Are you an ecommerce entrepreneur? If you’re so, and your organization has been in this business for a quite long time, then by now you must have understood that offering a quality product isn’t just enough to survive in this industry. You can’t solely rely on your product in order to attract, engage and retain your potential customers. It’s rather more significant to offer a valuable overall seamless experience to your e-commerce customers. So, today in this article, we will clearly discuss everything you need to know about creating a successful digital commerce experience.
Following points uncover all the necessary steps that can be taken to improve your digital commerce experience and make it a huge success for your company and your valuable customers.
Begin with reliable and scalable technology
The digital world is constantly evolving and along with that is also changing the customers’ choices and demands. Even though the market is uncertain, your digital presence has to be reliable. According to Lucidworks and Retail TouchPoints’ survey, “73% of retailers expressed that website downtime, degraded site performance and poor customer experience can be considered as their biggest worry during peak demand times.”
A content delivery network (CDN) can be considered as a great solution for offering experiences fast and at scale as well when it comes about fast delivery of content. Also, AI and machine learning solutions prove to be a great way in increasing website performance and maximize customer satisfaction.
Transform customer intelligence into awareness with a strong first-party data strategy
It is seen that in the past, digital marketers and advertisers would purchase third-party customer records like email lists or demographic info from data vendors to segment their audiences and provide them various offers. Since more concerns are being raised in regards to consumer data privacy, digital leaders such as Google are actively planning to phase out third-party data usage. Consequently, it’s important that brands implement a strong first-party data strategy. Having a centralized way that helps in managing and activating all of your customer data in-house, through solutions such as a customer data platform, it has become popular for the power it offers to the marketers for viewing all of the customer’s interactions and choices in one place, at the same time providing much greater control for complying with privacy requests.
Without a CDP serving as a single source of truth, brands will either have to custom-build data processors to handle such requests or outsource requests to third parties. This time-consuming procedure won’t be efficient as regards to adjusting and customizing customer experiences at the speed customers want. Only collecting data about your audience isn’t sufficient in order to create a fully effective data-driven digital commerce strategy. You will have to change the culture throughout your company to closely focus on how to unlock major insights from that data to create individual, valuable customer experiences which support customer relationships for the entire lifetime. Also, AI tools and machine learning offer marketers the power to recognize the context and intention behind every individual customer interaction at scale.
Prioritize omnichannel customer journeys
It is seen that customers are constantly moving between various channels and interacting with the brands even beyond web pages through things such as conversational interfaces and wearable technology. According to Lucidworks and Retail TouchPoints’ survey, 60% of the shoppers visit a website or will interact with a brand up to four times before making any purchase. Read about conversational UIs and conversational commerce to know more.
Businesses usually require technology which is open and composable by design. Also, a digital platform strategy with a composable architecture helps brands to activate customer experiences over each and every channel, both offline and online, in order to connect people anywhere and everywhere. Instead of making customers get frustrated by letting them re-enter their shipping data various times or even making them repeat their request to customer service representatives and digital chatbots, brands are required to unify their digital experience by letting customer data flow smoothly between all sides of the business.
Emphasize product discoverability
Customers wish to find their preferred products easily and quickly without going through any complexities or delays. If they happen to find any such difficulty they would definitely go for another option. Therefore, enhancing product discoverability must be a top priority for the digital retailers with 48% of top retailers investing in AI to enhance their search intent capabilities. Also, Natural language processing (NLP) or technology that helps to interpret human intent and context in search phrases in order to leverage the most convenient results is a major area where AI can be used to enhance search and discovery.
Improve user experience (UX)
The quality of your e-commerce website and mobile application decides the success of your e-commerce business. These are some of the ways in which you can improve your application and website user experience.
Investing in the right design
Generally, visitors tend to stop browsing a website if they find the website layout unattractive. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the website is well-designed. The prime focus should be on elegance and simplicity, letting your website feel like an extension of your brand.
Reducing load times
It is observed that most of the people prefer to leave a website if it happens to take more than 3 seconds to load, and will also engage with content if the images take a lot of time to load. Therefore, it is advisable to minimize website load times by compressing images, caching web pages, and reducing redirects for starters. Then the next important steps that can be taken include using a performance-optimized hosting solution and keeping custom code clean.
Adding a functional search bar
Along with a user-friendly UI, there is also a need for a search bar which allows easy navigation in your website to enhance the user experience.
Launching a chatbot
People do make purchases from a website's chatbot by using conversational marketing. Chatbots help shoppers by answering important questions related to product information, product availability, pricing, and billing. They provide post-purchase customer support by delivering automated solutions for order tracking, refund, and replacement requests. Eventually, chatbots enhance user experience by offering instant and contextual solutions.
