It’s important to be customer-centric. That’s the key to ensuring eCommerce success. It’s about building your experience around what your customers are trying to achieve when they want to buy from you. Here are some ways you can create an eCommerce experience that revolves around your customers:
- Bridge the gap between your online and offline experiences
- Deliver relevant content to your customers
- Offer individual-level personalisation
- Provide a consistent brand experience across all your channels and devices your customers may use
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1. Bridge the gap between your online and offline experiences
The increase in the numbers of consumers preferring to buy goods online isn’t a secret. According to GlobalData, more than half of consumers in the UK are purchasing online and the country’s online spend is forecasted to increase by 29.6% between 2019 and 2024.
However, recent events, such as the COVID-19 crisis, have exacerbated that trend. For example, before the COVID-19 lockdowns, 57% of UK consumers purchased most of their goods online. After the lockdown, this number jumps to 74%.
Based on these trends, it’s clear businesses should be offering an online store. And if you have both an online and brick-and-mortar store, it’s vital to ensure you bridge the gap between the two experiences. When your customers visit your physical store and later click onto your website, they shouldn’t be feeling a disconnect. They should receive the same seamless, high-quality experience online as they do in-store.
And vice versa.
Here are some tips to help you marry your online and offline experiences:
- Ensure your branding is consistent across your online and offline experiences. From the colour scheme and layout to the tone of voice used in your copy, your website should mimic the ‘feel’ of your physical store
- Make sure as many of the services offered in-store are also offered online (and vice versa). For example, have live chat and chatbots on your website so customers can get answers to their queries as quickly as they would be able to in-store from your sales assistants
- Use both your online and offline sites to make the customer experience as frictionless as possible. For example, allow your customers to place orders online and pick them up in-store, reserve items online or send them an eReceipt if they buy goods or services in-store
2. Deliver relevant content to your customers
Create a better experience-driven approach by only giving your customers content that they might be interested in. Linked to personalisation (which we’ll get onto in the next section), share content that caters to your individual customers’ interests rather than sending lots of generic material that your customers may or may not find useful.
This boils down to how well you know your customers and their preferences. From their purchase history to how they engage with different parts of your website, you can use this knowledge to send tailored marketing emails.
For example, say you’re a fashion retailer and you find that a customer prefers tops and dresses with a sweetheart neckline. Use that information to send this customer links to blogs and styling videos giving tips on how to style clothing with sweetheart necklines.
Here’s another example: you’re a DIY and home improvement retailer and a particular model of lawn mowers has been popular with a certain customer demographic. Why not send these customers content on how best to use and look after the mower?
You can even boost sales from returning customers by sending exclusive promotional codes or vouchers for money off a matching item - such as a strimmer.
It’s about knowing what it is that your customers are interested in and serving up relevant information around that.
3. Offer individual-level personalisation
So, we touched on this concept in the previous section and again, it’s about truly knowing your customers. Know them better than they know themselves and you can continuously exceed expectations.
Here are some examples of personalisation:
- Product recommendations based on previous search or purchase histories
- ‘Complete the set’ suggestions - where your customers can buy items to complement their original item
- Personalised promo codes or vouchers
- Intelligent search - based on past purchases, searches or items viewed, your customers can receive a customised set of search results
4. Provide a consistent brand experience across all your channels and devices your customers may use
Similar to bridging the gap between your online and offline stores, you must ensure your customers get the same experience from all your channels.
It’s not just about making sure your customers get the same experience as they do from your online store as they do in your brick-and-mortar. It’s also about making sure your social media accounts and customer service centres exude the same experience.
Here are some areas to consider:
- Is your brand’s voice consistent? You should be communicating with your customers using the same tone of voice across all your channels rather than formal in some areas and extremely chatty in others. That means your customer service reps, social media team, instore sales assistants, marketing materials and so on all need to sound the same
- Is your brand’s image consistent? Like your brand voice, you need to ensure all your channels unite under one banner. That means the same style of imagery and colours need to be used
- Is the same brand messaging being shared? The messaging you’ve got on your website need to be the same in your store(s) and social media accounts. This may be a case of ensuring all your teams are kept up-to-date with any changes
Then there’s also the devices your customers might be using. Not everyone uses the same model and make of phone, for example. Some people might even do most of their product research and purchases via mobile. They might prefer desktop or tablet.
For this one, it’s about ensuring your online channels and all the assets on them are compatible with the most used devices. You don’t want your customers to miss out because of the devices they choose to use (especially if the content is what could convince them to make a purchase).
We talk about eCommerce success in even more depth in our full-length video...
The video above is just one topic of six that we discuss with Episerver. We also talk about how you can maximise the ROI of your eCommerce strategy, how to get your team's buy-in and ensure consistent brand messaging.
These are all tactics geared to help you increase your eCommerce sales. Click the button below to watch the full length discussion.