Consumers are constantly bombarded with products and deals through emails, push notifications and social media. This can be overwhelming, which is problematic for brands.

A recent Magento study, Something for Something, Brand Utility: Listening To Customer Feedback, Responding With Better Experiences argued that to counteract this saturation brands should listen to customers and create brand utility.

Brand utility is related to the core purpose of the brand — why you’re doing what you’re doing.

“This sense of brand purpose has to be solid for you to apply it in a more practical approach — your brand utility. If your brand purpose is clear to you, its use will be too. No matter the twists and turns in this highly competitive commerce market, you’ve already built an unshakeable foundation.” the authors wrote.

To find a deeper meaning behind the numbers, brands need to listen more intently to what customers say. Customers must feel their thoughts are heard, and better experiences await, following their feedback.

The survey found that one of the most effective ways to capture the attention of Australian customers is through pricing and free service.

In the study 58 per cent of Australian respondents said that a retailer’s competitive pricing compared to other brands is a factor in their purchase decision. The same percentage say that, after completing one transaction, they’d buy again from retailers that continue to offer lower prices than others in the same niche. Aussies even love to search for greater deals, with 35 per cent of our respondents spending more time online to check for the best prices.

Two thirds of Australian respondents also said they would shop again at online retailers that offer free delivery, and 47 per cent would do so because of a free returns policy.

However, the report noted that it would be a mistake to focus only on price and free services. Instead, the authors argued it is important to focus on the long term.

According to the authors, “Brand utility stemming from brand purpose … will be your biggest differentiator.”

Three ways to create unified experiences

Staying true to the brand promise requires a focus on creating unified customer experiences. Magento identified three ways to create unified customer experiences.

First, simplify. Look into the intricacies of your overall shopping experience. Fragmented experiences might be the reason behind decreased engagement, visits or returning customers.

Second, streamline. Experiment with having everything under one roof. Unified commerce could be the missing puzzle piece that your customers are looking for in their brand experience with you.

Third, commit. Always go back to your brand’s commitment to customers. It will be your guiding light and will help you see if there’s a disconnect between what you promise to customers and what they’re actually experiencing.

And think in in omnichannel terms.

The authors wrote, “Once a customer encounters your brand either online or offline, they may visit your web site. So, make sure it’s a seamless and frictionless experience. A web site that loads quickly is important to 37 per cent of Aussie survey respondents when they shop online.

“Not only that, more than half (53 per cent) of the same consumers say that a web site’s ease of use is critical — such as search and product findability functions — in their buying decisions. And for 36 per cent, once they find what they’re looking for, product variants and sizes must never be out of stock.”

Never underestimate the value of keeping things simple.

For example, payments. Many brands do the hard work of helping the customer along to the point of purchase only to fail at the final hurdle.

The study found that 45 per cent of consumers avoid shopping with an online retailer if their credit card isn’t accepted, and the comparable figures for debit cards are 41 per cent and 30 per cent for e-Wallet payments and payment vouchers.

About this author

Athina Mallis is the editor of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit of which Magento is a corporate member. Members provide their insights and expertise for the benefit of the Which-50 community. Membership fees apply. 

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