If you’re working in ecommerce, you probably associate customer experience to just your online footprint and on-site operations. But, we’re about to share what might be an unpopular opinion, customer experience can go far beyond that and expands into retail partners.
Hear us and Kara Goldin, founder & CEO at HINT Water, out though.
Ecommerce and online efforts truly do come full circle with retail sales. This is especially true with HINT Water. Their business model has always involved both online and retail, ensuring that when people want HINT Water, they’ll be able to find it one way or another.
Unlike Kara, many people view online and retail as completely separate, but looking at the two as a full team as opposed to different entities is a huge game changer.
Why? There’s a lot of reasons.
In this post, we’ll cover everything we chatted with Kara about including:
- How online and retail intertwine (in a good way)
- Why convenience is key, and how adding retail enhances this
- Why being more than just your product(s) is important
How Online & Retail Intertwine
You may be thinking that working with retail partners on top of having your online store may be a bit redundant, or due to the pandemic, not essential. When you look at it the way Kara has with HINT Water though, it is.
If you’ve driven consumers to your website through any digital marketing channel, if consumers aren’t buying, they’ll still recognize your product in-store which makes them more likely to purchase there, try the product and possibly convert online.
Now, this may hurt a little bit because everyone in the ecommerce world loves tracking everything. Though you can’t track in-store sales that could be connected to your digital marketing efforts, it’s still helping you grow.
Oftentimes, Kara said, people will comment and say that they’re unable to find certain HINT Water flavors in-store, which is why they’ve headed to the site or other marketplaces to purchase. The best part is, when retailers see this consistently enough with a flavour they may not carry it’ll likely appear in their next order so that they can meet customer demand.
One struggle many brands who work with retailers face is the fact that they’re going up against the big guys on the shelf. By focusing on both retail and digital marketing, it gives smaller brands that fighting chance for awareness on the shelves.
Convenience Is Key
By focusing on both retail and online sales, it makes everything more convenient for the customer. Instead of only being able to purchase HINT Water online, Kara says her customers can find their favourite flavours when they’re stopping for gas, at Target and countless other regular stops if they’re craving it.
Focusing on convenience both online and offline can help with customer loyalty and general awareness around your product. By being in front of potential customers in as many places as possible creates a more convenient environment which can bring in more impulse buys and recommendations.
Oftentimes, your online customers may realize this convenience down the road. Kara said that oftentimes customers will see their advertising online and purchase, then months down the road notice product also in store.
What’s Kara’s motto with approaching customer experience in retail and online? Don’t make it complicated. Customers don’t want to have to worry, or learn too much in one single piece of communication. So, if they try in store or see an ad online, they can learn more on the website about how your product is more than just a product.
Speaking of which…
Being More Than Just A Product
Sure, your product is a huge part of your brand, and you need to have an outstanding one to enhance customer loyalty. But we all know it’s never JUST about the product. Your brand’s story and what you stand for is just as important.
Take HINT Water for example, when we chatted with Kara, she shared that a number of customers who are cancer patients have shared that the product actually helped them stay hydrated through chemotherapy. How? Because they were able to avoid the metal taste that chemotherapy patients tend to get. On top of that, HINT Water also recently raised and donated over $300,000 to breast cancer awareness and research. So, it’s become a theme and cause that’s directly tied to the brand.
On top of that, all of their products are free of class 4 allergens from their water to deodorant, sunscreen and more. This is something that not many brands offer, but it’s incredibly important to those who need to ensure all their products are free of these allergens.
Though HINT focuses quite a bit on their water as that’s their flagship product, they’ve expanded products into personal care. Kara told us that people have asked her whether or not she’s nervous about having it all under one brand because their products are so different.
Her answer? Not at all.
At the end of the day, Kara said that her brand is what brings people there. It’s about developing products that are good for you, not about one type.
Customers are always top of mind for Kara and everyone at HINT Water, that’s why when it comes to online efforts, support strategy is incredibly important and it is to us too. That’s why at Gorgias, we focus on making automation and personalization easier than ever so your team can save time while making your customers happy.