Guide for Online Grocery Industry
WHAT IS CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE?
The largest firms in the market are still confused about what really counts as “customer experience” and for sure it is difficult to identify what really is. Is it when your prospects get to know about your product from various sources (advertising and more) and they remember your product, “top of mind” product recollection? Or is it when you are actually making a sale (giving a demo of the product or explaining about the benefits if the product) and your prospect decides to become your actual customer. Or is it the after sales service you provide your customers to make sure they don’t decide to leave. A lot of you might argue that the last point is what really counts as providing a good customer experience. In reality, it is the whole process, from getting exposed to a certain product to making a decision of sticking to the same product/brand for a long time.
HOW DOES THIS FUNCTION IN THE ONLINE GROCERY INDUSTRY?
In India, the online grocery concept is still new and with multiple traditional shopping options, it has not been able to deliver consistent progress. Most stores have shut shop and only a few have been able to survive until break-even. In 2011, a total of 40 fully functional online grocery stores had been launched, however by 2015 only 5 stores managed to survive. The market share of the entire online grocery market in India, until 2015 was less than $100 million. A deeper understanding of the market provides various dimensions where this industry has fallen short.
SOURCE: INC42 DATALABS
UNDERSTANDING THE CUSTOMER'S MIND?
The initial target is to understand the audience segment you are trying to target. In India, the target audience is limited to the working group especially within the age group of 25 to 45, who are internet savvy and do not have the time to stand in long ques to purchase grocery. They rather get it home delivered! However, when a brand is trying to tap this market with tempting offers and propositions, understanding the audience’s habits and behavior is important. What is it that their customers are doing now, but would like to get rid of? That is the space that these online grocery stores should be focusing on catering to.
WHAT'S GOOD ABOUT SHOPPING GROCERIES ONLINE?
WHO IS BUYING GROCERIES ONLINE?
Source: D'Essence Consulting (SOGS, India)
THE SOCIAL MEDIA REVOLUTION
By and large, the fact that social media is extensively used as a social customer service platform by all brands has been established. Precisely why, even online grocery stores have started using the same, but are they doing it right?
Responsiveness: We did a comparative study of the responses made by three prominent players in the online grocery market, namely BigBasket, ZopNow and Grofers. Here’s what their response time on Facebook and Twitter looks like:
BigBasket is very responsive to customer complaints on social media. They do maintain a maximum 30 mins of average first response time, which is pretty good considering most people expect brands to respond to their queries within a span of 1 hour.
ZopNow, on the other hand seems to be doing badly when it comes to responsiveness on social media. Although they make sure that all complaints/queries get responded to, their average first response time is more than 4-5 hours. In many cases, the response time has also spilled over to more than 24 hours.
Grofers seems to have the lowest response time in terms of first response made. However, this is true only during the hours of social customer service provided by them, which is not 24/7. During service hours, they try to maintain a response time of few minutes.
Pain areas: Whether it is the online grocery industry or any other e commerce company, the most important aspect for all is achieving customer delight through social CRM. Bettering customer experience is something that brands have been trying to achieve for long, through efforts such as reducing the first response time, reducing the time taken to solve problems and more. There are also many innovative brands who have moved one step ahead and achieved customer satisfaction through providing impeccable products and services (e.g. Starbucks).
The online grocery market witnesses a similar story on social media and the problems faced by customers with all the three brands stay the same.
Problem solving: As mentioned earlier, achieving customer delight is also strongly related to providing solution to customer queries. A lot of queries that are responded to on social media get lost in the CRM cycle and are never taken care of. Social media reveals that Big Basket makes sure to follow up on registered complaints and queries, which is a good way to disclose the fact that they are addressing all complaints. ZopNow on the other hand seems to be lagging behind, with multiple unattended complaints visible on their Facebook page.
WHAT MORE CAN GROCERY STORES DO?
Customers Feedback: Let’s assume we forget the age old way of gaining customer feedback by making them tick the spots they think appropriate for a list of questions provided. How else can we ask them to acknowledge the amazing service you provided? It’s simple. Every time your delivery executive reaches your home with a cart full of grocery (first time users), while you unload the things from the cart, ask them to like you on Facebook/follow you on Twitter or write you a good review/give you a great star rating.
Remember doing this will not just increase brand popularity; it is also quantitative data that your marketing team an derive insights out of.
Secure the “next purchase”: A second purchase is something that people generally decide after observing the first purchase experience, both online and delivery combined. If you have managed to do it all good till delivery, how about surprising your customers with a special discount coupon, delivered by your executive along with the groceries, to be availed during the next purchase? It only takes so much time to grab your customer’s attention and keep them hooked.
ADD VALUE WITH GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE
So, what does a brand really need to do to ensure that their customer base keeps increasing and the count of repeat customers as well? This can be achieved by being there for your customers as and when they need you. Here’s the details of how this can be achieved:
If your target customers are from the age group of 20 to 45 years, you are aiming for the tech friendly kinds. This is the group of people who do not pick up the phone to reach customer care, instead go social. Therefore being there on social media is no longer an option but a necessity.
Now that we have established the fact about the need of social CS, it is important to do it correct. The most effective way is not just to make sure that all queries are responded to, but to make sure that these queries get actually attended to and taken care of. On social media, quick response is definitely not an option, however to make sure that there is no negative clutter on your page, it is important to provide solutions to customer’s problems.
To make sure that the complaints and queries get responded to fast, it is important to have all the messages collated under a single space, from all sources. This is only possible if you are using a tool which allows you to monitor the web and collect messages which are directed towards you, using keywords and tracking specific pages.
However, simply listening is not very helpful. A tool which enables you to engage, analyze and generate reports out of the data that you listen to can be of greater help.
Command Centers can also be helpful, when it comes to visualizing data that has been tracked. For example, your CS head can actually visualize the growth and fall in complaints over a period of time or at that moment, while keeping a count of the messages which are getting responded to.