Timetrade B2C Survey: Successful Customer Engagement with Today’s Buyers Starts with In-Person Appointments

Connecting buyers to knowledgeable store associates produces more sales, deeper brand loyalty

TimeTrade, the leading provider of Intelligent Appointment Scheduling, today released results from its latest research on the state of the B2C buying experience, with data revealing that today’s brands should use appointment scheduling to secure the personalized in-person buying experiences expected by today’s on-demand consumers.

Results from the survey – “What Buyers Want: The State of the B2C Buyer Experience” – indicate that buyers demand increased engagement from companies, specifically in ways that make it easier for them to interreact and schedule meetings. On the other hand, respondents confirm that a poor in-store experience, such as when a company fails to connect buyers to a knowledgeable store associate in a timely manner, will likely result in missed opportunities for greater sales and loyalty.

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Moreover, buyers indicate that they want to learn about potential purchases – making experiential marketing efforts such as class- and event-based programs an essential part of any B2C push by consumer-facing brands.

“It’s clear that scheduling appointments and attending events & classes leads to the type of customer engagement that meet the expectations of today’s on-demand consumers, and yet consumers tell us they continue having difficulty scheduling time with brands,” said Gary Ambrosino, CEO of TimeTrade. “The survey data show that the time is now for brands who want to take advantage of the engagement opportunity afforded by live interactions and differentiate themselves in a competitive setting.”

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Brands still leaving B2C sales revenue on the table 

B2C sellers understand that without prompt, professional customer service, companies risk losing customers – particularly in today’s on-demand economy. And yet B2C sellers continue to fall short when it comes to meeting this customer expectation, according to TimeTrade’s survey data. When visiting a store or bank, fully 50 percent of respondents indicate that they “Always” or “Frequently” have difficulty getting assistance from a knowledgeable associate in a timely manner. The result? No sale, with 74 percent of respondents saying they will leave without making a purchase. Simply by scheduling an appointment with would-be buyers, brands can avoid this disconnect – and align with the 83 percent of TimeTrade respondents who say they are either likely or very likely to schedule an appointment with a company they may buy from.

The right buying experience: uncomplicated, reliable, pleasant 

Today’s consumers want to engage with companies when they want, and how they want – across channels. Whether it’s online, mobile, app, or by phone, B2C sellers must deliver engagement options that reflect consumer preferences – or they will go elsewhere. Consumers looking for personal shopping services strongly endorse the importance of live meetings and appointments – 69 percent of survey respondents said these were important – and shoppers across industries share this view. Whether it’s a buyer looking for technology products or services (84 percent), financial services (92 percent), or banking products (87 percent), today’s B2C buyers clearly value the ability to schedule an appointment and get the service they expect from a potential seller – where and when the buyer wants it.

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Experiential Marketing: A new form of customer engagement 

Another way that brands are creating direct connections and more meaningful relationships with consumers is through experiential marketing that directly engages buyers through in-person, and often in-store, brand experiences like events or classes. TimeTrade’s survey results support this opportunity to accelerate and convert buyer interest: 79 percent of buyers say it is important to be able to attend events or classes to learn more about a product or service prior to purchasing. Buyers are also more likely to buy, or buy more, if a brand offers events or classes relating to the product.

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The new role of search: driving customers to physical locations 

Last year’s launch of Reserve with Google empowered consumers to discover and book personalized appointments and classes in retail stores and local businesses. Given the frequency of consumer search – 90 percent of TimeTrade survey respondents say they use online search “frequently” or “all the time” to find stores/banks – this creates a truly expedited and seamless buyer’s journey. It also creates a new opportunity for brands to exploit: consumers now expect search results to produce an immediate booking for a personal appointment – that is, a scheduled live interaction – between a buyer and a knowledgeable associate of that nearby store.

“B2C selling organizations must realize that buyers want answers to their questions, and they want to work with companies who offer appointments as a means to interact with knowledgeable employees who can personalize the entire purchase path at the click of a button,” said Gary Ambrosino, CEO of TimeTrade. “The survey data show that B2C customers will spend more when they get the right service, and will walk away without purchasing when brands fail to personalize their customer engagement strategies.”

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