We read an interesting report from WhatsApp Business this week addressing the subject of buyer friction. A key topic that we highlight with our clients when assisting them with social media marketing is to ensure they have an integrated approach, focusing on the importance of the marketing scope as a whole and how we can work with them collaboratively to ensure consistent and coherent communication. So what’s to consider? Below we share the key takeaways from this report along with what we’ve experienced while working with our clients. Let’s begin!
Before we begin talking about how buyer friction affects a customer’s journey, let’s try to understand why customer preferences have changed so much over the years.
Technology that’s changing lives
Rapidly evolving technology in the modern world has made our lives so much easier. But when it comes to brands and marketing, it has also raised the customers’ level of expectations. Easier access to modern technology and a growing interest in social media have now made customers more aware of what they expect from a brand and, perhaps, a little impatient too! They expect smooth and quick user experiences such as easy navigation through their favourite brand’s website or app, effortless checkout processes, and no compromise regarding privacy and protection of their personal information.
Smartphones taking over the world
Recent studies undertaken by Oberlo have found that at least 75% of customers prefer purchasing products on their mobile phones. Smartphones have taken over the world and have now made it easier for customers to engage with the brands they like and order the products they want quickly and efficiently.
Remote work during and after COVID-19
Another big reason for the rapidly changing customer preferences is the huge shift to remote work in the post-pandemic world. Customers now rely on the internet more than ever for a safe and secure shopping experience.
Understanding the reason behind a massive change in customer preferences will help businesses battle buyer friction - an obstacle most businesses must not ignore! Removing buyer friction from a customer’s journey will allow your brand to build a better relationship with the customers, both existing, as well as potential, and help earn some bonus points that might, in the long run, work wonders for your business. In today’s fast-paced world where there is a demand for instant gratification, buyer friction is definitely going to negatively impact your brand.
What is “buyer friction”, you ask?
Anything that prevents a potential or already existing customer from buying a product or service is called buyer friction (or customer friction). Here are some examples:
If a website or page takes too long to load
When there are difficulties navigating through a website or app
When the customer support systems aren’t up to the mark
If there are too many steps to register or login before purchasing or completing a transaction
How to provide a frictionless customer journey
There are four main stages in a customer’s journey. To make sure your customer has a frictionless journey, you must focus on reducing friction at each stage. Keep reading to know how to reduce buyer friction and achieve customer satisfaction.
Discovery and awareness
At this stage, the customer has just begun their journey of looking for the product they need. Therefore, it is your job to make sure the process of choosing a product is seamless. You can do this through targeted paid ads and marketing. Make sure the customer experience is personalised. You can do this by prompting your customer to allow communication and updates via chats (like WhatsApp) or text messages that will guide them through their journey. You can give product recommendations that are based on the customer's needs or previous searches. This will ensure the customer discovers the product they are looking for without too much hassle.
Consideration and decision making
At this stage, your customer has already taken a look at all the options you have to offer and will now begin the process of comparing your products with your competitors’ products. Hence, it is at this stage that you must convince the customer to come back and choose your product. You can make your website or app customer-friendly by adding reminders when the customer leaves anything in the cart for a long time (we all forget sometimes, while some of us might be busy!), subtly encouraging them to make a purchase. Once again, providing more accurate product recommendations based on the customer’s previous activities will give them more choices and make the overall process easier.
Final choice and purchase
By now your customer has finalised their product and is on the way to making the payment. This is a crucial stage in the customer journey because this is where buyer friction can be most obnoxious, leading to dissatisfaction. Make sure the payment systems are up and running smoothly and are not very time-consuming. You must also stay up to date on the checkout processes and keep looking for areas that need improvement. Only ask for necessary information and give the customer an option to save their preferred form of payment so it gets easier the next time they wish to buy from you.
Post-purchase and building customer relationships
Wait, your job is not done yet. The journey ends only when the customer receives their product. So, until then, make sure you give your customer timely updates while they patiently wait for the arrival of their new product. Good customer service can help you get positive feedback and build the customer’s trust in your brand. Don’t forget to provide them with the correct tracking information and other relevant details!
Even though this is the final stage of any customer’s journey, it is the most important stage since it helps build customer relationships. Make sure the product they received is worth the money they paid - yes, quality matters. Most importantly, provide customer support for return and exchange services, if necessary. A chatbot that can answer basic questions and help the customer can be another plus point.
To conclude, technology in the modern world has, without a doubt, made life more convenient for customers. They can now pick and choose their products and services based on their individual requirements. This also means that the right kind of marketing and brand-building can help you grow your business to a great extent. But here’s the flip side - if you don’t do it right, your competitors are way too many! Remember, customer satisfaction is key and bridging the gap between what your client expects and what your client receives is going to make or break your business.
*Source WhatsApp Business - Zero Friction Report
*Source Mobile Commerce Sales in 2021,” Oberlo, 2021
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