Human touchpoints as trust points: the relevance of personal advice
Online shopping has become an integral part of everyday lives of Europeans. At the same time, 43% still prefer shopping in the offline world1 because they value personal contact, want to see or touch the products and simply also have a personal relationship with certain shops. This underlines that online shopping does not replace offline shopping, but rather both experiences complement each other.
Especially for products that involve larger investments and/or lead to a longer-term commitment, such as cars, kitchens or insurance, expert advice continues to be a relevant touchpoint for consumers. But even with such high-involvement products, consumers increasingly appreciate the advantages of online shopping and combine them specifically with those of offline shopping. In a recent survey, it was found that in Europe, online furniture sales have doubled in the last five years, and digital shopping for cars is expected to grow by 6 to 8 % by 2025, and up to 40% by 2035.2
E-Commerce insights of Europe show that especially the Dutch love online shopping.
With the new digital eco-platform smart is responding to these developments, getting directly in touch with its customers and creating a convenient and smooth shopping experience. The new D2C business model of smart is built to bring together the benefits of online and offline shopping along the entire customer journey and provides personal as well as digital touchpoints and information whenever needed and based on customer preference.
smart’s shop-in-shop setup to offer human touchpoint.
Consumer preferences as guard rails for the smart omnichannel approach
Surveys show that even consumers who prefer to engage through digital channels don't always prefer to buy online. Generational differences become apparent likewise: 2 out of 3 millennials prefer both engagement and purchasing via online channels, while only one in three Gen X representatives does. However, all of them rank the experience with the company or brand as equally important as the product or service offered (increasing from 80% in 2020 to 88% in 20223).
The new smart eco-platform will allow customers to switch seamlessly from online to offline channels and back for each step of the customer journey depending on individual preferences. Thereby the customer is leading his sales journey’s flow and pace across all touchpoints available – digital and in real life – picking and choosing the personal dialogue opportunities where and how they need them.
smart’s omnichannel approach: a value for everyone.
No one-size-fits-all rule: personal interaction complements the online process
With the new D2C business model, smart deliberately chooses direct contact with the customer to enable an individually designed shopping experience. By doing so, the physical retail in its updated form will remain a vital factor for success at smart to ensure that online and offline interactions go hand in hand.
As research nowadays increasingly starts and takes place online, the central element for this is the smart online platform, where users can research, customize and of course, also buy lease or initially pre-order the new smart #1.
On the website, relevant information can be found on the individual models, designs and features, as well as on charging at home and in public spaces for a worry-free EV-life. While the intuitive configurator guides customers to the perfectly fitting model, the visualizer gives an idea of what the smart #1 will ultimately look like. Thanks to the individual login, it is also possible to access the personal smart profile directly in one of the smart showrooms together with the smart expert onsite and receive even more in-depth advice. The certified smart experts can be consulted by the customer throughout the entire purchasing journey for product presentations, handling test drives and financial advice.
Customers can purchase their new smart #1 through multiple touchpoints.
As there is no universal rule for balancing digital and human interaction, smart offers multiple touchpoints that allow customers to engage with people during the ordering process when they may need to. By giving them control over the use of virtual and real touchpoints throughout the customer journey, smart provides a comprehensive sense of comfort and security - from the beginning of the ordering process to driving the smart #1 and beyond.
 &  Salesforce Research, State of the Connected Customer report. Surveyed: 13,020 consumers and 3,916 business buyers worldwide from December 8, 2021, through February 1, 2022.
Our Customer Engagement Center is happy to help you with every question regarding the online ordering process.
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Head of Public Relations and Communications smart Europe GmbH