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Meeting the demands of today’s smarter shopper

By Dan Wilson March 17, 2017 - 12:01 am

In this guest post from Royal Mail the growing expectations of British online shoppers go under the microscope.

According to Mastercard’s Omnishopper report, 82% of people believe they’re smarter shoppers than they used to be. With more technology and information than ever before, they research to find the best deal and rely on the good reviews of others to endorse their decision. As a seller, adapting to the traits of today’s shopper is key.

Meet the multi-channel shopper
This highly-informed shopper is adept at scanning different channels, using a range of technology to discover, compare and learn. They research products thoroughly to feel in charge of their shopping experience. The more they can know about a product, the readier they feel to make a purchase.

It’s all about comparison shopping. When asked how technology has changed their shopping experience, 53% of people said they were comparing prices more, while 43% said they were comparing different products more. It’s more competitive than ever to sell, so understanding what matters to these shoppers is critical.

What are they looking for?
Marketplace selling can often feel like a race to the lowest price. But what’s interesting about today’s shopper is that price isn’t the only focus. Of course it’s still important, people always want to feel like they’re getting the best deal, but equally they want quality and convenience. The experience you give your customer, from price and delivery to detailed product information and timely customer service, can make all the difference. According to a CEI Survey, 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience.

Understanding what shoppers are looking for could give you that edge. Older shoppers want quality and price, while younger customers turn more readily to reviews and reputation to make their decision. Hit the mark on all and you’re on your way to winning new and repeat business.

Good reviews are marketplace gold
If you’re already a marketplace seller, or just starting out, you’ll know how important reviews are to your business. For the highly-informed, multi-channel shopper, reviews are a key decision-maker in the buying process. In fact, 78% of shoppers make purchase decisions based on reviews. So what can you do to pull in those 5* ratings?

Encourage rather than insist
Dominant marketplaces, like Amazon and eBay, don’t let you contact your customers directly to ask for reviews or feedback. But despite this, there are ways to build loyalty and encourage a good review. An effective way is to offer your customers more value, such as a discount for their next purchase, free shipping for first time buyers or a free tester with their order.

Making the best of bad feedback
In the life of a marketplace seller, bad reviews are bound to happen at some point. The best way to deal with a bad review is to see it as an opportunity to improve your service.

Be timely — the quicker you send a friendly, well-written and timely response, the more your customer knows you care about their problem
Listen well — and learn from your customer’s experience. You may realise you’ve overlooked something about your product, updating your listings with useful information will make you better for the future
Be accountable — don’t be afraid to admit a mistake has happened. Taking responsibility and getting things sorted gives you credibility, making it more likely that people will want to do business with you again

Great service always wins
Of course the best way to rake in those good reviews is to offer a great product at a great price with reliable delivery. Recent research by American Express found that 3 out of 4 shoppers will actually spend more with a business due to their history of good service. From professional photos and informative product listings to flexible shipping options, considering the customer in all you do is a sure-fire way to bring in those 5* reviews. After all, your customer’s good experience is your competitive edge.

The key take-outs:
– Today’s shopper researches and compares more than ever before, relying heavily on reviews to make a purchase decision
– Offering a great product at a competitive price isn’t enough, you need to offer great customer service to bring in good reviews to rise above the competition
– If something goes wrong, dealing with the problem quickly and learning from it will help you improve your service

Want to discover more marketplace selling trends for 2017? Download the full report for free here.

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