The Website Is The New Showroom

The Website Is The New Showroom

We wrote recently about how the advent of eCommerce has created a new customer journey, one in which fulfillment and delivery play a critical role at each stage, from beginning to end.

Today, let’s look a little closer at the first step.

Let’s leave aside for another day (and another post) the influence of advertising, word-of-mouth, and other awareness-building stuff and start with the beginning of the customer’s direct interaction with your company. In brick-and-mortar land, where we all physically exist, that place is the showroom.

A well-designed showroom draws customers in. It enhances the brand and increases sales by creating a welcoming atmosphere that puts the customer at ease and shows the product in the best light.

In the world of eCommerce, that showroom has been replaced by the website. Now the website must draw in customers, enhance the brand and boost sales, and highlight products in a way that creates desire – and urgency – to purchase. The website has one additional role that the showroom does not: bridging the gap between online and real-world experience.

Knowing how you are actually going to get that cool new thing you just bought is a critical ingredient in the eCommerce customer experience and one that comes into play from the very beginning. Research has shown that 87% of consumers are more likely to do business again with a company that has provided them with a good delivery experience. And shipping-related promotions, such as free or fast shipping, can help motivate sales and increase purchase amounts.

Conversely, providing a bad shipping experience may ensure that customers never return to darken your virtual door: 37% of consumers blame eTailers for fulfillment problems (rather than the carriers actually making the delivery) and will never shop with that eTailer again.

Fulfillment is no longer an afterthought in eCommerce – it is a critical element, every bit as important as brand, product and price. Amazon has shown that a best-in-class fulfillment capability, including clearly-set expectations and a reliable delivery experience, can serve as a differentiator, putting you first in line for your customers’ attention, boosting sales and increasing your competitiveness.

Next time, we’ll look at the new Sales Associate – the Product Page. Until then, please let us know about what you are doing to shape your customers’ eCommerce journey.