Experience the Customer Journey in an E-Commerce World

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The shopping season is around the corner and brands are working towards their holiday readiness. This means more offers and discounts on products, more user engagement content, and probably more unnecessary ads for the customers. When everyone has something exciting to offer, what really makes you stand out?

Is it the number of ad campaigns you run or how relevant your content is?

With the increased competition in e-commerce, how can you build customer trust and loyalty?

To understand the customer experience, you can’t approach it from a corporate perspective, but from their own perspective as they move through the different stages of the customer journey:

Discovery/Searching
According to a segment survey, 49 percent of shoppers made impulse buys after receiving a personalized recommendation, with 44 percent claiming to become repeat buyers after personalized experiences.

Let’s say I’m an amateur photographer and am always looking for deals on camera accessories. Of course, you (the camera accessory brand) know about my behavior because I spend enough time on your e-commerce website every week looking for lenses, filters, tripods and beyond. Naturally, the probability of me clicking on an ad for a deal on camera accessories is high compared to an ad about dinner sets for four.

In the last seven days, if I purchased a camping tent and now you have an offer on a sleeping bag, there is a high chance that I want to know about it. In the first case, my constant interest in cameras makes the communication relevant and in the second case, the timing is relevant – both factors are imperative when targeting consumers with ads online.

Capturing Interest
A recent Kayako study shows that 52% of consumers are more likely to repurchase from a company that offers live chat support.

With relevant messaging, you piqued a customer’s interest and brought them back to your e-commerce site. If you’re a specialty store in particular, you can assist your customers in their buying process by allowing one of your experts to talk to them on the channel of their preference – whether it’s a text chat or even voice/video calls.

This year has been pivotal for online businesses – recent data from Bank of America and the U.S. Dept. of Commerce shows that e-commerce penetration in the U.S. saw 10 years of growth in just 3 months at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the e-commerce shift may stick around, many of these new online customers miss their in-store human consultation. A live agent guiding and helping them make the right choice increases consumer trust and loyalty towards the brand.

Closing the Purchase
Now that the customer has had their live consultation and is happy with the interaction, they have made up their mind about buying the camera lens and have added it to their cart. From here, there are 2 ways for them to move forward – either they will complete their purchase or abandon their cart. Per Statista, in March 2020, an average of 88.05% of online carts were abandoned – most often due to high price. By communicating with customers about good offers on expensive products, especially those that decided against a purchase previously, you can bring them back to complete the purchase. Fortunately, in this case, the customer completed the purchase and received a confirmation email.

Delivery
According to a UPS fact sheet (2019), the delivery service had 294.9 million tracking requests every working day, which is around 13.4 times per shipment. With increased and targeted communication, a customer shouldn’t need to keep visiting your website/app to check the status of the delivery, nor should they have to call an agent and stay on hold for hours on end. As a company, you should send them timely updates on the status of their delivery, keeping their anxieties at bay before they even begin. Proactive updates on orders is an easy way to keep customers informed and at ease, so, on the rare occasion when a delivery is late, your customers’ worries are addressed right off the bat.

Support
One of the most critical functions of any business is its customer support infrastructure. Customers need assistance whenever something in the purchase process did not go as planned – late delivery, defective items, billing issues and beyond. A great support team can win back the trust of the customer, but how do you stand out when everyone is claiming to have excellent support?

Even the smallest of issues can frustrate a customer, especially when they need a quick response from the company to resolve the problem. In these cases, email and phone support might not always be the best channel, especially in a B2C business such as retail e-commerce. Quicker responses are much more achievable over digital channels such as SMS, WhatsApp, live chat and in-app chat. In addition to swift response times for consumers, digital channels also increase the query handling capacity of support agents. One agent can only handle one phone call actively at a time, whereas they can handle multiple digital text interactions at once.

Having said that, customer demographics and preferences are more varied than ever before. If a customer’s lens is defective, they may be more comfortable talking to an agent over SMS or in-app chat, but someone else may prefer WhatsApp or even a phone call.

In today’s online shopping environment, it’s essential to be personal and thoughtful when engaging with customers; interacting based on past purchasing behavior and according to each customer’s channel preference can add tremendous value to the customer journey. When discussing true omnichannel communications, we need to remember that every single interaction between customer and e-commerce company – no matter the significance – is interconnected, and nothing should be kept siloed. Anything from the ping of a notification to a helpful chat with an expert can enrich a customer’s experience, making your business more appealing and engaging in the long run.

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