So you are all set to launch your new E-commerce venture (if you have not already launched one) and be the next Groupon. But just a second: Groupon had an early mover advantage in this space which you do not have. Add to it customer fatigue, disinterested merchants and low margins – and you have a perfect recipe for failure.
But being in the industry for quite some time now and being a deal seeker myself, I believe there is still room for more players. You just have to do things right!
Your customer’s decision to buy from you can broadly be classified into 5 main processes – Need recognition, Information Search, Evaluation of Alternatives, Purchase decision and Post-Purchase Evaluation
- Need Recognition & Problem Awareness : Nobody needed a Computer in our grandfather’s generation. But as time progressed awareness was created around it. Marketing further exemplified the pros of owning one and today we have reached a stage where we cannot even imagine a life without a computer. Similarly majority of your customers might not ‘need’ a deal on spa treatment but nonetheless everybody has an inherent desire of looking good and feeling good. Translate this desire into a ‘need’ and one-fifth of your battle is one.
- Information Search: Your customers do not live in isolated islands. They are constantly bombarded with messages both from online and offline media. Once they have identified their need, they search for information on how to satisfy them. Provide them that information. Be there where your customers are searching for information. Inbound marketing helps to a large extent in being that information source- Blog, SEO, Social Media, Discussion Forums, etc. help to create that ‘Pull’ around your service.
- Evaluation of Alternatives: From being ‘also-ran’ to being the ‘chosen one’ requires a lot of hard work. Best Price is only one factor and no doubt an important one but there are other things that matter as well. Different customers have different parameters to judge a product / service. While some may be looking out for Brands others may be searching for the Latest Trends. Your reputation, peer pressure, sales support, etc. are some of the key drivers furthering a decision in your favor. Identify what motivates your target customer to buy and then work towards achieving the same.
- Purchase: If a customer reaches to this level, give yourself a pat on your back. You have really been successful in breaking the clutter and get yourself noticed. If a customer has decided to come to this level, he has already made the purchase in his mind. Your job is now to translate this into real terms. Make this process easy, simple and quick. Assure him of a safe transaction and bingo! you have made a successful conversion. Cross selling and upselling, though an important part of your revenue model, should not interfere in this stage. Either ‘recommend’ them before the ‘Buy’ stage or after it. Never, ever do it when they are actually buying.
- Post Purchase Evaluation: With acquisition costs skyrocketing, you need your old customers to come back more than ever. You even want them to recommend new customers to you. Your transaction does not end with the end of the payment process anymore. Timely delivery, customer support, prompt response to customer queries, etc. go a long way in building your customer base as well as building your brand. Go a step further- offer your customers special discounts on birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Make social sharing of your offers easy. Pamper your customers because they are actually your ‘Kings’
[Author Bio: Shilpi Choudhury works as a Blogger and Inbound Marketer with DiscountPandit , which is deal search engine. The article has been reproduced from Discountpandit blog.]