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Analysis

How Simplicity Affect Customers’ Relationship with Brands

When it comes to the retail experience, today’s customers want no muss, no fuss

Adebisi Adewusi
March 30 2019

In a complex world, customers crave the hassle-free, so much so that 55% of consumers will pay more for these simpler experiences and 64% will actively recommend these brands to others. Companies don’t deliver on a fuss-free promise leave an estimated $98 billion on the table.

As defined by the Simplicity Index, the worlds simplest brands deliver “clarity and ease at the heart of the customer experience,” and these are the companies already winning over their time-pressed customers. Here’s how running your business with simplicity in mind will keep you in.

Usefulness

Low prices and free shipping aren’t enough to give brands an edge. Brands that impact the wellbeing of customers outperform the stock market by 134%. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for brands to struggle with simplicity; less than 27% of companies notably improve customers’ quality of life and wellbeing. The following are several ways to make your brand more useful:

  • Proactively Solve Problems: Rather than creating solutions for problems, proactively identify tomorrow’s obstacles and resolve them. This strategy will help you provide customers with innovative experiences and exceed customer expectations. To proactively solve problems, use empathy mapping to identify customer pain points and come up with simple solutions such as an easy to use website, or reducing the steps in product delivery through subscription boxes.
  • Offer More Value: If you plan to be around for a long time, provide consumers with tangible beneficial services beyond your core product that enhance the customer experience. This could be giving your customers expert advice, involving them in co-creation, or offering fast delivery options with real time tracking. Select value-adding offerings based on your customer’s lifestyle and consider expanding into adjacent territories to find new ways to offer value to consumers. Amazon expanded into the delivery industry by launching Amazon Logistics to improve last-mile delivery.
  • Convenience: 26% of consumers say they want products that are convenient to use. Think automated replenishment purchases, flexible delivery, and payment options. When creating convenience solutions, ensure your efforts are built on ease, utility, and simplicity.

Whichever approach you take, make sure your strategy fits customers’ lifestyle.

Product Offering

While the ability to choose is a basic need, an avalanche of choices can make shopping difficult. A report found that 54% of consumers abandon e-commerce sites if faced with lack of options and 42% abandon a planned purchase because there were too many offerings.

Simplify customers’ purchasing process by narrowing the scope of your offerings. Discount supermarket chain ALDI, for example, provides a limited selection of high-quality products. To find out which products to keep or kill, remove items that don’t help your bottom line or add value for customers.

You could also categorize products based on features important to your customers and limit the number of categories to no more than 20 with 10 or fewer options in each. You can also highlight the smartest option within an assortment and point out key differences. When simplifying the selection process, ensure each product produces the most rewarding customer experience.

Better In-store Experience

73% of shoppers visit a retailer with a particular purchase in mind, while only 27% come to browse.

Below are three ways you can give consumers a simple in-store experience.

  • Small Format Stores: Consumers want to find products fast. Nearly six in 10 consumers say the ability to easily find what they want is an important factor in selecting a retailer. Instead of opening big stores, open small format stores that are 15,000 square feet or less. Small format stores streamline the buying experience, make it easy for consumers to find items and fulfill their immediate buying needs. To nail this strategy, use consumer data to determine where to place store locations, deliver product portfolios based on local demands and design your store layout for efficiency.
  • Fast Checkout: A slow checkout experience affects your bottom line. 32% of consumers said they’ll quit a long line and search for a better checkout experience elsewhere. But 11% said they’ll abandon a purchase entirely if a line is too long. To decrease waiting time, use self-checkout lanes and scanning options. You can also have in-store staff ring up sales anywhere in the store so consumers can skip lines. Just make sure any changes align with customers’ needs. For instance, ALDI discovered their customers preferred face-to-face interactions at registers, so while the brand doesn’t offer self-checkout options, it places multiple barcodes on packages so checkout staff can scan items quickly.
  • Excellent Customer Service Delivery: Customer service is a key cornerstone of the customer experience, as 95% of consumers say it’s one of the most important factors for brand loyalty. Deliver an exceptional customer service by using algorithms and knowledgeable in-store staff to provide products recommendations as needed. Give staff access to each consumer’s purchase history, preferred brands, and in-store behavior to help them predict future needs and personalize the shopping experience.

As consumers continue to demand the ability to try before they buy, stores will remain an asset. Stores that will continuously attract consumers, however, are those that reinvent themselves through simplified experiences.

Transparency

Brand transparency empowers shoppers to make informed purchases. 73% of consumers say they’re willing to pay more for a product that offers complete transparency. Use these tips to build transparency and develop trust with consumers.

  • Pricing: When prices are inconsistent or opaque, shopping becomes confusing. To remain transparent, keep pricing prominent and legible so customers can easily compare prices and get the best value. Work out a clear price structure so consumers know what to expect at checkout. For example, online retailer Everything5Pounds brings trend-led clothing to consumers for no more than £5 per item so there are no surprises at checkout.
  • Product Information: Empower customers to make the best decisions by giving them easy access to accurate and reliable information about warehouse/factory labor policies, how your products were produced, and where they come from. Distribute this information across the entire customer journey and on multiple platforms including your apps and website. For instance, Subway, the world’s 10th simplest brand, has a section of its website dedicated to where and how they source their ingredients.
  • Clear Communications: 59% of shoppers determine whether a brand is transparent based on if they include a description of the ingredients in plain English.

While transparency is a mainstay, note that how consumers determine transparency may change. It’s always best to monitor shifts in consumer behavior and make adjustments when and where necessary.

Realize The Power Of Simplicity

In a world of ever-increasing complexity and disruption, simplicity inspires trust and strengthens loyalty. Deliver a simple experience by reimagining your brand experience, adopting straightforward practices, and delivering on your brand proposition. Furthermore, to succeed with simplicity, weave the ideals into your company culture, not just your marketing strategy.

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