Some people have favorite stores, and some people don’t. Regardless of the individual preference, there are some aspects that are universally preferred by everyone, and the demographic that does not have that preference is considered a very minute niche.
Of course, the conversation here is about anybody’s preference of having their shopping experience being welcoming and friendly. You don’t want to be dragged around through hoops trying to buy one single item, having to go through unnecessary processes just to get your groceries in order.
At the same time, you want the maximum number of varieties you can find, with the minimum amount of hassle.
Buying Offline is Not the Same as the E-Commerce Experience
Whatever the case may be, once you buy something, you want to leave the store happier than when you came in, satisfied that you got what you wanted, or better. No marketer or brand wants to let a customer go on a negative note.
Of course, that is the offline experience in brick-and-mortar stores.
What can be done in digital retail that creates an environment and experience that replicates or even enhances the offline experience?
The Ideal Customer E-Commerce Experience
The customer experience encapsulates what processes the customer goes through from the first time they interact with a brand right to the very end, which could be once they buy the product, or years later when they have bought the product multiple times and just happen to stop needing it. Of course, this is just one among several possible scenarios, but it is a way to describe the customer experience, noting that it is an ongoing process rather than a singular one.
Still, the e-commerce experience is a major part of the customer experience as a whole. The brand has to be with the customer every step of the buyer journey, but when it comes to e-commerce, buyer journeys can sometimes even start and end right here. Even if a customer buys once, e-commerce platforms are always looking for ways to bring and retain customers on a daily basis.
There is where it matters to know the ideal customer experience so you can enhance it through making the points of contact the best experience for your customer.
Keep Things Simple for the Ideal E-Commerce Experience
No matter the customer, the ease and convenience of buying online is not always a given. Sure, you don’t have to make a visit for a purchase, and you have an expanded store roster due to being able to buy from overseas, but that still means that simplicity is key.
A customer won’t consider online shopping on convenience alone. The ease of online shopping means a customer is more likely to be a returning or ongoing customer as well, so minimizing the number of steps from engagement to purchase is paramount when looking to create the ideal e-commerce experience.
Ensure Your Customers Remember Something About You
Keeping customers is an ideal situation. It ensures that there are brand advocates that can bring organic traffic. Moreover, research has shown that even a retention rate of just five percent of customers ensures that earnings increase by about twenty or so percent. That number alone should prompt brands to spring for customer retention above all, but it is not as easy.
However, one of the key ways to make an effective e-commerce experience happen is to ensure that customers enjoy the shopping experience, and get to know something about your business that others might not have. Organizations that fully understand what it means to retain a customer advocate for retention by improving the overall e-commerce experience. The focus here is to delight the customers so they want to come back to that online store again.
One way to do that is to reward the customer, or put in an incentive program that ensures a customer develops more value for themselves the more they stay and make purchases. Even some personal touches, such as handwritten thank you cards, can do wonders to delight the customer. Of course, this is not possible for larger firms, but customer experience and support are when the small business can shine.
Delight Your Customers Through Surprise Deals or Offers
Online buyers don’t have the benefit of an in-store delight. They cannot see how well everything is set up, and brands have to rely on menus and buttons to serve as substitutes for the store clerk. This already puts an effective e-commerce experience at a disadvantage.
However, this can still be alleviated. The buyer’s journey is still a journey, and there are other ways to delight a customer. The first one is the aforementioned thank you notes and tokens of appreciation, as well as loyalty programs that allow customers to stay, and benefit from it. The other delights are perks, especially if offered sporadically.
Free shipping, mentioned or set only in the checkout process, can make a customer feel much better than seeing it plastered on every menu. Delight is created with surprise, so if you mentioned Free Shipping everywhere, you lose that positive effect.
Sometimes, customers might select items on the cart, and then forget to ever make the purchase. Of course, that depends with the type of item being bought, but it is still an important consideration. Maybe add a free gift to the purchase, or a complimentary T-shirt. Maybe you do this in the parcel rather than mentioning it anywhere for some long-term surprise delight. Loyal customers especially love being considered for these kinds of offers and incentives, because they have invested time and money into your store.
Create an Online Community
Communities are most often formed by brand adopters that prefer your ecosystem of products above the competition, whether it is for the brand prestige or a particular Unique Value Proposition. After all, a community cements your place as a viable brand with a hardcore fanbase. Members of that community almost automatically become an advocate of your brand, simply by purchasing and interacting with it.
Social media channels and internet forums are where communities are made, and where they thrive. Communities start off in these places, but permeate through and through, from the product page to every social media post.
Running social media campaigns also allows the community to promote your e-commerce platform, and you can use it to bring more customers, who will go through your e-commerce experience, perhaps even becoming fans of your products themselves. Could be that your brand cannot hire a social media manager, but that does not mean you cannot consider social media marketing or community management.
Start off small, with only posts about your products, upcoming sales, the store, and more. Add news into the mix. Maybe hold events, or specific sale days. Look at the comments, and listen to what is said. Engage with the customers, be it positive or negative, and learn from every review and interaction.
Let Your Content Strategy Do the Talking
Content marketing is delivered via the content strategy. It is designed to help the customers that go through your e-commerce experience solve their problems.
Have a specific product the customer could use more information about? Create a blog post and direct users from that product page to the blog. Provide tips on how to use it, information on it, and more. List all the benefits in an easy-to-read format through infographics and content that gives stylized advice.
This helps deliver valuable content to your customers, generate organic internal traffic on your own website, and keeps the customer within your ecosystem. That way, your customer knows they don’t need to Google anything about a particular product, because informative blogs already exist pertaining to it. This is the ideal e-commerce experience that most brands can only dream of.
Deliver That Personal Touch
Personalized experience is when each individual customer feels like they are being specifically catered to. A Unique Value Proposition separates the brand from the rest, but a personal touch separates one customer from another. Of course, since each customer is different, there have to be some level of automated systems that consider variations.
Interest-based recommendations are one such example. Make sure your customers know to accept cookies to allow personalization and interest-based ads. Even more important is that they don’t hamper your e-commerce experience.
Competition is the name of the game. Every brand wants to be different, and the world has become accustomed to an online, e-commerce shopping experience. However, creating one that is effective and valuable for the customer requires certain considerations, and here at LogoCorps, we have cleared those up for you! However, if you still have some questions in mind related to any of the points mentioned in the blog. Feel free to share it in the comments section.