When customers go shopping for high-tech products, they expect companies to immediately connect with their needs. As revealed by the UPS 2016 study, “How to Click with High-Tech Online Shoppers,” these sophisticated consumers are well aware of their range of choices.
Steer clear of these five key pitfalls, or you’ll send your customers to the competition. Do the right thing, and you’ll better your bottom line.
1. Offer a cookie-cutter customer experience.
What happens when you treat customers as commodities? They may return the favor. When you deliver subpar customer service—the shopping experience, repairs, a trade-in, an upgrade—your products may not matter. Businesses must serve consumers’ unique needs, wherever they are. This means being convenience-centric: getting products to your customers when, where, and however fast they want them.
The UPS study revealed, for instance, that two in five high-tech purchasers prefer to have products delivered somewhere other than home. Consumers expect customized options that fit their needs, whether the order is delivered to a nearby store, a family member or friend, or the workplace. They may even want that order shipped to an authorized pick-up location, like the tens of thousands of neighborhood stores that make up the UPS Access PointTM network.
- Keep customers in the dark.
Not surprisingly, high-tech purchasers use mobile devices at every step of the shopping experience, and expect a high level of visibility throughout. In fact, 78 percent of high-tech shoppers use their mobile devices to track deliveries online. So, if your company doesn’t have a mobile-optimized website that delivers clear timelines—and proactive notifications about orders—you’re already behind.
Case in point: Miller’s Professional Imaging, a large photography lab, is keenly aware that its customers—professional photographers and photography enthusiasts—have heightened expectations of service, since every order tells a personal story. Customers need flexible shipping, predictable delivery windows, and alternate delivery locations. With UPS My Choice® membership, Miller’s clients get alerts the day before a package is due. So a photographer on location can reroute a package to another address, or a customer in an apartment complex can make sure their customized holiday prints won’t be left at the door.
- Run out of products customers want (or at least where and when they want them).
Your customers weigh their options with every click: paid overnight delivery vs. free three-day delivery. In-stock vs. special order. And by using the critical data gleaned from across your supply chain, companies can make sure inventory is exactly where it’s in demand. With 65 percent of high-tech online shoppers using mobile devices to check inventory, it pays to be prepared.
One company, Sealed Air, took a novel approach with its post-sales service, where more than 500 field engineers provide support. By shipping replacement parts to UPS Access Point locations near the field engineer’s homes or service routes, pickup and retrieval times were significantly reduced—and response times improved.
- Provide uneven customer experiences.
Your customer wants to be recognized and remembered, whether online, in-store, or on the phone. Don’t make them introduce themselves each time. Because they purchase more while connected, invest in delivering a consistent and seamless experience across all devices. As the UPS study confirmed, high-tech consumers are increasingly mobile—42 percent made purchases on a phone in 2016. But they still value the brick-and-mortar shopping experience. In fact, 58 percent use the store for easy returns, and 73 percent of those make a new purchase while there. So having the ability to recognize customer data and preferences, online and off, can create a more connected experience.
- Don’t offer enough product information.
Consumers have plenty of ways to get information before making a purchase. More than half of high-tech customers research with their phones, while they’re most influenced by online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, customer ratings, and search engines—whether they’re high-tech customers or not. Be present for—or even part of—those conversations, to help define your brand. Using these channels, high-tech retailers can conduct broad marketing campaigns—and deliver the detailed product information shoppers crave.
If you fall into any of these five traps, you can fall behind. But treat your customers as individuals with choices—and cater to them with the help of expert logistics partners like UPS—and you can stay ahead of the curve.
Read the recent UPS study here for a closer look at the habits of high-tech shoppers.