Are online retailers doing enough to keep their customers in the buying lifecycle? It might not seem like a major concern with the skyrocketing growth of the ecommerce market in South Africa, but the truth is that customer satisfaction is now more important than ever.
Africa’s mobile usage is expected to double over the course of 2015, which will lead to an increase in the number of shoppers who buy products using their tablets and smartphones. As the mobile market increases, so do the number of choices customers have available. If they are not satisfied with a product or service, they can switch to any number of competitors, both local and international, online and off.
Keeping these customers happy is the biggest challenge retailers face. Today’s connected consumer expects more than just automated stock replies promising a response in 48 hours. Ecommerce retailers however find it difficult to offer more personalised engagement due to a lack of resources. They may have the front-end technology, but often lack the back-end systems to implement holistic customer engagement management (CEM) strategies.
South Africa comes with its own unique challenges for retailers, particularly those entering the market for the first time. Much of the population remains unbanked and lacks the means of making purchases online. Providing reliable mobile payment or credit line options for these South Africans requires an additional investment to be able to integrate payment apps and support into a greater CEM strategy.
Because of this, more online retailers are choosing to outsource their CEM strategies to specialist agencies. This allows them to deliver an end-to-end omnichannel experience without needing to invest upfront in staff and technology.
For those in the ecommerce realm, who often experience more temperamental growth cycles than their physical counterparts, outsourcing provides welcome levels of scalability. Retailers can have the right staff complement instantly available to manage all customer touch points and keep them in the buying lifecycle.
As the ecommerce market grows, online retailers will need to pay careful attention to customer metrics such as response and resolution times, as well as churn and conversion rates. These could hold the key to the strategies necessary to maintain customers in an era of choice.