How can businesses leverage digital and virtual solutions to drive awareness and mitigate the risk of face-to-face communication dependencies without sacrificing real experience?
The customer journey is complex. We imagine it being an indefinite loop of activities clustered as: pre-purchase, at-purchase and post-purchase. Alternatively, we plan along the sales funnel aka AIDA model: awareness, interest, desire, action.
Both models have various touchpoints to initiate and maintain relationships with consumers. Many brands and companies are deploying activities and channels that focus heavily on in-person communication. It is exactly these interactions that can be costly, inefficient or at risk in times like we are facing now.
Of course, there are online shops and websites to promote products, but this mostly covers a small fraction of the at-purchase phase of the customer journey.
How can businesses and their business model become less dependent on face-to-face communication?
As part of their risk management, companies need to rethink their marketing strategies and tools in order to stay competitive. In many cases Promotion and Place of “The 4Ps of Marketing” need to be evaluated. Some businesses even need to review the Product and adopt their business model to the changing environment.
There are many digital and virtual tools and best practices to mitigate these risks:
Transform physical events into digital experience.
Businesses can supplement their in-person activities by switching from physical setups for events such as conferences, training and fairs, to digital executions. Connecting with people via live digital or virtual environments is becoming more and more accepted. Streaming events on social media, hosting training or certifications remotely and creating virtual surroundings are all ways in which businesses can adapt traditional in-person activities.
Immersive product experience to mesmerize customers.
Extended reality solutions such as AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) are proven techniques to enable customers to experience products in their own environment. This reduces the dependency of in-store experience. Thanks to the latest AR solutions, apps are no longer needed, and the usage is seamless and user-friendly. Imagine virtual showrooms to promote and exhibit your products, not reliant on location or time.
Customer Engagement: digital, automated, emotional.
Frequent dialog with customers drives conversion along the customer journey. Digital tools play a more important roll while physical contact points are diminishing. Businesses need to offer enough touchpoints in each of the three purchase stages to initiate and maintain a conversation with customers. Tools like Rating & Reviews, Q&As, Messengers and Chatbots are easily integrated and commonly used.
The individual mixture of digital, virtual and real experience is key.
The way businesses are engaging with customers is changing. Driven by developments in technology, behavioral changes or sudden events such as Covid-19, the crucial role of face-to-face communication is continuously challenged. By incorporating more digital and virtual solutions organizations can diversify their marketing activities and communication channels to become less dependent on physical conversations, thus mitigating their risks.
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