Buying the Chromecast: Multiple channels and today's consumer
A friend of mine recently decided to buy a Google Chromecast at launch and after speaking with her, I decided I wanted to write a blog post on her shopping experience for the latest “hot gadget.” For those of you who don’t know what a Chromecast is, it is essentially Google’s answer to Apple TV and similar offerings from Roku and Western Digital – a HDMI TV adapter that allows users to stream web content (Netflix, Youtube, etc.) on their TV, all while using their phone as a remote.
After making her decision to purchase the product, my friend’s product experience had just begun, complete with a common twist: Chromecasts were sold out and on backorder everywhere. On her quest to buy the new streaming device, she was faced with a choice many online consumers face: Where do I buy?
Here in the US, Chromecasts are sold at online stores like Google Play, Amazon, and eBay, as well as traditional brick and mortar (B&M) retailers like Best Buy. While the sticker price ($35 at time of writing) is the same everywhere and recent legislation brought the upfront post-tax price for online and B&M purchases at par in most states (here are the rules pertaining to your state), each channel still has its own advantages over the others.
Depending on how long it takes you to get a B&M store that carries Chromecasts, you might say that physical stores offer faster purchase gratification and a more convenient return process. Plus, you’ll get bragging rights on Facebook because you received your Chromecast faster than your friends did. For items on backorder, most stores offer to send you a notification via email or phone when the product arrives so that you can pick it up. Some will even ship you the product.
Buying your Chromecast from an online storefront has its perks as well. Primarily, you’ll save transportation costs and the time it takes to go to the store and checkout the product. When the Chromecast is available, you’ll have it at your doorstep without having to worry about notifications. In addition, there is a good chance your online retailer is a member of one of the many popular online cashback rewards programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards, ShopDiscover, and eBay Bucks so you might rack up a couple dollars toward your next purchase or a hotel stay while you’re purchasing your Chromecast.
As an added dimension, some stores will try to win your business by offering cashback or free gifts with your purchase. Not to be outdone, Google and Netflix teamed up to offer initial purchasers a 3-month free trial of Netflix’s streaming service (although the offer may have just ended).
So you’re saying, that’s great, how does this relate to selling my product and growing my brand? Well, to win over customers, you have to get inside their heads.
The above is an excellent example of what goes on inside the head of a potential customer when buying a hot product. Here is what we can learn from it:
Today’s consumers are faced with an increasing amount of choices both in terms of product offerings and channels to buy the products from. To ensure your product wins, you must communicate the value of your product to potential customers, make your product easy to find (sell on multiple channels), leverage mutually beneficial partnerships to expand your prospect base, and please your customers to ensure loyalty and positive word-of-mouth growth.
There is no one-size-fits-all commerce strategy, and every target customer base is different, but ecommerce should be a core part of your long term strategy. Potential customers are spending more and more time online via an ever-growing array of devices. To get in front of your future customers, you have to think about how they’re spending their time online, and which social and commerce platforms they’re using. You probably won’t be able to cover all of them, but if you haven’t already, now is a great time to start crafting your multi-channel ecommerce strategy.