After the sale, customer needs are similar whether they purchase online or in-store
By Joe Erdeman
In 2012, online sales hit $226 billion, up 16 percent from the previous year. The rapid increase in online shopping has raised a number of questions, including significant ones regarding state and local taxation of online sales. In May, the US Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act, which proposes to level the playing field for the taxation of online purchases.
Today, retailers determine necessary taxation based on a 1992 Supreme Court ruling that dictates that a state cannot force retailers to collect sales tax unless they have a physical presence in the state. Given the push-pull taking place between bricks-and-mortar and online shopping, it’s easy to see how the ability of online retailers to provide tax-free purchases to customers could be an advantage over bricks-and-mortar competitors. The Marketplace Fairness Act would require retailers with over $1 million in sales to collect state and local taxes for online purchases, eliminating one potential advantage in the battle for wallet-share.
With the Marketplace Fairness Act potentially eliminating a key advantage for e-tailers, both online and bricks-and-mortar retailers need to develop new ideas about how to differentiate themselves to consumers. The best place to start is the customer experience.
Your customer’s experience goes so much further than the moment of purchase, and everything that leads up to it. Yet most companies focus all of their efforts on the pre-purchase and point-of-sale. The best way to differentiate your brand to customers is to deliver an exceptional experience after the sale. Delivery and installation, tech support, service and repair all represent opportunities to reconnect with customers post-purchase and give them a reason to remain loyal to your brand. If you can add value to the customer experience after the purchase has been made, you’re ahead of the curve in standing out from your competitors.
And when you focus on the entire customer experience – pre-purchase, point-of-sale and post-purchase – you uncover new ways to build loyalty, gain efficiencies, improve performance and grow revenue. When you choose Assurant Solutions as your protection partner, you are choosing a partner that is focused on ensuring a world-class experience for your customers for the life of their product and a partner that shines new light onto the entire customer experience. This enables you to make better, smarter and more enlightened decisions that will build loyalty and drive growth.
In this age of shrinking profit margins and growing customer expectations, the best differentiator for any retailer – online or off – is to deliver a positive experience to your customer for the life of their product. And that’s what Assurant Solutions is all about.