What Kind of Digital Experience is 'The New Norm' for Ecommerce Success?
Digital experiences are no longer optional when it comes to retail. Whether your brand is operating in the physical or ecommerce space, or both, customers today are more demanding than ever and it's on you to meet those expectations.
A massive 96% of customers state that experience is important in deciding their loyalty to a brand, and companies that lead in CX outperform their competitors by as much as 80%. When it comes to digital, 44% of companies have already taken a digital-first approach to customer experience, with 56% of CEOs saying digital improvements have led to revenue growth.
This has created an environment where several digital technologies are now considered the norm. Brands which have yet to incorporate them into their customer experience strategies are likely to find themselves lagging.
We are spending more and more time using smartphones to augment our day-to-day lives. Nowhere is this more keenly felt than when we interact with our favorite ecommerce brands.
A third of all purchases made during the holiday season were made on mobile phones and 79% of customers have used smartphones to make a purchase over the last six months. These numbers have been climbing steadily over the last few years and show no signs of slowing down.
Customers expect ecommerce brands to have their web platforms optimized for mobile browsing and 57% of people won't recommend a business if its website isn't designed well for mobile use. 53% will abandon a mobile site if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
Therefore, you need to make sure your ecommerce platform is optimized for mobile or risk losing business. You may think you have already achieved this and that your mobile portal is good enough — In fact, 60% of brands are laboring under this belief — but only 22% of customers feel the same.
The popularity and success of room assistant devices such as Alexa are also leading to a rise in voice search. Therefore, ecommerce brands can benefit by making sure their platform is able to receive and process orders using these increasingly ubiquitous devices.
Long gone are the days when personalization meant having the customer's name at the top of each email blast your company sends out. Today's customers expect an even deeper level of personalization from ecommerce brands, and they're making purchasing and loyalty decisions based on it.
Data is at the core of modern personalization. Through personalized content and product recommendations, savvy brands are using it to make each customer feel like they are the only one in the world. With the right data, individual pieces of content can be selected and promoted to customers based on their interests and products can be recommended according to past purchases.
Sophisticated buyer personas can also be created to give you a detailed understanding of various customer types. Everything from a person's favorite websites and social media platforms, to their socioeconomic status, career, family life, gender, sexuality, and political beliefs can be used to determine the best ways to engage with them.
Rather than being a standalone piece of technology, AI underpins everything we've already talked about — especially personalization. This technology can process vast amounts of data in a fraction of the time a human operator can and is able to automate many key processes to deliver the best digital customer experiences.
"Given that the bedrock of contemporary digital transformation is AI, it's clear that embracing this technology is key for any business that is serious about delivering the elevated experiences customers now expect," writes Vala Afshar for ZDNet. "Applying insights based on data is only the starting-point when it comes to engaging today's customers. Delivering hyper-personalized engagement at the right moments across devices and channels is dependent on the powerful processing and analytical capabilities that only AI can provide."
Customers today want a seamless experience across all the channels they use to interact with a brand, whether making a purchase or dealing with customer services, and AI technology is how this can be achieved. Chatbots, for example, are helping customers get answers to simple queries, freeing up customer service representatives to deal with more complex issues.
As you can see, there are several digital technologies that would have been considered innovative just a few years ago. Now, these experiences are considered baseline — a part of customer expectations when they engage with a brand for the first time.
Digital experiences are set to be a hot topic at eTail Europe 2020, taking place in June at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London.
Download the agenda today for more information.
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