The days of the information-only company web site are ending. For any product today there must be a higher level of online engagement with the consumer. This engagement is critical for capturing and maintaining consumer’s interest, building and supporting your brand, sustaining or growing margins, and remaining viable.
It is increasingly important for you to improve your ability to engage your customer online. According to Marketing Charts Research, 50% of consumers spend 75% or more of their total shopping time conducting online research. In fact, 15% of shoppers spend 90% or more of their shopping time online doing research. This trend is accelerating. According to Gartner Group, by the year 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without human intervention.
Not only do customers spend an increasing portion of their purchasing time online, they are also much further along in the purchase process before they contact a company. In a Forbes article entitled “The Disappearing Sales Process”, Scott Gillum describes how customers are almost 60% through the sales process BEFORE contacting a Sales Rep regardless of price point of the product being purchased.
This is not to suggest that your sales force does not provide value. It does. What it does mean is that critical to allow your prospective customer to learn as much as possible about your products online, or you may never have an opportunity to interact with them.
For customizable products, this means that the more a customer can learn about your product on your website, the more likely it is that they will contact you. With interactive 3D visualization and configuration capabilities, a customer can find their ideal product by exploring various product options and accessories to create the exact product they wish to purchase. When they do contact you, they will be confident that they will receive the product they order.
Your customer is educating themselves on future purchases online. Make sure you have the ability to educate your customers on the possibilities you can deliver before they ever speak with you.