How Data And Addresses Affect Customer Service


Hopewiser were exhibitors at eCommerce Show North 2018. The below article originally appeared on their website.


Customer service. It’s at the forefront of your business, or at least it should be. Why is that? Because it’s your customers that are keeping you in business.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a B2B or a B2C organisation, you all sell products to people. Whether those people are corporate clients or individuals shopping via their smartphones, it’s imperative to your success that you get it right. If you don’t then I’m sure there are a sea of competitors out there just waiting to swallow your customers up.

But what constitutes as good and bad customer service? Well, bad customer service would cover such things as getting an address wrong and shipping your customers’ purchases to the wrong location. Additionally, sending out marketing material to a buyer who has moved house, or even to a deceased person. What may seem like a minor mistake at the time could have a large impact in the long run.

Think about it, if your customer doesn’t receive their purchase on account of a miscalculated postcode, or a bereaved family member receives a letter on behalf of the intended recipient, they’re going to be upset, right? They may subsequently take their business elsewhere, and whilst you may still not be worried at the prospect of losing the odd customer, word of mouth and repeated mistakes could potentially damage your reputation further down the line.

On the other hand, good customer service would entail the quick and effective delivery of purchases to the right addresses. If a customer or a business client receives their products to the address in which they provided within the allotted time frame, then they will be more likely to consider you for repeat purchase in the future.

Another example of good and considerate customer service would be running your database against a series of suppression files to see if any of your customers have either moved house or sadly passed away. In the event of the latter, it goes without saying that you should remove any deceased records from your database forthwith. Although bereaved friends and relatives won’t know to thank you for doing so, they will be appreciative of anyone who goes the extra mile to ensure that they don’t continue marketing to the deceased person in question.

It could be argued that customer service is just one aspect of the wider customer experience. There are many, many factors that accumulate to determine whether someone has a good or a bad experience when purchasing from you. There’s the accessibility of your website, the appearance and quality of the products, as well as their prices.

But what a lot of businesses fail to realise is that it’s something much more inconspicuous that has a large effect on customer experience. What’s that then, you ask? Data, my dear Watson.

Data is what helps make the world go around. Every organisation on this earth compiles data about their customers in one way or another. And what does that data include? Addresses, usually. Everyone has a forename and a surname, and everyone who purchases something online or signs up to a mailing list has an address. And every address has a postcode. Did you know that there are 30 million address points in the UK alone? That’s a lot! Therefore, it’s important that you match the right delivery address with the right customer. Because it’s no good having Mrs Walters receive Mr Jones’ watering can when she has been expecting a new pair of curling tongues.

Every ecommerce website needs accurate addressing and data solutions. Luckily for you, Hopewiser can bring a lot to ecommerce because addresses and data are what we are built on. With over 36 years of industry experience, I think we can safely say you can rely on us to help you improve your customers’ experience. Just take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce Website Trends 2019. Also, our new online portal poses exciting new solutions that your business can benefit from at just the touch of a button.

Our Address Lookup service is a vital tool that you really cannot afford to live without as it is the quickest and most accurate online address and postcode lookup available. With no set-up and maintenance fees and free technical support, not only is it hassle free but you also get a no-obligation free trial to see if it is the solution for you. Just simply enter a postcode or partial address into the address finder and let Hopewiser do the rest of the work. Additionally, daily Postcode Address File (PAF) updates and the option to add international data sets and bank account validation means you’ll be able to use the tool to heighten your customers’ experience from all over the world.

If you decide that a web-based solution isn’t for you, fear not because we can tailor our software to suit the needs of your business with CRM integrations as well as installations in your company’s system. The latter is ideal for those organisations conducting large volumes of transactions as you can either pay per user or have a global licence fee.

Also available on the portal is our top of the range Address Cleanse solution, which is ideal for those who wish to run their customer database through a range of suppression files to ensure that their data is updated with any movers, goneaways, and deceased records. All you need to do is register online before uploading your files to receive instant cleansing and verification. Prices start from £35 and you’ll receive a free sample analysis of your data before choosing to pay.

Again, Hopewiser’s Data Cleansing services are also available as software installations or CRM integrations, so you’ll have complete peace of mind that you can continuously cleanse large amounts of your data and still receive optimum accuracy.

In a post GDPR world where there is an increasing awareness surrounding data protection, some businesses have taken it upon themselves to invest in technical areas such as cyber security to ensure that their customers’ experience is not negatively affected. For example, John Lewis and Partners recently announced a colossal 99% fall in profits to a pre tax sum of £1.2 million in the six months leading up to 28 July 2018. The retailer who owns Waitrose stated one of the reasons behind the vast decrease in profits is due to heavy investment in IT. One could assume that this increased focus is data related and could be a way of maintaining the corporations treatment of their customers, thus improving their experience.

All that remains for us to ask now is, how much do you value your customers’ experience? Very highly, we would hope! And whilst you may have the best of intentions, you may not even realise that a lacking address and postcode finder or outdated records may be damaging your reputation and your business as a whole more than you might think.

Don’t waste time wondering if you’re doing the right thing, contact Hopewiser today to see how we can help make it right.

