To improve the customer shopping experience, it’s helpful to reflect a bit on our digital past. Before the internet was ubiquitous, we used to talk about online space as “cyberspace,” a world unique to itself. Even though Covid-19 has reshaped our shopping habits, it's important to remember that the retail customer experience (CX) is a world created by trial and error and continuously perfected.
Today, the digital and traditional retail shopping realm seem to have blended into one, but for a high-quality and seamless retail customer experience, you and your team must understand a customer’s online experience as a unique immersive experience in its own right.
Experts in online customer experience still talk about online retailing as a journey. Smart collaborations between managers and designers recognize key elements of a customer’s journey as a mappable experience that starts with a peruse and ends with a purchase.
This article first discusses what makes for a good customer’s experience and it benefits. Then we discuss five key points that help you deconstruct your customer’s CX journey and the importance of post-sale conversations and customer awards.
A retail customer experience strategy is the set of methodologies that make your retail experience unique across all consumer touchpoints. A customer experience strategy can include anything from the way that you greet customers to how your store’s design helps customers navigate.
In many ways, a customer experience strategy involves listening to your customers and their needs. While your brand and style are important and constitute your customer’s understanding of who they are in relation to you, your job as a retailer is to listen and define how your services can better help customers utilize your products.
Customer experience (CX) is different from customer satisfaction (CS). A satisfied customer likely has had a good experience, but only if a retailer has a solid experience strategy in place. Whether your online store is selling pens or servicing watches, always remember that you’re serving a brand experience that starts with a sale and ends with an established relationship.
While there are many benefits of an improved CX Strategy, the biggest is of course financial. Reducing friction between customer and retailer in order to improve service pays off for your pocketbook both in the short and long run.
In the short-term, attention to CX ensures that all the potential blockages between your customer and their potential purchases are removed. In the mid-term, attention to CX builds a relationship of trust and confidence between customer and retailer, making it more likely that the customer is retained and will return to your store again and again.
In the long-term, satisfied and loyal customers become one of your best assets in generating word-of-mouth growth to your customer base — thereby growing your business. A CX strategy keeps you close to your customers. Studies show that it costs far less to retain customers than it does to keep new ones attracted. Those loyal customers will help you increase your customer base.
By making seamless the encounters between customers and your platform can lead to other surprising savings. In addition to diminished marketing costs, there are also reduced costs associated with operational errors and mistakes. A good CS strategy helps your team avoid the emotional and financial costs of dealing with upset and unhappy customers. It also can improve employee experience by providing a framework for positive employee/customer relationships. Happy employees translate to staff retention —— and improved customer service!
To develop a successful CX strategy and reap the benefits of a solid customer experience, it’s crucial for online retailers to understand a customer’s journey. A simple way to do this is by putting yourself in your customers’ shoes and taking a ride on your retail platform. While taking this journey, make sure to consider both the back and front-end improvements that a customer won’t be able to access.
Customers are not able to consider who is answering their inquiries, who is filling their orders, who is unloading your wholesale shipments. It’s important to keep in mind that customers aren’t always thinking about your website’s architecture the way you may be. Essentially, they’re considering how to achieve their own needs and the extent to which those needs can be fulfilled.
All these factors ultimately relate to your retail store’s CX. In developing a successful strategy, you’ll want to ensure your consistently meeting customer expectations — and in some cases, going above and beyond them. Here are five key points to consider when working with your team to build a successful customer experience strategy.
A customer’s journey begins from the second they enter your store. And this may or may not be a landing page. To design around this means to recognize the nature of online shopping today. The fact is if you can’t fully determine where customers are along their customer journey, you are missing out on key touchpoint opportunities.
Begin by mapping a variety of potential customer journeys, highlighting critical touchpoints throughout that may be related to design, copy, development, or general product experience. Anything from a button color to a piece of text can impede on your online customer’s shopping experience, potentially leading to a lost sale. Before you can fix any of these problems though, it’s critical to know where customers are landing and navigating your store’s interface.
To improve your customer experience, ensure your online retail store adheres to the following key strategies:
A website is said to have an intuitive architecture if its pathways and funnelss make sense at first glance to an average consumer. A website with intuitive architecture seems to logically show the customer how to navigate it, using design and copy as visual queues. This is achieved in the front-end with solid design and on the back-end with solid programming. This includes an easily accessible menu, search box, and index of your products and services.
An element of an intuitive architecture is that your website has a clear path forward. Like a good film that always keeps the plot moving, you’ll want to ensure customers always have access to the tools they need to take their next steps forward in your sales funnel. Ensure your online store has clearly defined Calls to Action (CTA). Clear calls to action help customers navigate where to go and establish clear purchasing pathways for potential customers.
If a customer has arrived on your website looking for something, you want to make sure they can find it. Even if you have intuitive architecture, customers might want to cut right to the chase and find something very specific. Having an easy-to-find and easy-to-use search feature can help customers quickly and easily find the item they need.
Your business may be associated with a recognizable name or logo, but your brand is far more than that. A good brand is a brand that a customer can trust and rely upon to help them fulfill their needs. All aspects of your website as well as all elements of your CX experience should work to build that trust within the customer relationship. This is a must so that customers can believe you when you tell them who you are and what you can do for them.
An online retail platform should not only ensure that purchase will arrive and on time, a retailer should also help the customer somehow feel good about who they made their purchase from. At every point of contact between your online store and your customer, your brand story and values need to be reinforced.
Here are some examples of ways to promote trust and demonstrate your brand’s values:
Whether your story is about a small mom-and-pop shop or a large corporation, your website is a chance to show the world who you are and what your brand believes in. This is achieved through storytelling. Whether it’s through design or copy, putting your brand’s story front and center can help familiarize your customers with what your brand stands for and why you’re doing what you’re doing. Often, if it resonates, you’ll get customers who are more loyal and engaged with your brand’s offerings.
