It might seem like a relatively new concern for eCommerce companies looking to improve conversion rates and sales on their websites but before the online shift, brick-and-mortar retailers focused on customer experience for many years by using upsell bins, improving store design, and optimizing POS and checkout.
In fact, for traditional retailers, like Abercrombie & Fitch, Build A Bear, and Nordstrom, customer experience has been successfully employed to differentiate themselves from their competitors and create a brand synonymous with quality.
This emphasis has also impacted the bottom line for these companies. Forrester reports that improving CX can increase profitability by more than 500%, as well as reducing customer acquisition and employee hiring costs.
What is a positive eCommerce customer experience?
CX starts with engaging customers with relevant events well before the sale, and continues after the sale with advocacy and brand loyalty.
What goes into creating a positive eCommerce customer experience?
- a user-friendly website
- a rapid checkout process
- personalized shopping experiences
- clear product pages
- easy returns
- outstanding customer support
The 9 Secret Ingredients for a Great CX Strategy
1. Define the Right Style
Your CX strategy changes depending on the predictability of your market, and to every market there is a different strategic style. The Harvard Business Review, suggests the four strategic styles below. They include:
- Classical: This style is best for companies that operate in highly predictable industries.
- Adaptive: This is best for companies in unpredictable industries.
- Shaping: This is one step beyond the adaptive style.
- Visionary: This bold and entrepreneurial style can create entirely new markets or visions, and views the environment as a way to be molded to a company’s advantage.
Products that have rigid demand, a high percentage of repeat customers, and a small number of competitors, such as B2B eCommerce, are better suited for the classical approach. Apparel, however, which is characterized by high competition and lack of product differentiation, is a good match for the adaptive model. A shaping or even a visionary strategy is great for eCommerce brands looking to differentiate themselves and stay ahead in a competitive market but, at the same time, can sustain the long term vision necessary to facilitate it.
2. Create a Journey for Your Strategy
A good strategy should tell a good story. First, ask yourself what is the correct place to start?
Second, establish a theme by asking what is the main point of your customer experience strategy? Finally, a good strategy brings it all together with a solid conclusion.
3. Map Your Customer Data
Map out the touchpoints, collect data, and figure out how to optimize the process. We all collect data. However, for your data to effectively fule decision it should address questions such as:
How do customers find you?
Why do they choose you over your competition?
How easy is it for them to browse your website?
Is your website mobile-friendly?
Are the product images clear and compelling?
How quickly can they check out?
What is their unboxing experience like?
How easy is it for them to leave reviews?
What sort of incentives do they receive to purchase again?
How (often) do they receive customer support?
4. Go for Omnichannel
Omnichannel businesses provide customers with a seamless integrated shopping experience, whether it’s from a desktop, a mobile device, by phone or in a brick-and-mortar store.
When creating a CX strategy, it’s necessary to keep in mind the omnichannel experiences that most customers will traverse.
Therefore, if you presently operate an eCommerce brand, map out your current customer journeys across all channels (A). Then, map out the desired customer journeys expected to improve conversion rates, reduce acquisition costs, and boost overall revenue (B). Finally, your customer experience strategy should detail how to get from A to B.
5. Focus on the Customer
Don’t assume that you know what is best for your customers. Spend time talking to them and collecting data. Find out what is important to them, why they choose the products that they do, and what matters to them when they shop. Focus on their needs. It’s all about them.
For most of you, a/b testing, user recordings, and VPN solutions are already being implemented to learn about how your customers interact with your web properties and apps. However, in 2019, the main issue impacting the customer journey and reducing online revenue will be malware.
For example, Dollar Shave Club recently discovered that over 10% of their website visitors received malware advertising while on their website, which resulted in fewer subscriptions. Using Namogoo, Dollar Shave Club was able to experience a significant spike in their subscriber conversion rates by, first, spotting that their customers were being hijacked by malicious ad injections, and, second, blocking those injections to improve the customer journey and boost conversion rates.
6. The Ideal Customer
Get to know the people who are frequenting your website. If you are losing customers, find out why. Was the customer ready to buy? Was the customer the right fit? But be sure to also study the profiles of your best customers so you can understand what you are doing right.
Using all the information, come up with a description of your ideal customers, and then create a better customer experience with them in mind.
7. The Ideal Journey
Using your customer data to address areas that should be improved, map out the ideal customer journey. Ultimately, it should be an experience that allows your customers to easily find what they are looking for, quickly purchase it, and then return to buy more.
8. Research Assets, Cost Analysis, and KPIs
What will it take to implement your CX strategy? Make a list of the assets you have and will need to deliver the strategy. Consider what sort of impact the strategy will have on resources, but be sure to show the expected return for these expenditures.
9. Create a Timeline
Customer experience management involves lots of touchpoints and its optimization is a cross-departmental undertaking. Keep in mind that different departments will have different goals, so map out a timeline and prioritize the steps. Is it more important to focus on discovery or retention? Should your eCommerce store first be optimized for mobile or should it concentrate of providing better customer service?
A Customer Experience Strategy is Must Have
Whether you’re in a mature and saturated market or exploring new frontiers, a customer experience strategy is necessary for any eCommerce brand big or small. Consider brands like Dollar Shave Club, Tumi, and Upwork that provide superior customer experiences that have powered their growth and helped them increase their market share.