Before the pandemic, ecommerce was important to some of us, an extra channel to support retail stores to many of us, and an ever-growing necessity to all of us.
Now everything has changed.
If the first lockdowns of 2020 got us thinking about growing our ecommerce channels, then the second and third waves of Covid-19 in 2021 have all businesses rethinking the importance of digital and the abundant opportunities of ecommerce.
Forrester research predicts that digital customer service interactions will increase by a whopping 40%.
This increased reliance on online shopping, digital finance services and even health consultancy being delivered virtually isn’t going away.
Sure, we’ll flock to the malls and stores when we get the chance but as consumers, we’ve also realised that we don’t have to travel halfway across a city to have a bargain or an essential purchase land at our door.
We’re becoming more aware that the clothing or electronics or homeware item we need can we hunted out online, often with more choice, better pricing, and amazingly speedy deliver from around the world, let alone from across town.
Competitive websites and particularly ecommerce websites can’t endure a cold face of function and form – to maintain their market position, or push beyond, they need to evolve and interact with users – here are four insights to help improve in this new reality of ecommerce prominence and the customer experience.
Your business needs to be always on – because your customers are.
No matter the time of day or night, no matter how busy you are or under resourced you are, your customers are always on.
So, your ecommerce site or online business needs to be always ready to engage and provide the right information for your customers.
Of course, the digital environment lends itself to provide the right technology to provide the support and answers your customer’s demand.
Searchable and categorised knowledge bases and wikis provide information and assurances to customers literally instantaneously. They can be updated and added to quickly and are inexpensive to install even for the most modest of ecommerce stores.
Live chat can also provide customers instant access to answers. And when not manned by real people, bots step in to provide timely information to the most regular questions.
Pop ups and artificial intelligence can provide answers to customers exploring special product features or pricing pages.
Browse abandonment and cart abandonment automated workflows can re-engage with us long after we would have left the physical stores carpark.
Start small and put ideas to the test
Digital allows us to experiment at a relatively low cost.
We can identify a single pain point within our shoppers’ funnel and address that with conversational intelligence or a reworked workflow.
If results show promise, we update and test some more.
We can then introduce the change and scale at will – keeping an improved customer experience at the centre of our objectives.
Map and improve the Customer Journey
The customer journey consists of four key parts. These are:
By exploring the CX at each one of these stages, you can improve the overall customer experience with you. This begins with helping them find you.
Map and evaluate the customer journey to determine where customer needs might not coordinate with what you have to offer. Then you can plan for an even better experience by making the sales journey as smooth as possible.
Becoming empathetic and real
In the past, we’ve felt we’re more in control of the customer experience, when that experience was face to face, or at least person to person.
With a mechanical ecommerce relationship that empathy with customers is often lost.
But data from all touchpoints can provide extraordinary insights into the customers’ requirements and feeling.
We just need to spend the time to understand what the data is telling us.
High bounce rates on certain product pages might indicate that we haven’t clearly delivered the benefits of that product over another.
Abandonment during checkout might indicate that our shipping costs are too high.
Not receiving a message to confirm delivery might leave customers anxious that the parcel has gone astray.
Sending a thank you note in the mail is likely to leave a customer highly impressed and they are bound to pass the positive experience on to friends.
Despite the digital process of ecommerce transactions and touch points, or because of them, many online businesses can dramatically improve the customer experience.
Indeed, improving CX is the ultimate objective of our online marketing activity.
If we outgun our competitors with Customer Experience there’s an absolute probability our brand will flourish.
Data analysis, conversion optimisation, marketing automation, artificial intelligence and more, have big parts to play in ensuring we improve and tune the customers’ experience. Just think to when you were most delighted from an online experience – can you emulate that in your business and the way you deliver ecommerce or any sort of website engagement and transaction.