Getting Started With Collating and Managing Your Product Information


Pimberly are Event Partners for this year’s eCommerce Show North. The below article was originally published on their website.


You’ve read all about the benefits of rich, well-managed product information for your business and you’re ready to get started. But how do you set yourself up for the challenge of collating all your product data?

And more importantly ­­– where do you start?

The key to integrating product information practices in your organisation comes down to three things: process, people and technology. Taking control of these three factors will create efficiencies and savings within your product information processes, improving the handling of data to create a self-supporting cycle that works both ways.

Process

Your product information goes on a real journey to get to your customers. It’s key to map out and understand all aspects of this journey to best identify how you can improve your processes. You could increase SEO and traffic, improve the customer experience, increase conversions and average order value.

Very often, your product information processes are down to timing. The right people need to see the right information, about the right products, at the right time. While this might sound tricky, this is exactly what a good PIM can help you achieve.

You’ll also need to decide which products or product lines are priorities. For example, it will be vital that some products appear on your eCommerce site on launch day, whereas other ranges may be appropriate for seasonal roll outs.

Equally, some products require much more information to be available to customers than others. If you’re listing kitchen supplies, you’re going to need a lot more technical and sizing information for a cooker than you would for a wooden spoon. Putting time and effort into understanding how your product data should be structured will have endless benefits later on.

When it comes to starting data migration, we’ve taken a layered approach to the process. This way you can quickly identify, diagnose and solve any issues that arise in your data model, and avoid the pitfalls of traditional systems. It also allows everyone to get familiar and confident with the system as the implementation rolls out, benefitting everyone in the long run.

People

It’s imperative to have the key people in all your teams onside when implementing a new system such as PIM. People throughout your organisation must embrace change. Everyone must be open to the possibilities of gaining benefits from doing things a new way.

In order to do this, you must provide everyone with the necessary information and training they will need to do their job effectively. Without the right technology in place, your skilled copywriters and product managers can get stuck wasting time on data collection and entry. A strong PIM system lets them get on with doing what they do best. They can focus on adding value for themselves and ultimately improving the quality of work they produce. This further improves your product information, which improves your employees’ experience and quality of work.

Freeing your creative teams up to produce lifestyle content and link this to your products is the key to creating a rich experience for your customers. This allows you to elevate the online experience beyond what customers can get. Even in brick and mortar stores, giving customers the chance to explore everything a product has to offer can lead to better sales. These cross and up-sell opportunities are uniquely accessible in an eCommerce setting and something not to be missed out on.

Technology

Having the right technology supporting your PIM processes and people is obviously vital. Once that step is working correctly, all the technology throughout your business will harmonise and work more effectively.

When selecting a new piece of technology to help manage your product information, you need a tool that’s going to:

  • Take product data from any upstream systems.
  • Take and share product data with suppliers, distributors, customers, retailers, data aggregator.
  • Manage your enrichment process.
  • Collaborate on product data with parties external to your organization (photographers, translators, copy writers, marketers etc).
  • Send data to websites, Apps, market places, comparison sites, resellers, international sites etc.
  • Hold a single source of all your rich product information in a single, easily accessible location for all parties.

We knew this when we were building Pimberly – so that’s exactly what it does.

There is a two-way support network between product information and the processes, people and technology within your business. Keeping a mutually beneficial relationship between them allows for better SEO and traffic, improved customer experiences, increased upsell, and many more benefits.

Webrooming: How Do Your Customers Shop?


Pimberly is a powerful cloud-based SaaS Product Information Management (PIM), Digital Asset Management (DAM) and workflow platform. The article below was originally published on their website.


It’s not surprising that consumers are increasingly opting for the convenience and accessibility of online browsing. But many are also still drawn in by the immediacy and experience of in-store purchasing.

Combining the benefits of both online and in-store shopping, webrooming has become a popular trend with modern shoppers. Some people feel more comfortable buying certain products in person, where they can physically see, touch, try on or test the merchandise.

Many shoppers still like to go to a physical store:

  • To physically touch and see the product
  • Certain things like clothes need trying on or testing
  • Physical retail gives you the instant gratification of taking home your purchase there and then, be it through necessity (last minute gifts for your friend whose birthday drinks later you’d totally forgotten about)… or just because sometimes it’s nice to get what you want quickly.

Stores also provide a physical connection with customers, and the opportunity for face to face interactions with your products and your staff. That’s an opportunity not to be missed.

The Rise of Webrooming and ROBO

In some industries, showrooming is a standard practice. Where consumers will go into a store to view the range, gather information from staff, and then make orders online for convenience or to take advantage of a deal. This is common for high value or large goods, for example furniture and white goods.

However in recent years, it’s become more apparent that while a lot of shoppers have moved their browsing and research activity to online stores, the benefits they get in a physical store mean that in many cases they will purchase there instead. This practice of browsing online and purchasing in store has been dubbed “webrooming”, or ROBO (research online, buy offline).

Shopping is About Gathering Information

The product experience you provide across your online platforms and in store relies on a number of factors, and the skills and expertise of many departments. From designers and stock control to eCommerce and visual merchandising, collaboration is key. You need the systems and processes in place to allow your team to deliver those experiences.

