In this age of online sales, there are several companies who are performing exceedingly well in offline sales and facing minimal product return issues. Ever wondered what made such companies successful? What could be the reason that customers are ready to visit their showrooms and shops instead of conveniently purchasing similar products from the ever-increasing online market?

Let’s look at some top examples:

·      Casper, the New York City startup is selling pillows and sheets in more than 1,200 stores nationwide. Though it is available on online websites like Amazon, the company is performing better as an offline store. It sold $100M in mattresses by limiting choices.

·      The Honest Company, a 7-year old American consumer goods company, is upending the cleaning and baby products segment. It surpassed 350$ million in sales in 2017 through offline and online sources.

·      Soylent, a brand of meal replacement products available in the US was introduced in 2014, which generated nearly $ 1.5 million in pre-orders. It has built a food replacement that sells like a SaaS product.

·      Amway, founded in the USA in 1959 has always followed the approach of direct selling. Though it has entered the e-commerce market, still 80% of its business is still offline.

These examples will surely make you think that what specialty do these company possess that is leading to their booming business and lower returns both online and offline!

Well, the answer is that they have built up a strong customer infrastructure with trust and loyalty of customers, to grow as a brand and ultimately reduce product return rate.

They have focussed on ‘convenience to the customer at every stage of purchase and post-purchase’. What is common in all the above-mentioned companies is their undying efforts for customer satisfaction by various measures like-

1. First and foremost measure to stay and grow in the market is to provide a quality product. Enlighten your customer with the real facts of the product instead of lying just to make a sale. A single cheated customer is enough to damage the goodwill of the product, ultimately the company.

2. Sell your product as a service. Even the traditional product companies are transforming themselves into providers of services and ecosystems to enhance the lifetime value of their customers. Some major examples of companies are

·      Rolls-Royce: Some time ago it moved beyond merely selling jet engines to selling engine hours in a lifetime service relationship with customers.

·      KONE, elevator operator, emphasize the number of floors their products will serve overtime, not just their physical products.

·      Philips is transforming the home-lighting business into a “connected business” to improve sustainability, cost of ownership, and smart control by integrating applications such as scene personalization, home automation, security services, and sleep quality into its core product

3. Physical product companies who are unable to sell the product as a service are integrating with service companies to provide customers with a memorable and seamless customer journey. This not only adds to the convenience of the customers but assures them that you are always there for ANY issue prior purchase, during purchase or post-purchase. For example, Amazon’s Echo provides quick access to the company’s services, Nhnacenow, a unified platform that provides all post-purchase services to your customers through its seamless digital eco-system.

4. Investing to create a customer-friendly environment that builds a connection with their products. Many successful companies have realized that the boundaries between products, services, and environments have blurred.

The digital market now has applications that allow you to link your products to the app, and forget all about providing a good customer support. Such applications use facilities like digital kits, can integrate seamlessly with existing IT solutions and be readily available through phone or web medium.

This kind of successful, convergence-designed strategy can deliver a durable competitive advantage. Like Apple, stage the customer experience with open-space concepts, a sprawling Genius Bar, and diverse sales staffs.

Today’s consumers do not buy just products or services—more and more, their purchase decisions revolve around buying into an idea and an experience. Given the complexities, the shift also requires an innovative approach to business models and a new look at how companies provide value to customers.

The success factors that are key to delivering superior digital experiences, to minimize the product return rates by enhancing customer experiences are as follows:

·      Designing and digitizing customer journeys

In this process, the primary goal is to thoroughly rethink the way the journey works, instead of simply fixing inefficiencies along the way. An approach should be adopted that allows for seamless integration with existing channels, including non-digital journeys. One promising approach is providing a unified digital platform to customers that resolve their issues on a real-time basis.

·      Increasing speed and agility in insight generation

Digitization and the fast pace of changing the market and consumer dynamics require fast, frictionless “real-time” insights into a multitude of different areas for decision making, specifically customer journey management and design.

However, traditional market-research approaches are often not in line with these requirements—they take too long to be generated and don’t enable the iterative step-by-step building of new experiences integrating constant customer feedback.

Generating insights is an “agile” way in a digital-customer experience and transformation can start with conducting an in-depth user experience assessment. Like identifying the various customer touchpoints and unifying them over a platform that is handy and easily accessible.

·      Achieving customer adoption of digital customer journeys

Many projects falter because not enough thinking goes into actively stimulating customer adoption. Integration with service providers that can assist in smooth and quick in-boarding with intuitive self-service, builds a road to a long-term customer relationship.

Summing up, for faster growth, better customer connection and minimization of product returns, use of digital service infrastructures that can assist in providing excellence in the customer journey, is the key.

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