How can direct sales strike the perfect balance of digital-first yet personal touch? Find out how to take the customer journey to the next level.
Customer experience is the name of the game for digital-first enterprises. As more and more brands pair genuine customer care with online immersive shopping, providing an efficient and seamless purchasing experience is rapidly becoming table stakes.
In the ebook, 11 Trends and Predictions for the Direct Sales Industry in 2021, it became clear that the direct sales industry is perfectly positioned to provide that personal touch and connection in a digital environment. However, to achieve this, many companies need to first create/improve their seamless buying journey. Depending on the current process this may include incorporating:
- One-click buying experiences
- Pre-loaded carts
- Customized digital storefronts
- Interactive buying experiences
- Immediate payment and shipping calculation
- Automated order updates
- Utilizing dropshipping, etc.
All of this requires a rapid transition of the entire supply chain which needs to be managed effectively to not disrupt the field. While the lift is considerable this transition is imperative to compete with e-commerce platforms like Amazon and their one-click buying experiences. Implementing integrated platforms to handle logistics is a must for creating a successful digital-first customer experience in 2021 and beyond.
The challenge isn’t just creating a digital storefront, but also retaining the personal connection, genuine care and feeling of belonging that direct sales is known for.
Interactive, quick, personalized and easy
To continue the momentum direct sales saw in 2020, driving a $40B increase in the US alone, companies will have to evolve how they engage and interact with customers to redefine the shopping experience in a digital-first social environment.
Marrying the excitement of a shopping party, or an intimate coffee date with the coldness of remote interaction is a challenge. It’s the perfect balance of personalized product discussion, pre-loaded personalized shopping carts, just-in-time follow-up, quick delivery and personal check-ins. We’re seeing some great examples of virtual shopping environments in APAC markets with virtual shopping parties, guided shopping and e-commerce integrated into event platforms.
Brands that take advantage of the shift towards shopping as a social, interactive experience in a digital setting will have a clear competitive advantage over traditional e-commerce channels.
- Instagram is the #1 sales channel for direct sales
- Micro and nano influencer selling is rising on Instagram
- 60% of people discover new products on Instagram (InfluencerMarketingHub)
- Livestream commerce is expected to grow at a CAGR of 45.7% (100B) by 2023 (SmartOSC)
- Increased emphasis on customer experience and brand advocacy
- Brands are increasing social influencer spend by up to 65% (BigCommerce)
Leveraging Consumer Psychology
The customer experience is transforming. The sole focus is no longer on the digital storefront where the number one job is to deliver a seamless checkout. Now, brands are layering multiple elements of consumer psychology: urgency, sense of belonging, admiration and trust when creating the ultimate customer experience.
Here’s what happens at a live shopping event, when consumer psychology is applied to the virtual experience…
Social influencer/brand ambassador. (Sometimes additional hosts such as celebrity influencers join) Building trust and rapport with customers.
An event-only discount to encourage attendance combined with one-off event-related products/promotions to drive urgency.
Attendees share reactions, comments and questions throughout the event. Promoted items layer over the live video with one-click purchases. Regular customers are suggested pre-populated carts that can be customized during the party.
While seamless checkout leveraged impulse buying behaviour, interactive social shopping:
- Helps expand order sizes
- Leverages FOMO (fear of missing out)
- Creates deep social connections increasing long-term loyalty and brand engagement
If direct sales becomes known as having the best customer experience it will do wonders for the industry’s reputation. No longer are products and the buying process a mystery, now customers can talk to consultants directly receiving unique, personalized recommendations, enjoy shopping with friends or family located anywhere in the world and ultimately have a long-term relationship with the brand.
Explore the full report: Direct Sales Transformation: Key Opportunities in 2021 and Beyond