In the digital age of ubiquitous information, machine learning, and big data dominance, reaching the customer is tough. With online shopping, customers have access to an unlimited number of brands and products, their attention spans are shorter and split between multiple devices, and they are constantly researching, comparing and exploring different options before making their purchase decisions.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence allow savvy companies with deep pockets or government connections to capture huge segments of the market. Brands are challenged with capturing consumers’ divided attention and with growing sales in an extremely crowded e-commerce environment. Global expansion is becoming a challenge as different platforms dominate different countries and regions.
You need a retail partner no matter what
While it is the goal of most manufacturers and startup entrepreneur to have their own website or webshop, in many countries and industries there is simply no way around the dominating retail platform.
To stay competitive, brands must capitalize on the online presence and sizable audiences of their retail partners and the tools offered by them, from AI-powered recommendations to paid advertising.
But rather than standing idly by and hoping for miraculous results, there are a number of strategies brands can employ to build their online presence on an online retailer’s website like Amazon. Being proactive when selling through online retail platforms can lead to many benefits in terms of brand awareness, credibility and customer retention.
Your customer’s voice is a powerful marketing tool
While the exact numbers differ from country to country, including ratings and reviews in the user experience usually means better conversions and more purchases. Even though customers have woken up to the fact that reviews can be abused are not always genuine, they still influencer purchase decisions.
What’s more, companies that collect customer feedback, analyze it, and act up it, are usually showing faster grow and better results in the long and short term.
Read also: The Importance of Customer Feedback
Feedback from your customers, however, is entirely ineffective if others don’t have access to it. By sharing customer reviews with the retail partners that sell your products, brands can extend the reach of their customer ratings and reviews and boost consideration and sales through the retail channel.
Capturing and publishing customer reviews sounds like a lot of hassle, but in most industries, it’s well worth the investment. And I am not just talking about consumer product here – even in the B2B space, the experience one customer has with your product or service can influence hundreds of potential clients.
Showing reviews, testimonials, and especially video clips documenting positive client experiences on your website and that of the retailer can help your brand get discovered and stand out positively, especially if the customer reviewing your product is genuine and believable. That doesn’t always mean massively popular influencers or celebrities or star brands, but an can mean your average, down-to-earth, real consumer with a low number of followers on their social media accounts. In an age of digital noise, genuine experiences and influencers are more believable than the latest AI experiment.
Engage With Your Fans
What’s even more important than publishing positive reviews or linking to them from your retail page is engaging with true fans. Every e-mail celebrating your success that comes from a genuine customer is worth more than any advertising dollar. If people love your brand, their testimony will influence many more people than an unrelatable TV ad.
Additionally, once you’ve kick-started the exchange of your customer reviews, more serendipitous opportunities could follow. Your retailer may be more likely to feature your product more prominently on their e-commerce site and mention your brand in their social media streams.
Using the voice of the customer can influence sales in retailers’ physical stores when people are researching products in a physical location. In some cases, retailers may offer exclusive, in-store displays and deals for popular products favored and liked by real-life customers. Brands that actively engage in this way are preferable partners for a retail website.
Reward loyal fans with great experiences
Reviews are important, but what about brand-new products? How do you create buzz around a new launch if no one has got their hands on the product yet?
One way is to curate a loyal customer database – fans of your product that have previously posted positive reviews or said positive things about your brand on social media.
Before the product launch, reach out to them and send them the new product for free. Managers don’t like giving away samples, but they serve a double purpose: if the new product is great, it creates an excellent buzz around it; if it’s flawed, you can delay the release until you have sorted out the bugs. Authentic, high-quality feedback is the best marketing tool there is.
With the right approach, sampling can lay the foundation for a steady stream of consumer reviews that you can share and distribute to your retail partners. Authentic ratings and reviews for new products will help convince casual visitors and turn browsers into buyers. They also give your retail partners valuable content from the moment they start selling your new product online or in-store.
Also recommended is the use of credible influencers
Lead a helping hand!
One of the drawbacks of mixed online retailers is that they can’t know every product in detail or offer support around the product category. You don’t go to Amazon for fashion tips of help on woodworking.
Yet customers will appreciate the help, useful tips, and recommendation on how to use specific products, solve individual problems or improve their skills. You can use the space offered by your online retailer to proffer this help or link to your website or youtube channel for more information.
As a brand, you have an opportunity to be the resident expert about your products and can offer helpful advice or answer specific customer questions about your products and the proper ways to use them. Share your expertise and product knowledge to provide an educational, informative point of view that your retailers can share with their audiences.
There are many more ways to engage and improve your customer retail experience even if you don’t have your own web shop. In particular, if you are expanding into new markets, check out the online behavior of your future customers. Where do they go for reviews? How do they make their purchase decision? Which forums do they trust? Are they swayed by influencers or celebrities?
Read more on How to Influence The Customer Journey