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Bruno Berthezene Managing Director Solocal Group

How do retailers ensure a seamless customer experience from online research to in-store purchase?

There has been an undeniable change in people’s buying habits in recent years, with how consumers choose to buy and research products evolving as technology does.

The rise of mobile and online technology has had a huge impact on consumer behaviour, and the surge in the number of smartphone and tablet users has led to an ever- increasing number of consumers who research products online before buying in store.

It is therefore essential that retailers manage the customer journey seamlessly from attention to action, and engage with customers along their purchase journey in a personalised and contextual way. 

By offering customers an easy to use, personalised service, the user experience is greatly improved, leading to increased loyalty and engagement. This interaction with consumers can be made possible through solutions such as personalised display advertising, cross-channel store locators, real-time online appointment booking and mobile-enabled websites. 

Creating an optimised, seamless customer journey from initial search to in-store purchase is at the core of everything Solocal Group UK do.  To enhance the customer experience, we encourage brands to build a real understanding of the customer, as it enables them to personalise their marketing campaigns.

Personalised marketing allows consumers to cut through the masses of information available online, and makes them feel like they are receiving a special service, tailored especially for their needs and interests.  When running a display advertising campaign,  it is therefore important that retailers identify their target audience and take the time to understand this group, by analysing detailed social, behavioural, geographic and demographic data.

Retailers who implement personalised display advertising strategies have a much better understanding of the buying behaviour and specific needs of their client base, which ultimately increases conversion and website traffic, improves the level of customer engagement and generates a higher ROI.

Once a person’s initial interest has been captured, it’s important to give potential customers motivation to engage. Discounts or offers at local outlets provide an excellent way of doing this, and really help to provide an incentive for web users to make the journey from online to in store.

In addition to offering personalised advertisements and offers, retailers can drive prospective clients in store using dynamic store locator services. Store locators can now do much more than just putting the customer in touch with their nearest outlet; they can showcase the services that each outlet offers, enabling customers to choose the shop that best suits their needs, whilst offering local offers and promotions.

Store locators can display which products are in store and offer click and collect services, making it easy for the customer to buy the product they want at a time that suits them, eliminating the risk of a customer visiting a store only to discover that what they’re looking for has sold out. Local events can also be displayed by store locators, helping customers to get the most from their local retail outlet.

To help foster a personal connection between the customer and their nearest outlet, Store locators can show pictures of local branches, giving retailers the opportunity to ‘sell’ the in-store experience, further encouraging people to make the journey from web to store. 

When creating a seamless journey for customers, ease of use and convenience for the customer is exceptionally important. With 40% of appointments being booked outside of opening hours, offering a real-time appointment booking system enables customers to engage with retailers outside of busy working hours, at a time that is convenient for them, leading to an improved interaction with retailers. 

Once a person’s initial interest has been captured, it’s important to give potential customers motivation to engage. 

Bruno Berthezene, Solocal

When creating a seamless journey for customers, ease of use and convenience for the customer is exceptionally important. With 40% of appointments being booked outside of opening hours, offering a real-time appointment booking system enables customers to engage with retailers outside of busy working hours, at a time that is convenient for them, leading to an improved interaction with retailers. 

Retailers that used a store locator, including that of the one developed by Solocal Group to develop an online booking system, for example, experienced an 80% reduction in no shows for appointments due to automated reminders and follow up emails, as well as an average of 20 new customers a month, illustrating the success of this approach. 

These techniques are some of the key tactics retailers can employ to ensure a seamless customer experience from online research to in-store purchase; by putting the customer’s needs at the centre of your marketing strategy, they are much more likely to want to engage with your brand. As the market specialist in cost-effective multichannel marketing, Solocal Group UK specialise in supporting retailers and businesses with the online to in-store customer journey by connecting customers with brands.