During 2015 online retailers can expect a growing demand for customized shopping experiences, especially from travelers, as well as consumers in general. Market trends indicate savvy shoppers are increasingly demanding that retailers tailor their offerings to best suit specific consumer needs and provide a unique and seamless shopping experience.
In addition to consumer expectations, trends within other industries are changing how online retailers package services and structure the overall purchasing experience. More industries are embracing the ‘unbundling’ approach to online sales. The unbundling approach is when brands provide customized add-on options for purchase to let customers personalize their experience.
A recent article illustrated that unbundling will not be limited to travel retailers, but will also include the media and entertainment industry. For example, in early January the Dish Network released a web streaming service with three package options including different price points with a varying selection of cable network channels. Tom Wheeler, the commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) acknowledged in a recent blog post that consumers have long complained that cable providers “force” them to pay for unused and often unwanted channels. More important to note is Dish Network’s acknowledgment of this longstanding consumer complaint and their move to meet consumer demand.
The increasing popularity and consumer favorability of service models like Netflix and Hulu, demonstrate the change that consumers are challenging retailers to provide. Fusion’s research, conducted by Forrester Consulting, indicates that consumers in this era are seeking direct relationships with brands. Further, online retailers can no longer rely on the one size fits all approach. In the eyes of the consumer, unbundling empowers them to choose to access services and products on demand all while satisfying specific needs.
The way to move forward, gain revenue and create stronger bonds with consumers is experience optimization and an intensified focus on ancillary product strategy. Retailers in the era of the consumer can effectively service consumers by harnessing the power of data, meeting the consumer expectation of more in every interaction. Many retailers in the travel industry have been employing ancillary sales strategies however; greater opportunities exist for travel retailers to expand their offerings with targeted options.
To sell smarter in the era of the consumer, ancillary sales decision makers should:
- Know the customers and what they are likely to buy;
- Acquire ancillary products that are tailored to the customers’ impulsive needs;
- Consider working with partners or vendors to optimize sales and ease the burden of fulfillment; and
- Place ancillary offers on the same web page as the purchase path to create more ease and convenience in online sales.
Additional findings from the Forrester research are readily available via the recorded webinar.
– Bob Dufour