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Customer Experience

Adopt a Relational Approach in the Retail & eCommerce Industry

Every ambitious brand knows that creating a great customer experience strategy is key to long-term success, and driving profits for the company. A survey from Qualtrics revealed that 94% of respondents buy more goods and services from a company that meets customer expectations and provides an excellent customer experience. However, not every business knows how to develop and deliver the approach that will help achieve its goals.

Based on customer feedback, 90% of customers stated they leave a brand following a bad experience. Investing in CX and customer relationships must be a priority.

At, we believe that a shift from a transactional to a relational focus is your CX strategy's best course of action. 

This article will discuss the difference between transactional and relational business, and the kind of shoppers that embody each type. Also, we’ll explore some great examples of a relational approach that organizations can apply to be more customer-centric. 

manager visualWhat Is a Transactional Business Approach?

A transactional business focuses on the volume of point-of-sale interactions and getting the customer over the finish line. Only minimal contact is required after-sale or conversion.

A transactional business approach requires less emphasis on building a relationship between the company and its customer. 

How Do Transactional Shoppers Behave?

The transactional shopper focuses on finding the best price and value. While relational shoppers are more cautious, transactional shoppers are motivated by securing their dream bargain. They aren’t interested in forming a long-term relationship with a company as they may not repurchase products from the company.

However, these shoppers are 100% focused on getting the right deal and happy to negotiate and shop around. They enjoy haggling, researching, and comparing specs and prices of products or services that companies offer.

Transactional shoppers respond well to exclusive offers and incentive-based promotions. And they’ll be the ones first in the queue for any good sale. 

What Is a Relational Business Approach? 

A relational business approach is about establishing a long-term connection with the customer. This, in turn, leads to repeat sale transactions and increased loyalty.

Once the initial sale or conversion has happened, the company will regularly contact the customer, build rapport, deliver customer support, and encourage advocacy.  

How Do Relational Shoppers Behave?

Engaging and converting a relational shopper requires a soft approach at various touch-points. They need to be reassured before they are won over. They want to feel valued and be part of a two-way conversation with people they trust and who understand them for the long haul.

Relational shoppers don’t enjoy the buying experience in the way that transactional shoppers do. They worry about making the wrong choice in their purchases and aligning themselves with a brand that doesn’t fit with their goals and values. These shoppers value brand identities, it's about communicating your brand story effectively to your customers.

A solid brand identity will forge connections between companies and their customers. Companies need to instill a good branding strategy to be successful brands. Relational shoppers may require more time and effort to convert, but they are more likely to become repeat customers.

buy vs leave brands

What Are the Benefits of a Relational Business Approach? 

The move to a relational business approach offers some interesting, and lucrative opportunities for brands. Here are some of the key benefits for businesses that boost their CX strategy with a relational business approach:

  • An edge over your competitors.
  • Increased lifetime value from each customer, including opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling.
  • Improved customer service.
  • Increased customer retention and loyalty.
  • Opportunities for creating advocates, getting great customer reviews, word of mouth recommendations, etc.
  • The ability to get to know your customers, offer more personalized service, and meet their needs as they evolve.
  • Valuable customer insights that can drive better product development, improve customer journeys, boost commerce sales, and build trust and commitment.

Great Examples of a Relational Business Approach

With the benefits of adopting a relational business approach in mind, here are great examples for organizations to apply in their business:

  • Send a welcome email with a special offer following the initial sale or conversion.
  • Provide a customer experience that prioritizes adding value and developing meaningful relationships.
  • Develop a buyer journey for a better user experience. Examples include facilitating social sign-ins, offering the choice of mobile wallets, or building a portal where all the customer information is centralized, secure, and accessible.
  • Provide self-service tools to help customers get information and support whenever they need it.
  • Offer added-value services at little or no extra charge. For example, free alterations services for clothing.
  • Deliver an onboarding program or provide a new customer with personalized resources.
  • Build a loyalty program based on their preferences.
  • Send a newsletter with personalized content based on their interests.
  • Encourage engagement and converse with your community on their preferred social media platforms.
  • Celebrate milestones such as their first anniversary as a customer, or their birthday.
  • Ask customers to fill in a feedback survey or speak to them directly to gauge how happy they are with your brand and what more you could do to help.

The key to long-term success for businesses starts here. Organizations must prioritize developing a sustainable approach that will deliver the ultimate customer experience and help achieve their business goals.

Find out more about how adopting a relational business approach can help your business today.
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