barnes and Noble.
Second, when I request a book, I get to choose whether I want to be notified via text when the book is ready and waiting for me or if I would prefer to simply receive a notification email. When the book is ready, I receive an automated text message and/or email message letting me know.
I guarantee that when that text comes through, my interest is piqued and I find a way to plan a lunch time visit to the store. And I know that Barnes and Noble has gotten a lot more of my book business, both in-store and online since I discovered the service.
Why does this matter?
Exceptional customer service via ecommerce automation.
Plenty of stores will pull a title for you if you call them—but that requires the store to be open. Stores with a way to make after hours requests may or may not have a notification system in place to let you know the title is ready. And if they do, it may or may not be automated, so the notification relies on the salesperson’s completing the loop and letting you know the book is ready. If they get distracted by a customer in store after they’ve pulled the book, what then?
The Take Away
The effectiveness of the Barnes and Noble “Pick It Up” system hinges on their ecommerce site’s robust functionality. Open 24/7, shoppers in multiple time zones can browse their entire catalog of titles any time day or night and then immediately purchase or opt to view the title in-store. The notification that a “pick it up in-store” title is ready closes the loop for the consumer and drives the shopper to complete the purchase. It also serves as a sort of guerilla-retargeting method—consumers get reminded that they requested a book and they don’t feel solicited to in the least.
As an ecommerce company, anything that you can do to provided automation within your site and buying process will pay off in improved customer experience and an increase in customer loyalty.
Learn how to make your ecommerce initiative a success–watch the on-demand webinar, Ecommerce Website Best Practices.
Photo credit: Ian Wilson via Flickr.