Just how important is the customer experience in eCommerce? Just consider this. In a 2018 survey from PwC, 17 percent of respondents indicated they’d walk away from a business after just one bad experience—even with a company they trust.
17 percent. After a single bad experience.
Naturally, customer experience is fundamental to the survival of your business. But customer experience is not the same as customer service. It extends to all aspects of your business, from marketing to order fulfillment. You can offer superior customer service. But if one single element of the customer experience is lacking, you could risk losing 17 percent of your business. And it’s as true for brands as it is for eCommerce merchants.
Customers demand an experience that speaks to them. An experience that reflects them. An experience they can trust and come back to—time and time again.
Your Value Proposition and Your Competitive Advantage
Here’s the unfortunate truth. In 2021, your business is going to be facing an unbelievable amount of competition. No matter how seemingly untapped your niche is, there will always be another brand or merchant who has already established themselves. Maybe it’s a better price point advantage. Maybe it’s an existing reputation. Maybe it’s personalized service. Whatever their advantage is, you can only distinguish yourself from competitors by defining your own unique brand identity. And the foundation of your brand identity is coherence.
How does your product directly address your customer’s needs? What can you provide to your audience that’s vital and fresh? Is your product line based on filling a gap in the market—or simply your own preconceptions? What areas of your competitor’s services can you improve upon?
Your value proposition is based on your brand’s identity. But in eCommerce, there’s still certain standards customers are going to demand.
Navigability is a Necessity
Your storefront is the heart of your business. And no matter how coherent and unique your voice is, your customers won’t hear it if they can’t navigate your storefront.
In a 2020 survey from SaleCycle, almost 85 percent of online customers abandoned their shopping cart without making a purchase. That’s hardly a small number—and they weren’t all just simply casual browsers. Customers demand fast loading pages as much as they demand navigability. And that number is only going to continue to rise as mobile eCommerce continues to soar to unprecedented heights.
Your site should ideally load in under 0.5 seconds.
High resolution images (no more than 1600 x 500 pixels for web or 800 x 1200 for mobile) and non-web optimized images (TIFF, for example) should be avoided.
Compress all images to less than 400kb to avoid pixelation.
Don’t overwhelm each page with unnecessary imagery or text. Aim for clarity and coherence in your site design.
Use Google Analytics to measure both your bounce and click-through rates.
Personalization can be achieved by allowing an option for customers to “build their own” product line or bundle.
Ensure that both the “Pay Now” and “Add to Cart” buttons are prominently displayed at all times.
If possible, offer free shipping as a further incentive for customers to make a purchase.
Content: The Medium or the Message?
Your product is its own selling point, correct?
Not necessarily. In eCommerce, your product is only as strong as the medium through which it's expressed. In physical retail, that medium is relatively diverse. It can range from packaging to the touch, scent or any other number of sensory-engaging features. But in the end, the product is ultimately what matters.
Digital retail isn’t much different except for one critical factor: the medium is one dimensional.
Content can be a product itself. It’s what entices customers to learn more about your product. It can inform as much as it can imply. But above all, it’s what customers will associate with your brand. And it’s for that reason that it needs to be unique, coherent and unmistakable.
It’s often said that 93 percent of our communication is nonverbal. And in a purely visual medium like digital, this may be true. But the mistake many content marketers make is relying solely on imagery to such a degree that the benefits of their product become obscured. Your product should be the underlying message. Your content should be regular and consistent in conveying its strengths and benefits. But above all, it should lend both your product and your brand itself credibility.
Credibility can’t be bought in eCommerce. And it doesn’t happen overnight. There’s no magic formula which can guarantee an increase in traffic and conversions. But credibility generates itself over time. The greater the amount of high quality content you generate, whether it’s through social media, original imagery or your own blog posts, the greater the chance of customers taking notice.
Make certain your content is published regularly and delivered through a consistent scheduling system.
Avoid superfluous and irrelevant imagery and text. The sole job of your content is to convey your product.
Stay up to date with the latest SERP rankings for keywords which are only relevant to your brand.
If you’ve been letting your social media campaign fall behind, shared likes are the most critical form of social value; up to 83 percent of consumers put their trust in recommendations from peers.
Is Customer Experience in eCommerce Fail Proof?
Customer experience is never static. Customer needs change. Trends change. Delivery options change. New models and methodologies in eCommerce develop seemingly overnight. And both brands and products will need to adapt accordingly.
Don’t rely on customer service alone to define your business. And don’t expect the marketplace to remain the same. The physical retail highway is littered with casualties who failed to realize their brand no longer met consumer needs. It’s no different in the digital landscape, either. The one thing you can rely on is that need, not hype, will always drive the customer experience.
Understand your customer’s needs and you’ll understand the needs of your business, as well.
Color More Lines provides white glove, global account management of your eCommerce platforms so mission-driven companies can focus on new product development, branding and growth strategies. Find out more at Color More Lines.