Have you ever heard that question before? Have you ever seen frustrated customers stamp their feet in a store, demanding to be served? At the beginning of my career, I was in the clothing business and witnessed such incidents at the shop floor level. That brings back some memories. Give my love to everyone back home.
In the “good old days” we used to put our energy into good service. We knew most of our customers by name. We were familiar with their backgrounds, intentions, likes and dislikes. We knew in advance if they preferred to pay in cash, by credit card or charge purchases to their account. Just like today, the customer was always right. During busy hours we couldn’t always attend to all customers at once. They had the right to express their frustration and to point out the lack of service. You might think that I’m talking about arrogant old ladies. I’m not. These customers were men and women, and came from all social and age groups. They were just ordinary people.
These memories came back to me when I was reviewing the results of an online store survey made for us over the summer. A thousand consumers participated in the survey and sent us a very clear message. The good old times are coming back. We consumers demand online stores to develop a more personal approach. We also want to communicate with real people. At the same time, the Finnish consumers value familiar and trustworthy Finnish online stores and like to order from them. The effects of social media can already be seen in the results of the survey. People eagerly read reviews that other customers have written about products. In fact, that’s what over 90 percent of us do. Half of those people make their decision on the basis of the reviews. This shows that buying is a private matter. I think this is how things used to be in the past, too. You asked your neighbors’ and friends’ opinions about a product or a shop, but made the final decision yourself.
As I went over the results of the survey, the greatest and most positive flash of insight came from figure 92. That’s the percentage of people who find it positive – or at least don’t disapprove – if online stores follow their shopping behavior and buying habits. They also approve the idea that by analyzing their data, online stores can offer more personalized services and special offers to customers.
What has caused all this? According to the survey, one reason could be that now ordinary people have found online stores and have become frequent buyers. Ordinary people demand personal service. In the beginning of the online shopping era, online stores have been nothing more than electronic order reception centers. They don’t know their customers. They don’t know what I want as a customer!
Does your online store know who you are?