Contributed by Zachary Painter from Siege Media.
The ecommerce industry is one dominated by rapidly changing consumer tastes and digital trends. If you’re an ecommerce business owner, or plan on opening your own online store at any point, then you’re probably aware of how crucial it is to stay up to date with these changes. While that may sound easy from the outset, online shoppers are savvier than they used to be and have high standards for the shops they choose to purchase from online.
So how can you keep your site ahead of the curve? Perhaps the best way is to constantly look for ways to adapt your site to better appeal to your customers’ interests, behaviors and expectations. For example, the average ecommerce site can increase conversions by as much as 35.26% just by improving its checkout design. This doesn’t mean that your checkout flow is badly designed, but it does mean that a lot of sites have a bad user experience that costs them revenue at the end of the day.
That being said, it wouldn’t hurt to look at your checkout process again (right?). One proven method to catching bad UX on your site is to A/B test certain pages and campaigns. This will allow you to see what works and what doesn’t. Another way is to simply read up on ecommerce trends; you’ll find that mobile is growing more important by the day, and that sites that don’t cater to mobile customers lose their interest in a matter of seconds.
Other areas of opportunity are omnichannel shopping, social media campaigns, general SEO, and even voice search. It can get overwhelming, but it’s well worth your time and effort if it means retaining users and improving conversions. To make the process a little less daunting, Wikibuy has compiled a list of crucial ecommerce stats for 2019. Check them out in the infographic below.
According to a 2017 survey done by Marketo, 47% of B2C and 65% of B2B customers responded that businesses could do a better job of aligning their engagement efforts with the customer’s preferences. Despite this, out of the marketers that were interviewed for the survey, 82% of them believe that they were aligning their engagement efforts with customer preferences. This shines some interesting light on what marketers think they are doing versus what the customer perceives.
So how can this gap be closed to put the marketers’ perception more in-line with the customer experience? Here are a few tips:
Know the Audience
This could not be enforced enough. Know the audience well, including their buying habits, lifestyles, challenges, communication channels, and personal tendencies. Their preferred methods of communication should be used whenever reaching out to them, as well as the right content format and tone (articles, videos, infographics, emojis, etc.). The reason that the customer is being contacted should be relevant to their interest, otherwise it could be seen as spam.
Make the Brand Relatable
A brand with a personality is more memorable than one without. If people are able to connect with a brand on an emotional level, they are more likely to feel passionate about the brand and even become great ambassadors. Close attention should be paid by business owners to create a brand that resonates with their audience. Doing this can be more difficult with B2B than with B2C, but it still can be accomplished through careful considerations for the scope of your products and services, and with carefully crafted marketing content.
A company shouldn’t wait for its customers to come to them with questions. The company should actively be asking questions and trying to engage with their customers. If a customer makes a big purchase, a follow-up should be done to make sure that everything met their expectations and to find any opportunities for improvement. Also, incorporate AI technology such as automated chatbots to facilitate social media campaigns. This enables businesses to engage with audiences after the campaign and to create a personalized experience.
Speaking of Social Media…
With the invention of social media, it easier than ever for customers to connect with businesses and to leave feedback. Because of the accessibility of social media and the amount of customer engagement which happens there, it can be tempting for a company to rely on social media as its only form of customer interaction. Yet, only 52% of B2C and 51% of B2B customers rate social media as a highly effective tool for engaging according to the customer feedback survey that was referenced earlier. While having a customer engagement strategy that focuses primarily on social media will work for some businesses, it’s not one that should be used by every business. Since only over half of all customers find it as an effective way to engage with customers, it’s wise for business to include other methods of engaging customers in the mix. This brings us to...
Ask for Feedback!
The importance of feedback from the customer cannot be understated and should be given serious consideration when trying to figure out where the company can improve. With a big enough sample, trends will start to emerge, and company can start to create a picture of how it is performing in the eyes of its customers versus how the company believes itself to be doing.
When designing surveys, be sure to include identification questions (age, gender, education level, contact, etc.), satisfaction-related questions (on a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with…), retention-related questions, and open-ended questions.
Capturing the identities of the respondents enables effective statistical testing during survey analysis. Also, while yes or no and rate on a scale questions saves time and provide a lot of insight, it’s important to ask open-ended questions to give respondents the opportunity to leave a more personalized feedback. Customers often bring up issues that no one at a company had thought to address.
Obtaining feedback is an ongoing process and customers must be asked regularly how a company is doing. Feedback should not only be obtained for the service or product, but also for the engagement efforts also. lastly, don’t forget to update your audiences on any changes that were made to incorporate the customer feedback. Doing so will make customers feel like a company cares about their needs and is making an effort to improve in any way that the company is able. This encourages further customer engagements.
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