Garrett Schwegler, Program Manager - GTM & Solutions, LucidworksGarrett Schwegler, Program Manager - GTM & Solutions
Consumers are more discerning than ever about their purchasing choices, and loyalty poses a challenge when they have limitless options. A catchy tagline isn’t enough. According to research from Qualtrics, 53% of consumers reported decreasing or stopping their spending after a very poor online experience. If a brand fails to meet a consumer's growing expectations, needs, and wants, the consumer is just one click away from abandoning that brand forever.

We do know that certain motivators foster brand loyalty. In a recent survey from Lucidworks, shoppers say that high-quality products, great product recommendations, and excellent customer service are the top three reasons that they are loyal to their favorite brands. But focusing on only one of these drivers isn’t enough.

To gain loyalty, brands must create a connective tissue across all channels. Retailers need to adopt technology and processes that feed customer insights to employees in real-time so they can improve the experience, including site experience, product quality, and customer support to engage and retain shoppers for the long haul.

Power Recommendations that Understand Shoppers’ Intent

When I visit Chewy.com to re-order my dog’s food, I expect that they will remember me and recommend items like grain-free kibble for large dogs, similar to what I’ve previously purchased. For most retailers, that level of personalization is table stakes—brands rely on personal profile information combined with other similar shoppers’ information to curate recommendations, which are incredibly important in browsing and product discovery. 78% of shoppers interact with product recommendations and almost two-thirds will buy recommended items they didn’t initially plan on buying.


But what happens when I go to the site to buy gifts for my best friend who just got his first kitten? How long does it take for the site to realize that I regularly purchase dog items but there’s a one-off moment where I’m signaling that I’d like to buy for a different species. Brands need to ingest real-time shopper behavior signals alongside historic price affinity and similar customer behavior and apply those insights in real-time to deliver the most relevant recommendations that meet the shopper’s goal.

Incorporate Customer Insights into Product Decisions

If brands can’t connect insights from customer reviews and customer support conversations, and deliver those insights to employees, there’s a fatal disconnect between customers and employees. One of the most important components of developing and selling high-quality products is that they work for the people who are buying them. A fancy vacuum that has an intake with a super thin profile may be great in theory, but if customers are repeatedly returning the product or calling customer service to say that it keeps getting clogged, it’s time to make changes as quickly as possible. In order to develop the type of high-quality products that keep customers coming back, employees should have real-time access to these types of customer insights. It shouldn’t take weeks to capture this feedback.

Another example of a common disconnect between customer and brand is logistics. One of the main competitive advantages brands like Amazon have is their distribution channels—shoppers can get products really fast and the inventory is updated constantly. Invest in technology that can deal with the heavy-lifting logistics including complex inventory, searches across multiple locations, and inventory visibility to support tactics like BOPIS or curbside pickup.

Deliver Excellent Customer Service

Shoppers first line of defense when they need support is turning to the chatbot. More than half of online shoppers said they use a site’s chatbot every visit or often, and 70% use the chatbot to connect with customer service. If a shopper can’t self-solve using the chatbot, 36% will call up customer support and a quarter will take their wallets elsewhere to search on a different site. The key to a great chatbot experience is using first-party data to draw inferences during a shopper’s visit to understand their goal in that exact moment—whether it’s guiding them to relevant products, how-to guides, or customer support.

When complex questions make your shoppers pickup the phone, be sure your agents know their entire journey. Agent effectiveness is highly dependent on the technology stack and digital resources made available to the agent for understanding who the customer is, the customer’s entire history, and what they need solved as quickly as possible. The more insights a support agent has into the customer experience, the more effective they can be in addressing the needs of customers. Happy agents lead to happy customers.

Connect Customer Clicks

Each customer interaction is an opportunity to better understand your shopper’s intent. Augment those signals to optimize every part of the customer journey. Digital recommendations, product development, and customer service may be guided by distinct teams internally, but by letting insights flow between every part of the customer journey, the total experience for customers improves. Create an experience that makes every shopper a forever customer.