What people say about your product matters. Like we said above, word-of-mouth recommendations are invaluable, and so are customer reviews. Even social media posts can be a positive testimonial to a customer’s experience. By showing everyday people’s recommendations and reviews of your products and services, you’re saving them time on discovery and research while providing them with valuable information which can help inform their decision.
Always give space for customers to contact you about problems or compliments… and respond! If you have questions about your products, services, service or brand, ask your customers. They are the ones whose opinions matter. The real world is not divorced from the digital world — make sure you follow through with your services, and that your actions in the real world are congruent with the values you express in the digital marketplace.
Besides making sure that you have an intuitive architecture, good design and services that build trust and demonstrate your values, you need to make sure that your website functions. And you need to make sure that your website is usable across platforms and in multiple purchasing scenarios. Your website’s user experience (UX) matters. If your site does not load quickly and properly, or if it does not load in the places and ways that customers need, you’ll start losing customers very quickly. Not only will you miss out on conversion opportunities, but also leave potential customers with a negative experience of your brand — and oftentimes there’s no second chances.
Whether you are programming in adaptive design so that your website opens one way for a mobile device and another way for a desktop, or whether you are just making one responsive web page that works on any kind of computer, be sure to consider the situations, settings and platforms your customers will access your website. Make sure you consider these differences, and program and design appropriately.
One way to ensure usability is to seek customer feedback. Another way is to conduct user testing for your website in a variety of settings and with a variety of platforms and browsers. Make sure to include a variety of different kinds of users, including ones with disabilities which may have a more difficult time accessing your online store. Good designers will know how to listen to customers' issues and work to solve the problems you uncover.
If your image sizes are too large or videos are too heavy, your website will load slowly. This will be frustrating and you will lose customers.
In a recent study on customer experience, the international accounting firm Deloitte and Touche found that customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than their counterparts— and it’s pretty obvious why. Without the essential element of customer feedback, designers and marketers are primarily working in the dark. This means they’ll only be able to make educated guesses on what’s working or not based on their personal intuition. That’s why listening to customer feedback is crucial to attracting and retaining customers. Not only does it save time, but also money, which may have been wasted on improving something that isn’t even a problem. Become customer-centric in your approach to CX by listening to customers —— and responding accordingly.
Having clear pathways for communication with customers makes your users feel heard and valued, even more so when you involve them by asking them directly for their opinions and ideas. Having clear pathways within your company so that your organization can listen and respond to concerns will ensure that your customers know that they are being listened to. Once you have responded, make sure your customer knows it, and if appropriate, publicize it for others to engage with.
If customers find problems that you didn’t know existed, make sure to get on it. The digital realm is always developing with new software, apps, platforms and devices. If one customer identifies a problem, others will likely have the same problem too. Beyond technical difficulties though, issues of accessibility and usability rank high as roadblocks for online shoppers. Make sure you take advantage of the free UX insights your customers are providing your product team in order to build the most seamless shopping experience.
Whether by actively seeking feedback or by monitoring mentions on social media, listen to what people are saying about you. When you listen and then respond on social media, its called “social listening”. To listen to what is being said about your brand and to respond demonstrates that your brand is interested and cares. When you respond in funny or socially interesting ways, it helps further establish your brand’s identity. Your customer will know you are interested in what they have to say, and socially active customers may help you figure out how to develop your brand and market.
According to research, 77% of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience (Forrester). Ensure a strong customer experience by personalizing your customer’s shopping experience by showing that you know who customers are, as both one of many valued customers and as one unique individual shopper.
Customers may have already started their shopping journey, so why not make it easy for them to pick up where they left off? On their next visit to your retail store their saved data will make for smoother purchases. The saved data will also help build an evolving customer profile that, through the use of smart AI, will help suggest other purchases your customer may be interested in.
Receiving impersonal emails doesn’t leave a big impact. But when messages are personalized to customers, they are more likely to engage and reciprocate. In short, personalizing customer communications increases the likelihood that they’ll pay attention to what you have to say. Similarly, personalizing marketing efforts lets customers know that you recognize them and appreciate their contributions.
The objective of good CX is to ensure happy customers return. But more than this, a good customer experience has the potential to convert an average shopper into a power shopper — and get rewarded for it too. Beyond shopping habits, power shoppers can personally promote your brand among their family, friends, and social network. Word-of-mouth referrals are also a really effective organic way to attract new potentials. Reward your loyal customers with credits or gifts — or just remember to thank them every once in a while for their loyalty.
Retail customer experience is mapped, designed, and coded through excellent customer service and a knockout brand experience. Improved CX should improve customer retention, provide you with meaningful information about the perception of your brand, and help you maintain or grow your marketplace.
A high-impact customer experience is grounded in strong user and market research, as well as a culture of listening to customer feedback. Take all these factors and put them together and start to think more about how you can use some of these tips towards building and growing your online store.
We believe in bringing the truth to customers
|Today, when it comes to shopping, searching, booking and opinions, consumers have changed the rules of the game. They are relying more and more on social media. They are searching for the truth. And we believe the truth can serve brands (and people) far better than made-up reviews. That’s when we decided to listen to consumers and bring the truth to them, by creating feelter.|
|feelter is a game-changing tool that opens up to reveal the most relevant, un-manipulated wisdom of the crowd and brings it straight to your customers fingertips. So they never have to leave your page, your app or your store.||
We’re about giving people the full picture
We believe in making brands more trustworthy & transparent
|feelter is not about organizing reviews. Or about managing opinions to try and convince customers. feelter is about giving customers exactly what they are looking for all over social media – right inside your website. Helping create more engagement, building brand loyalty and trust, increasing conversion rates like never before.|