By 2020, customer experience will overtake both price and product as a key brand differentiator, according to a recent Customers 2020 report.
“Arguably, it’s the most forward-thinking companies – those that consciously and deliberately work at anticipating future needs and create an experience that customers’ value - that win in the year 2020.” - Walker.
Today’s customers are informed and empowered, whether shopping online or offline. They have more options than ever, and they know it. Because of this, both in-store and e-commerce shoppers, especially within a Marketplace featuring many sellers, expect a well-designed shopping experience on each channel they choose to engage with.
Meeting these expectations requires Marketplace operators to put themselves into the shoes of their customers, understanding their perspective as they engage with your brand. Forrester Research calls it being “customer-obsessed.”
For the leading thinkers out there that operate, or plan to operate a Marketplace, consider these six questions that each shopper will ask as they buy from your Marketplace - are you prepared with the right answer?
- Can I find the product that meets my requirements?
A large product catalog provides a great buying experience, increases the number of options for a shopper, and promotes fair and competitive pricing.
- Is there enough information to make a buying decision?
When onboarding Marketplace sellers, it’s important to standardize what product information is required, and include seller ratings to help buyers make the best decision.
- Did the seller answer questions in a reasonable time period?
A regulated and consistent customer service level is paramount to a positive customer experience. Read how one Marketplace learned this lesson the hard way.
- Did the product arrive in a reasonable time period?
Sellers should adhere to set guidelines regarding shipping and fulfillment.
- Is the product exactly as described on the product page?
Part of good quality service means living up to the promises demonstrated by sellers on their product pages.
- Is the return process easy enough?
When issues do arise, ensure your sellers are able to resolve issues with buyers.
Operators can learn a lot from seeking answers to these questions on a regular basis, by visiting their Marketplace, conducting product searches, placing orders, contacting sellers as a customer and testing return processes. A successful Marketplace operator should audit and take steps to maintain the quality of its sellers within these expectations.
By controlling the experience a buyer has with your sellers on your Marketplace, and ensuring prompt service after the sale, you can take steps to ensure the right answers to these questions are in place. Your attention to this issue can affect the quality of everything from product assortment to buyer/seller communication, to delivery, ensuring that you are prepared to deliver a positive overall experience for your (empowered) customers.
Written by Barry Murphy
Barry Murphy is the Director of Content and Product Marketing at Mirakl. In this role, Barry leads the alignment of Mirakl's offerings to market needs for the next generation of online commerce. Barry previously ran product marketing organizations for X1 and Mimosa Systems (now part of HPE). Barry also had a highly successful stint as Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. Barry received a B.S. from the State University of New York at Binghamton and an M.B.A from the University of Notre Dame.