A well-considered tech stack is important for all ecommerce ventures. And in an increasingly competitive space, it’s vital for mindful brands looking to create fantastic customer experiences that avoid any hint of typical spammy hard sell and instead reflect the true nature and goals of their business.
This article will outline three key areas where working with carefully curated technical partners can help give businesses the edge — bringing a healthier bottom line, and making the world a more sustainable place with every sale.
The customer is always right (on) - customer service for mindful brands
When building out a tech stack for a mindful ecommerce brand, customer service needs especially careful consideration.
Recent years have seen a significant rise in conscious consumerism. Customers are more aware of their spending power and are choosing to shop in a more politicised, deliberate way.
This means many conscious consumers are striking out from familiar “old ways” – abandoning fast fashion, excessive consumerism and brands they no longer feel an affinity with (or even wish to boycott). They’re looking for new places to lay their loyalty and feel good about purchasing items that are kind to our environment.
As a consequence, interest in discovering new brands is high, and mindful brands that market themselves within this niche may be experiencing above-average numbers of first-time customers. It’s essential to give these newcomers a great experience to keep them coming back. They’re likely to be less familiar with a brand’s products, and will therefore want reassurance about their mindful practices.
Transparency and communication are key for mindful brands. It’s so important that their audiences trust them to be doing the right thing, and customer service is a great opportunity to ensure that this message is being delivered, loud and clear.
Mindful consumers also tend to be more discerning, so brands can generally expect more communication from their customers. Quick, clear responses are crucial. If customers are kept waiting, with many other options at their fingertips, they may well decide to buy from another brand. That leads to lost conversions along with the hope of repeat custom in the future.
Efficiency is key for all retailers, but when dealing with a high number of customer support tickets, adding an element of automation to your process can save countless hours (and precious resources.) Great service breeds loyalty.
A great example of this is sustainable craft supplies company, Darn Good Yarn. They place huge importance on mindful sourcing and employment practices, and by leveraging more efficient customer service which automated common requests and integrated with other Shopify solutions, they were able to cut down response and resolution time, as well as increasing customer retention.
When it comes to customer service, Gorgias leads the field, providing a help desk that ticks all the right boxes. For brands looking to optimise their customer experience, its service is hard to beat when it comes to usability – centralising support tickets and improving customer engagement and conversion across the board.
Supply is a great example of an mindful brand that Gorgias is helping to excel. It offers an end to the tyranny of disposable, plastic razors with a product that promises a lifetime of use – Supply’s razors come with a 100-year warranty! Supply is an example of a small business with great mindful practices across the board — paying employees a fair wage and sourcing great products that make a difference. It doesn’t resort to spammy offers and, yes, provides great customer service.
Gorgias ensures that Supply is able to respond to every customer, not only as questions are raised on a day-to-day basis, but also after big surges in sales, such as those experienced following a feature on Shark Tank.
Supply uses Gorgias to help present its business in an honest and totally transparent way — openly acknowledging negative comments, and publicly tackling “trolls”. As a result of this, loyal customers will often weigh in to back them up by responding to naysayers on their social media posts and advertisements. This is a great approach for mindful brands who believe in their product, are proud of the space they occupy, and know they have nothing to hide.
Ask Yourself: Could Your Mindful Brand Benefit?
- What measures do you currently take to communicate clearly with your customers? Are you simply answering questions, or actively looking to make that support improve outcomes?
- If you plan to grow your brand in the future, will your current customer service strategy scale alongside you? Are you prepared for crossborder selling and international markets? How would you handle a sudden spike in interest following press coverage or a flash sale?
- How much value do you place on creating a strong brand reputation that breeds loyalty and repeat business? Have you created a culture of support that turns happy customers into loyal brand advocates, supporting your brand messaging?
Hello, is it me you're looking for? - Harnessing the power of on-site search
On-site search holds staggering potential in terms of customer experience, and has highly applicable benefits that could prove particularly helpful for mindful brands.
As previously discussed, conscious consumers are concerned with a wide range of product attributes. A sophisticated on-site search integration should give you the capacity to make products filterable by these attributes (often automating this process, ensuring shoppers are shown only the attributes specifically relevant to their selected product range).
This is incredibly helpful for customers who want to know that a product ticks a number of mindful boxes (e.g. only Fair Wear cotton, printed with water-based inks) without having to wade through multiple product pages and descriptions. A side-by-side comparison of products that meet their expectations should be possible after one search query and a couple of tick boxes.
On-site search is also a great source of data about your customers’ habits. Brands can gain smart insights into what products or product attributes (e.g. plastic-free, Fairtrade) are most popular with their customer base. This can help to inform their future stocking strategy, as they’re able to source new products based on this interest. Brands can also make good use of the keywords that they see trending to deliver more accurately designed and targeted ad campaigns.
