Retail, Customer Experience

How to raise the bar for e-commerce customer experience?

2018 will be an important year for e-commerce companies, with customer experience (CX) being among the top priorities for e-commerce brands across the world.

 shutterstock_728371072

E-commerce experts acknowledge that revenue growth is directly proportional to CX. E-commerce players that are looking to expedite sales and generate new revenue streams are gearing their efforts and investments towards creating a larger and more sophisticated ecosystem focused on offering increased convenience as well as improved product lines and availability for customers.

E-commerce doesn’t stop at customer acquisition. As brands pursue increasingly innovative pathways, a fierce competition has emerged amongst retailers seeking not just to acquire customers but to retain them. Organizations are building new business models in e-commerce to outclass the price war and competition.

Besides providing an omni-channel experience, e-commerce companies are also pushing them to embrace new technologies such as chatbots, voice assistants, drone deliveries, and more. Flirtey, a drone delivery company, brings its high-flying food and retail service to customers and companies using its unmanned aerial vehicles.

Social and mobile are irreplaceable levers in e-commerce and are embedded into the core of business processes and supply chain. Furthermore, predictive analytics enables e-commerce businesses optimize their marketing road map to: 

  • Understand and influence customer behavior (preferences for product, place and channel)
  • Predict purchase and attrition
  • Build a common data foundation
  • Ensure superior data quality
  • Increase transactional value
  • Suggest next best customer interaction
  • Promote targeted advertising
  • Develop reliable sales
  • Detect probable frauds

E-commerce giant Amazon leverages predictive analytics for creating bundles (upselling) and providing suggested purchases (cross-selling). Netflix uses predictive and analytical model to produce additional movies, TV shows and genre recommendations.

Different customers interact with e-commerce brands in different ways that they find convenient. Vendors are building statistical modelling that help e-commerce players understand customer behavior and create differentiated offerings, which can be further refined as business goals evolve. For example, Canopy Labs offers a recommendation engine that identifies the right products to offer at the right time using predictive analytics. This is also offered on the Shopify platform. 

With the push for a larger digital economy, most brands in the world have leapfrogged by integrating revenue channel into smartphone-based payments, a light-payment mode that does not involve physical handling of the plastic cards and is relatively safer. The digital or e-wallets industry is innovating quickly in the e-commerce space. From digitization and handholding to enticing customers with cashback offers and discounts, these players have transformed a cash-based economy to a digital economy. These e-wallets have brought a breath of fresh air with easy onboarding and seamless transactions.

E-commerce brands are also spending big money on advertising campaigns to drive more qualified traffic and actual sales from social media websites such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. These sites have powerful targeting capabilities built into their advertising tools.

Another critical aspect of customer experience in the e-commerce space is the secure electronic transaction (SET) and privacy issues. Providing a secure shopping platform to customers is one of the key responsibilities of e-commerce companies. Many preferred e-commerce brands today offer high-end security and strong privacy control system. Vendors in the market today offer multi-factor mobile biometric authentication and robust behavioural security capabilities to prevent fraud in digital payments, e-commerce and vital applications.

Unlock your 30min Complimentary Consulting Session

E-commerce brands need to push the envelope

To offer a cohesive customer experience at every touch point, many e-commerce players are leaving no stones unturned. Omni-channel customer experience transcends across varied channels to deliver what customers want, when they want.

 RR

 

For example, Starbucks offers a stellar example of omni-channel strategy done right. Providing a seamless user experience across all channels, the coffee company provides customers the opportunity to check and reload their Starbucks card balance through the Starbucks rewards app on their smartphones, the Starbucks website, or inside the outlet. Any profile or balance edits can be done in real time, across all channels. Even the earned reward points/ left over balance after payment is automatically updated in the user’s account, without any action needed on the part of the user.

As estimated by eMarketer, AI is enabling sales in the eCommerce industry by 7.3%. It’s a great solution to understand customers and push only the content that matters to activate dormant users, bring old customers back, and increase conversion rates. A good example of this was the US-based online retail store Blacks that used data and analytics as well as predictive forecasting to build a final page for what customers actually buy. The brand witnessed a 277% increase in sales after this one tweak.