Don’t forget – The process of shopping is about consumers gathering information about products in order to make a decision.

 

Don’t forget – the process of shopping is about consumers gathering information about products in order to make a decision. Retailers and brands are racing to provide their customers with the most seamless and integrated shopping experience across all platforms. What they mustn’t lose sight of is the product experience must be driven by the quality of their product information. Key to getting this right is the smooth integration of business systems and processes.

A solid CRM system helps companies provide high quality customer services and marketing messages. Your product information needs the same attention to support the efforts of all sales channels.

Without good product information, a fancy new eCommerce website design will go to waste. Customers who find conflicting information at different touchpoints will lose faith in your brand. Ensuring that your product information is up to scratch will also improve your SEO. This makes sure that customers can find you in the first place.

For customers who love the instant gratification of taking home their purchase today, good product information is even more vital. Without it there’s a greater chance they’ll have to come back next week to return something that isn’t what they wanted. Goods needing to be returned or replaced lead to unsatisfied customers and lost faith in your brand, not to mention the time and money needed to correct the situation.

Expanding the Shopping Experience With Rich Product Data

When it comes to standing out from the competition, you’re no longer just competing on price in order to grab a customer’s attention. As the retail game is changing and buyer habits constantly evolve. Brands have got to keep up by adapting and innovating, and providing something new. Many stores understand the need to provide more than a shopping experience, and that customers aren’t just there for information. They’ve most likely made most of their buying decisions online.

Many brands are bringing technology into the retail experience. Gadgets and gizmos to detect your perfect makeup shade or help you understand what type of running shoes you need are more and more common in the modern shopping experience. Even the seemingly simple (but realistically tricky) task of arming sales-floor staff with the information customers might ask them for. It’s rich, accurate product information that powers these technologies.  These experiences are what allow retailers to maximise the value in all their store space – both the virtual and physical.

Adding Value to Webrooming with PIM

A seamless and engaging customer journey now involves many touchpoints. A great online experience with ease of comparison and plentiful information on all products allows customers to self-qualify.

By the time they are in your store they are primed and ready to purchase. The hard work is already out of the way to allow a smooth transition from visitor to customer.

By creating an enjoyable and interactive environment, you can maximise the opportunity by enticing them into impulse purchases or complementary products (that they may already have encountered on your website).

Consistent marketing messages and clear branding is important, but no longer enough to convince savvy modern customers of your brand and values. If you improve the way you manage information across your organisation, you’ll give your customers the confidence to browse and purchase across your channels and never worry they’ll be let down.

Lead Sponsor and Event Partners Confirmed for eCommerce Show North 2018

We’re delighted to announce the innovative companies who will be the lead sponsor and event partners for eCommerce Show North (eCSN), which returns for a second year in November.

Over 2,400 attendees, 106 exhibitors and sponsors and 71 speakers attended the inaugural running of the expo in October, making it the biggest gathering of eCommerce companies, vendors and suppliers held outside London last year.

And we’re expecting an even more impressive and well-attended event when eCSN returns to EventCity in Manchester on November 6th and 7th 2018.

We can confirm that hosting company UKFast is once again the lead sponsor for the event.

And CRO specialists Endless Gain, eCommerce website experts Space48, email marketing automation business dotmailer, Product Information Management (PIM) system Pimberly and open-source e-commerce platform Magento are all on board as event partners.

eCSN will feature leading exponents of eCommerce with businesses specialising in the full range of available services and solutions.

Partner Pavilions will promote key themes such as Platforms, Payments, Analytics, Security, Marketing, Hosting, Backbone, Logistics, Mobile, Hardware and Innovation.

Want to learn how to get involved? Get in touch for more info.

UKFast, NuBlue, Mabo and More

Our Weekly Round Up shares insights and news from our exhibition partners at eCommerce Show North. This week we’re featuring Mabo’s insights into PPC, UKFast’s reasons to be cheerful, NuBlue explain how to grab a viewer’s attention, dotmailer discuss how to bounce back after a blunder and Digitl announce the return of the Manchester Multichannel Conference.

NuBlue – 8 Seconds Away
In this post, Nublue explain how video content creators have 8 seconds to grab a viewers attention and if you have not gained their attention in that time they will move on to something else. They also explain how the perfect video placed on an eCommerce website can really help to increase sales. You can read more, here.

UKFast – Reasons to be Cheerful
This week, UKFast celebrated Internaional Day of Happiness by posting four reasons to be cheerful. You can check them out, here.

Mabo – WHAT IS PPC MANAGEMENT AND WHY DO YOU NEED IT?
In this blog, Mabo discuss Pay Per Click management and why it is so important. They also explain what you should be looking for in a PPC management agency so you can get the most out of your paid ads. You can read more, here.

dotmailer – How to bounce back after a mistake
Everyone makes mistakes now and then, the most important thing is learning how to recover. In this post, dotmailer explain how to bounce back after making an email marketing blunder. You can read all about it, here.

Digitl – The Manchester Multichannel Conference 2017
This week Digitl announced the return of the Manchester Multichannel Conference 2017. If you would like to register or find out more about the event, click here.