Online retailers can also consider leveraging banner ads within search results pages to drive traffic to certain collections targeted to keywords (e.g. promoting a certain vegan range to those searching for other vegan products).
Your Search is Over: Meet Klevu
Klevu provides market-leading on-site search, especially well-suited to brands looking for a product that is quick to integrate and powerful right out of the box. A host of advanced features from self-learning AI capabilities, to dynamic filtering and Smart Category Navigation mean that customers are shown results that are highly relevant and likely to convert. Catalog enhancement with a huge range of synonyms and use of Natural Language Processing mean that search results are accurate and successful.
All this functionality holds great potential for mindful brands, and Manduka is a great example of this. Their search offers trending suggestions before a single character has been entered. And in addition to smart suggestions, a search term will also pull up Page and Category recommendations, all within an instant “search as you type” overlay. Perfect for yoga fans looking to explore products they have a deep interest in.
Klevu represents a big time-saver for brands that are currently spending a great deal of time managing the merchandising aspects of their store. Similarly, by targeting a highly motivated segment of your customers, you’re making smart use of your investment. The ROI of on-site search can (and should) be measured — a vitally important component for brands that are still scaling.
Ask Yourself: Could Your Mindful Brand Benefit?
- How much do you currently know about the way your customers are searching your site?
- Customers who interact with on-site search are 200% more likely to convert — how could you be improving and incentivising the search experience?
- What’s your current search exit rate? Are you losing sales to competitors because of a disappointing or fruitless search experience?
- How much time do you currently lose to manual merchandising? What benefits might you see as a result of AI-powered automations in this area?
Up for reviews, not up for debate - why custpomer reviews count
Social proof is extremely important to customers who are mindful. Mindful consumers want to hear directly from other shoppers with similar values. They’ll be looking for confirmation that their experience was solid and that products lived up to expectations. Reviews provide reassuring, valuable content that can be integrated into your store and wider marketing.
Mindful brands are in a great position to build strong communities and followings around their offering as their audience is united by a common set of values and beliefs. By leveraging user-generated content such as reviews and product images within your strategy, you can amplify this sense of togetherness. As a result, brands are more likely to see first-time customers coming back for more and will happily advocate companies they align with.
As we mentioned earlier in this article, the rise of conscious consumerism means mindful brands are likely to be seeing a wave of newcomers. Reviews not only give them faith in tried and tested products — it’s the opinion of those they trust the most: their peers.
User-generated content can help mindful brands stand out in a crowded marketplace. If you’re leveraging Google Shopping, help differentiate your product listings with customer images and star ratings, which are known to generate much higher clickthrough rates.
An Okendo Attitude
Okendo offers a “new standard in customer reviews.” Trusted by mindful giants such as Finisterre, their solution seamlessly integrates with your store to capture valuable customer views, and showcase them to maximum effect.
Okendo allows merchants to leverage user-generated content throughout their stores and marketing campaigns. An integration with Foursixty means that Instagram and influencer marketing can be harnessed in tandem with the power of customer feedback.
This is a powerful combo for niche brands within the sustainability space, that can make the most of a connected and clearly defined audience. Okendo’s new integration with Klaviyo can also help you run much more effectively segmented email marketing campaigns.
A great example of this integration in action comes from sustainable dog treat brand, WAG. The brand collected a range of data from those customers who left reviews, for example which pups had sensitive tummies, or needed treats with boredom-busting staying power. As a result, WAG was able to apply smart segmentation to their lists and run highly targeted email campaigns featuring personalised product recommendations.
Ask Yourself: Could Your Mindful Brand Benefit?
- How are you currently collecting and integrating social proof within your store?
- Have you considered leveraging the power of social proof across your marketing strategy?
- Are you making the most effective use of user-generated content? How are you integrating Instagram and influencers into your strategy? Are you taking full advantage of the well-defined audience an ethical product can command?
- How could social proof and user-generated content help differentiate you from competitors in the ethical vertical?
Stack the odds in your favour
There’s never been a better time to be a mindful brand within the ecommerce sector. And while we all welcome an increase in the number of mindful retailers as a good thing for our planet, it does of course mean greater competition. Ensure you’re at the top of your game, with a stack that ensures a well-optimised, highly-converting store which delivers on all fronts.
Working with a carefully chosen range of third party tech partners can make all the difference, elevating your ecommerce experience, driving more sales and repeat custom.
Think carefully about which technical elements of your ecommerce store could be improved to bring the greatest return on your investment. We’ve given three great starting points here and would love you to join the conversation with your own ideas in our new community group!
Share your mindful ecommerce tech stack (or introduce mindful brands to your own solution!) in our awesome MindfulCommerce Community!
🌍 If you’re looking to position your Shopify app or agency as the perfect solution for mindful and sustainable brands, we can help! Join our amazing 1-1 marketing program specifically for Shopify Developers or check out our services for Shopify devs, here.