For example, Starbucks offers a stellar example of omni-channel strategy done right. Providing a seamless user experience across all channels, the coffee company provides customers the opportunity to check and reload their Starbucks card balance through the Starbucks rewards app on their smartphones, the Starbucks website, or inside the outlet. Any profile or balance edits can be done in real time, across all channels. Even the earned reward points/ left over balance after payment is automatically updated in the user’s account, without any action needed on the part of the user.

Finally, let’s talk about an e-commerce brand that’s synonymous with customer experience par excellence. One of the keys to Amazon’s massive success is the unique customer experience it offers. Over 50% of its consumers skip search engines and land directly on the brand’s website to shop. Amazon provides a highly personalized shopping experience that prompts the customer’s next move by virtue of its strong algorithm and predictive analytics. The brand uses behavioral targeting to automatically manage and deliver personalized one-to-one dialogue with the recipients. Also, its mobile site, app, one-click checkout, predictive search engine, and fast delivery are all designed to deliver a relevant and delightful customer experience and give Amazon a sharp competitive edge.

With Alexa, Prime, Echo and its ever-expanding Web Services business, Amazon is steadily moving towards its goal of becoming the earth’s most customer-centric company. The smarter Alexa becomes at understanding the behavioral and preference patterns of its customers, the better it is at delivering a seamless customer experience, which ultimately would make the brand more indispensable in customers’ lives. No wonder Amazon has been recently ranked number one in overall customer experience according to ForeSee's new Retail CX Rankings. It is undoubtedly one of the most relevant brands across the world.

As of 2018, Amazon is investing in reimagining retail delivery to take the customer experience several notches higher. The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon has signed contracts with building owners and managers representing over 850,000 apartments in the U.S. to install Amazon lockers, replacing the mailboxes. The brand is also all set for allowing drivers to deliver packages safely inside a customer’s home -- or a safe area on the property such as a shed, garage or even a car.

Amp up the Digital Customer Experience in E-commerce

There are many ways to creatively improve e-commerce customer experience that will multiply customer loyalty as well as your profits.

Improve product search on the e-commerce website

If you place the products on your online store strategically and integrate autocomplete feature, your online visitors can easily find the products, even without having to remember the specific product name. This enhances customer experience significantly.

Simplify the checkout process

Online shoppers appreciate uncomplicated online transactions such as:

  • Shopping carts that are clearly and easily accessible on every page
  • Prices and fees that are included in the shopping cart
  • Money-saving special offers included in the shopping card
  • Visible inventory levels
  • Recommended products
  • Multiple payment options
  • Pre-filled shipping information

Enhance customer service

Incorporate self-service customer support to offer convenience to customers and reduce your support team’s workload. Ensure that all your contact information (email, telephone numbers, etc.) are listed on every page of your e-commerce website.

Customized experience

For different types of customers visiting your e-commerce store, it’s imperative for you to include a clear call to action that redirects shoppers to the relevant page. Include a personalized touch to every website page.

Include customer reviews

Customer reviews greatly influence the customers’ decision to buy the products. Potential customers pay attention to the performance and quality of the items. Such reviews make their decision making easier and more convenient.

Educate, educate, educate

Build trust with your customers despite their short attention spans by treating them with high-quality visual content that can motivate them to shop on your store. Include interesting captions and enticing product images.

Conclusion

According to Bain, 80% of companies say they deliver superior customer service, but only 8% of people think these companies deliver it. This profound gap is caused by ever-rising customer expectations, powered by digital explosion, customer empowerment and the innovation high tide.

With customer loyalty experiencing a downward spiral, e-commerce businesses need to invest more in retention than acquisition by delivering a delightful customer experience. According to a Walker research report, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020. Investing in customer experience is a smart move in 2018, and the years ahead. After all, happy and loyal customers always contribute to the revenue pool.

 

Vivian Gomes

VP Marketing and Inside Sales, CSS Corp

About CSS Corp Blog

About

The CSS Corp blog brings you insights from the world of technology and disruptions that are shaping the digital age. Subscribe now to learn the art of delivering exquisite customer eXperience for today's digital economy

Categories

see all