Focusing on mobile optimization
The majority of the internet users are found to be using their smartphones or mobile phones. So, if you do not have a mobile app, then it becomes completely essential that you prioritize building mobile-optimized web pages. You should run your website on Google’s Mobile Test tool to recognize your website’s position when it comes to mobile usability. You need to ensure that your product images, font, customer self-service options, and CTAs are all optimized for mobile. You also need to keep in mind that customers also purchase products by messaging on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp Business or even directly from Instagram Store.
Create a simple checkout procedure
The checkout process is considered as an important part of the e-commerce experience. Minor errors while checking out can make customers cancel the purchase. Therefore, an easy-to-use and convenient checkout experience shall be offered to customers. You need to focus on delivering flexible payment options through availing multiple payment methods like credit cards, PayPal and Apple Pay. Along with a seamless checkout experience, the customers also look for security. At the present time of data breaches and theft, consumers do not prefer to make purchases from an e-commerce website which has poor security or even questionable credibility.
Deliver personalized customer service
You will find that a highly personalized shopping experience makes the customers add additional items to their baskets, letting them spend much more time than they actually planned. You can use cues from recently viewed and searched items, past orders, and locations to customize the website experience. In fact, you can build customized web pages and campaigns depending on customer segments. While witnessing a highly personalized experience, the customers are seen spending up to 40% more over the e-commerce sites as well.
Prioritize customer feedback
Customer feedback is regarded as one of the main elements of business growth as satisfied customers do not step back from suggesting your products and advocate your brand with positive feedback. With the help of feedback, you are able to hold a clear view regarding how well your business is performing. And, you also get to enhance products and services, measure customer satisfaction, improve customer retention, offer a better customer experience and enhance your customer interaction. To know more, read why customer experience should be at the pinnacle of your business strategies.
Look after customer retention strategy
One of the main challenges of an e-commerce business is customer retention. The brands which have a strategy for customer-journey management are able to increase their return on marketing investment by 53 percent. Customer retention can be considered as the result of customer service and experience. By creating a good experience which is predictable and consistent, you can smoothly enhance the customer retention. Therefore, to grow your business, you will have to prioritize the complete customer lifecycle i.e., nurturing, engaging, and retaining. Learn more about how to create the right digital commerce strategy for your organization here.
Use API-based commerce
Inflexible commerce, legacy and content solutions are holding back organizations from creating unique experiences for its customers. So, the API-based commerce (aka headless commerce) overcomes these issues by using the API as the key to interface with separate business systems. Therefore, a lightweight API helps in controlling the transmission of data between systems – content, customer information, products, financials, and other systems reside in separate systems, free from any code which limits frontend development. Also, it helps in offering suitable, contextual, and consistent product and content experiences to the customers over all the websites or applications.
Make use of Artificial intelligence
AI is seen growing rapidly, with spending on Artificial Intelligence in eCommerce aims to reach $7.3 billion per year by 2022. AI smartly applies logic-based techniques,and advanced analysis which includes machine learning, to interpret events, automate decisions and take actions. Some of the examples of AI in eCommerce include site search optimization, product recommendations, and shopping journey personalization.
Provide convenient payment options
Payment is one more area where it is crucial to offer your customers options. Some of the aspects of payments that you can ponder upon can be like considering the different payment methods you provide your customers to use. Well, most of the customers prefer using credit cards or mobile payments. You don’t essentially need to provide all kinds of payment methods to your customers but rather should recognize the methods that would be secure and convenient enough, and also preferred by the customers. And, when it comes to subscription services, 53% expresses, subscriptions are a much more relevant method of paying for goods or services they usually use, while 44% believe that subscriptions can be considered as a better value than other payment options for a similar service or product. Therefore, by offering such payment options the customers can be encouraged to stick around your brand.
Optimize post-purchase journey
The e-commerce experience does not come to an end when customers process their payments. In today’s time of one-day delivery and free returns, customers are seen emphasizing more on the post-purchase experience. Since online shopping doesn’t allow customers to physically experience things like in a store, there is some risk for them while making online purchases. Such risk can be reduced by providing a clear returns policy for customers. Along with the flexibility to make returns, the customers also shall be given the opportunity to receive their shipments in a timely manner. The e-commerce sellers need to efficiently manage inventory, understand shipping options and address regulatory needs and requirements. And, the best part is that we have a range of technology integrations for e-commerce platforms which can help retailers in managing every aspect of the post-purchase journey to minimize shipping delays and increase customer confidence.
So, in this article we have well understood that along with having a good online presence, you need to consider the digital commerce experience as a holistic journey and emphasise majorly upon making every customer’s experience personalized, secure, and as seamless as possible.