How to deliver a standout digital customer experience in 2022

We’ve all had a bad experience while browsing ecommerce websites, maybe several. It’s simple to spot when something goes wrong during our journey, but what does a good experience look like? Is ‘good’ when our visit goes as planned, or is it when our experience far exceeds expectations?

The best eCommerce experiences should be smooth, seamless and satisfying. With the amount of customer cookie and preference data ecommerce brands have access to, we expect retailers to know a lot about our needs and be able to supply us with exceptionally relevant experiences that always delight and never disappoint.

It can be hard to live up to this level of expectation from customers. However, in readiness to drive growth in 2022, here are my six top tips those in ecommerce must consider in order to prepare for user’s expectations and fine-tune journeys to enhance experiences from start to finish.

Learn about your customer

An over-reliance on analytics data has been an issue for many in ecommerce. While numbers driven by the likes of important A/B testing deliver quantitative information, they lack explanation. This is why user research is necessary to provide qualitative insights that can help retailers to understand exactly what issues exist, where users experience these problems, and inform the testing strategy needed to create a successful solution.

A good UX audit, or findings from usability testing, can provide insights into where there is most room for improvement. Overall, listening and responding to customer cues enables those in eCommerce to deliver a much better experience for shoppers.

Personalise the journey

Personalisation is always a hot topic in ecommerce, but so few retailers actually use real personalisation during the shopping journey. Just knowing a customer’s dress size, for example, can dramatically improve the experience.

Imagine every browsable product being available in your size and how much easier and more enjoyable shopping would be if this were the case. Qualitative research plays a key role here – helping to find where adding personalisation would be most impactful.

Understand when a user is new or returning

New and returning users can have very different needs and expectations. The experience for each one can be greatly improved by knowing if they have been on your site before, or if this is their first interaction. You should use this information to tailor the journey accordingly.

Demote products which the customer has purchased already or returned

These stand little chance of converting again with this same user, so should be demoted to make space for other products which are more likely to be purchased. This increases the retailer’s chance of creating customer conversions and improves their shopping experience.

Localise experiences

It is surprising, but many retailers don’t fully adapt their strategies by localising them to each international territory. Behaviour, needs, and trends can differ drastically from region to region. If you host sites across several countries it is worth ensuring that each website is presented to suit its local preferences. After all, the strategy created for your core website may not be applicable to being applied to all users globally.

Accessibility

Ensuring your site is usable and accessible to all visitors sounds unbelievably obvious, but so many sites fall short of basic accessibility requirements. Making a website accessible means ensuring it can be used by as many people as possible.

The clear benefit is that you have a better chance of converting more users. At least one in five people in the UK have a long-term illness, impairment or disability, and many more have temporary disabilities, so it’s worth making sure you can cater for the needs of all your users at all points in their journey.

Ways to address specific experience issues

There are three classic challenges many retailers continue to face when it comes to customer experience.

High exit rate pages

If a page has an unusually high exit rate, then look into the way the page content is presented and assess if there is anything you can do to improve the experience. First, consider how users arrive at the area in question, does the content make sense in relation to how they arrived on the page and what their expectations were likely to be?

With an ecommerce store example in mind, are the products displayed seasonally relevant, do they match any search terms that may have been entered, do all the products have images, does the page look secure?

These are a few things to consider as to why consumers may be leaving specific pages without taking any action. Surveys, A/B testing and usability studies will help pin-point specific concerns and reasons for site abandonment, which can then be fixed.

Basket abandonment

There can be lots of reasons that users choose to abandon baskets. In some cases, it may be that your customer simply prefers to use their basket as a type of wish list, which they may come back later – like payday – to refine their final choices.

Discovering findings like this is important because it can help you to better serve your user’s needs and take more accurate insights from your performance reporting data. It’s also vital to find out if there are there any areas of anxiety and friction in the checkout process.

Do users feel that their card information is safe, are the delivery options clearly communicated and are the choices suitable for customer needs? Analyse qualitative research to find out reasons for abandonment and act accordingly.

On-site search behaviour

Looking into why certain high-volume searches have a low conversion rate can unearth experience issues you may not be aware of. Poor relevancy can cause customers to abandon search all together.

It’s vital that results are returned with the most relevant matches first in the list before layering with any other metrics, such as highest sales or stock quantities. Prioritising relevancy greatly improves the chances of the customer finding key items related to their search.

With increasing competition and similarity in pricing online, it is the customer experience that will drive the greatest point of difference for those in ecommerce in 2022. To improve the customer experience retailers need to focus on obtaining qualitative insight from the likes of usability testing and combine it with quantitative insight.

This way they will learn more about customers, which will enable them to improve personalisation of the customer journey, localise the experiences and deliver site accessibility, for example. As a result, those in ecommerce will provide a standout customer experience and drive growth in the new year.

 

By Osh Rice, Managing Director at Daydot

FeaturesOp-ed

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