Thanks to the coronavirus, we have all been doing a lot more shopping from home, a little bit more than usual. And, let’s be honest, that internet shopping might involve a lot less pant wearing and a little more retail therapy. Maybe some stress eating, to boot.

But this moment in time has proven that customers want a lot more than therapeutic shopping.

The shopping experiences we’re hearing about the most involve genuine connection. Frankly, they remind us of the kind of service you would expect from mom and pop stores, except that online retailers of all sizes are managing to achieve this personalized touch.

Fresh Perspective

Take, for instance, Hamama.com. This small, startup online retailer specializes in kits that let individuals grow healthy, nutritious microgreens at home. Each month, customers receive their seed sheets which come in packages that have little hand written notes. A little water and a few days later they are treated to a veritable feast of yummy green goodness.

Hamama gained a cult following thanks to personal touches. Camille, Hamama’s owner’ sends out personalized notes to all of their customers and keeps in direct contact over the course of the entire relationship. These messages are more than just a sales pitch or alerting customers to new products and specials. More often than not, Camille’s messages are just thanking customers for giving their products a try and checking-in.

There are also facebook fan groups where microgreen fans can share their experiences, tips and tricks. Not to mention, Hamama customer service will do whatever it takes to fix an issue (and keep your business).

Are any of the notes or facebook groups necessary? Maybe. Is it deepening the relationship with the customer over the long-term? Absolutely.

The goodwill gained from such a small action has turned customers into advocates, who share their experiences with the company on social media. The free advertising is an added side effect of happy customers!

Among Giants

You can buy just about anything from the mega-retailers, like Amazon and Walmart, but despite that fact, other online retailers are doing just fine. And while those retailers are still first choices for plenty of people, other retailers have found ways to stay relevant and connect with customers in surprising ways.

For instance, Wayfair has seen meteoric rise because of their attention to personalization. Originally, Wayfair created a system that helped connect customers with products that they had shown interest in, but then took it a step further by pointing out other products they might want.

Another way that Wayfair made a name for itself? Customer service. Customers have long raved about how easy it is to return products or get refunds. Wayfair’s policy is transparent and has no hidden catches.

By doing this, Wayfair is saying, “Not only are we going to suggest new things to you, but we’re not going to try and screw you for trying those new things.”

“Insuring” Happiness

Even in an industry like insurance which often gets a bad rap, businesses are finding ways to cultivate positive feelings through little touches and care.

For instance, companies like Hippo and Esurance gained attention for being a quick and easy solution to insurance coverage. These companies are designed to help customers out in a pinch if they find themselves in a position where they need coverage quickly. A great way to position a company in the insurance marketplace.

However, these companies also realize that by doing just a little bit extra, they can keep customers and build relationships. Customers who stick with these companies receive small gifts at the one-year anniversary. Essentially, they say through these actions that they’re not interested in preying on your desperation or being a “budget” insurance company, but they want to be there for you and build that relationship.

Just a Little Bit

In all of these examples, these little touches are completely unnecessary. After all, you keep your Amazon Prime membership for a year and you probably won’t get as much as a thank you, but no one is worried about Amazon going away anytime soon. However, for most businesses, acts of kindness go a long way in standing out from the crowd and letting customers feel like they’re receiving more than just a product or service; they believe you care.

Harnessing a system to manage each of the different layers and channels used to build relationships with customers isn’t always obvious. The point here is that if you want to follow a strategy built around putting the customer experience first, then you need to equally consider an integrated system that will help you keep your customer relationships organized and thoughtful.

Sometimes those systems may start small and grow over time, but more often than not a new, more savvy operation is necessary to bring older, legacy systems into the fold. If your business is looking to stand out in the market place by delighting customers, it might be time to consider a system like Pega.

Guess who has two thumbs and is ready to make your experience a priority? Let’s connect! 😉

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