Tag Archives: customer experience

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Experimentation in product development: How you can maximize the customer experience

Hila Qu, Vice President of Growth at Acorns, has a theory. She says there are two kinds of product managers:…Read blog postabout:Experimentation in product development: How you can maximize the customer experience

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Business evolution happens in experimentation sprints: Insights from André Morys, GO Group Digital

But transformative change really happens in sprints. That’s because experimentation is the agile approach to business evolution. When it comes…Read blog postabout:Business evolution happens in experimentation sprints: Insights from André Morys, GO Group Digital

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Business evolution happens in experimentation sprints: Insights from André Morys, GO Group Digital

Going Omnichannel | A Robust Framework for eCommerce Enterprises

Consumers in the digital age want an integrated shopping experience. They might browse an eCommerce website on mobile but ultimately make a purchase from desktop. Or they might pay online, but pick up the purchased item from the store.

Such user behavior has been highlighted by a 2014 GfK study: “With people constantly moving between devices, it is important for marketers to reach their audience across all platforms. Brand experiences should be consistent, allowing for people to begin an activity on one device and finish on another.”

In this post, we discuss a robust omnichannel strategy that can help eCommerce enterprises create such integrated experiences across devices. The strategy includes:

  • Understanding cross-device user behavior
  • Crafting smooth shopping experiences across channels
  • Forming organizational structures that support omnichannel

But before we begin, let’s see how an ideal omnichannel experience for a consumer, say “Sarah” would look like:

Sarah is checking Instagram from her mobile and likes a dress her friend is flaunting. She visits the retailer’s website on mobile. She adds the product to her “wishlist” on mobile. Later during the day, she accesses her wishlist on the desktop, with the decision to make a buy. She chooses the option “inform when available in my size” and 3 days later, gets an email notifying her about the availability of the dress. It also informs her that “click and collect” is available on the product. She decides to pick up the dress from a physical store.

So how do eCommerce enterprises go omnichannel successfully? Let’s talk about the three steps.

Tracking Cross-Device User Behavior

The fact that people toggle among multiple devices throughout the day makes understanding the cross-device user behavior an absolute essential for eCommerce enterprises. Traditional analytics tracking tools such as Google Analytics do not offer the scope for establishing a connect between users and their disparate gadgets. Cross-device tracking removes this barrier for eCommerce enterprises and enables them to understand their users’ behavior across all touchpoints.

Cross-device tracking allows enterprises to understand whether a person browsing a website from smartphone X is the same person who made the purchase from laptop Z. Such information is important to rectify conversion credit allocated disproportionately to the last device of purchase. So if the use of mobile devices leads to desktop purchases, eCommerce enterprises might want to spend more on mobile ads and mobile website optimization.

cross device user tracking
A simple representation of cross-device usage

There are two main methods to track cross-device user behaviordeterministic and probabilistic.

Deterministic Device Matching

This methodology makes use of user’s signin information. As users are required to sign in to the website on each device they use, enterprises can track their behavior across all touchpoints. User Authentication is a type of deterministic device matching. It uses specific identifiers such as a customer ID, signin information, and so on to study and form a link between user behavior across devices.

Probabilistic Device Matching

Unlike deterministic device matching, this cross-device tracking technique does not rely solely on the user’s signin information. As the name indicates, this method computes the probability that various devices belong to or have been used by the same individual. An example of how probabilistic device matching works is extrapolation. For example, if a mobile and a tablet use the same Internet connection, it can be extrapolated that they belong to the same household. Device Fingerprinting is another famous probabilistic cross-device tracking technique. It combines device settings and browser options with some other attributes such as WiFi info, IP address, and more to identify users.

Build Smooth Shopping Experiences Across Channels

The next step, after tracking and understanding user behavior across devices, is to create seamless experiences for your users.

Walmart CEO, Doug McMillon shares his thoughts on a seamless customer experience:

“Ultimately, customers don’t care about what channel they’re shopping in or about how we deliver them a product or service. They simply know they’re shopping with Walmart.”

For Walmart, no matter what channel their customers buy from, it is important that they recognize the brand and get the same shopping experience throughout. Creating cohesive, consistent brand voice/experience can help eCommerce enterprises pave trust and encourage strong engagement, and, therefore, improve sales.

Other than brand consistency, a smooth and seamless shopping experience also constitutes customer experience. Hubspot talks about Oasis, a UK fashion retailer, in their seven inspiring examples of omnichannel user experience. On entering one of their stores, you’ll find sales associates walk you through all the product-related information using iPads. So, just in case something  is out of stock, the staff places an online order for the customer and the item  is shipped directly to customer’s home.

Here’s how Oasis uses iPads in-store to assist customers:

Omnichannel Strategy Oasis
Source

eCommerce enterprises should focus on the following points for providing a superior omnichannel shopping experience:

  • Providing relevant local information
  • Ensuring faster, safer payment solutions
  • Providing personalization
  • Making use of advanced technologies

Providing relevant local information

 A post on Think with Google reports that 75 percent of the shoppers who find local retail info in search results helpful are more likely to visit stores. For eCommerce enterprises, this data opens up a number of opportunities. For example, eCommerce enterprises can  inform online customers looking for a particular item online about its availability at a nearby store. To make this activity more effective, they can use geo-targeting to drive more in-store purchases from people  from the local vicinity who have an intent to buy.  Moreover they can also provide information such as local store hours, directions to the local store, or any discounts running in the store. Providing local relevant information online can also help convert more of those shoppers who view shopping as an experience and not just a purchase activity. Retailers, on the other hand, can benefit from the impulse buying tendency of people who exhibit a search online, shop local behavior.

Ensuring faster, safer payment solutions

 A Search Engine Journal post lists 10 popular online payment solutions such as Amazon Payments and Google Wallet. As these options are trustworthy and secure, these will encourage users to pay from any channel that they use.

Deploying these payment solutions is a win-win for both the parties, because these solutions are  convenient, quick, and trustworthy.

Providing Personalization

The interconnected and digitally empowered consumer demands relevant and personalized experience. For an omnichannel player, this would mean understanding which devices are used by the consumers and how. For example, Evergage talks about how eBay creates omnichannel personalization for its users. The eBay mobile app allows users to enable push notifications, which informs them about the start or end of any auction. The desktop site, on the other hand, is designed for easy search and window shopping.

omnichannel strategy - ebay personalized push notification
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Advanced Technologies

Innovation and technology enhance the omnichannel experience both for buyers and eCommerce enterprises. Using virtual reality, for example, can help eCommerce players make use of virtual environments that are otherwise difficult to create inside a store. For the user, these technologies can address buyer’s uncertainty.

For example, before making a decision to buy a hat, a person would like to know which hat type, color, width, and so on would suit him the best. Without physically trying a number of different hats, he can use such technologies to find out what looks best on him. For the eCommerce enterprise, this means being able to provide their users with better services and experience even if all the types of hats are not physically in store.

Tommy Hilfiger also provides a fantastic in-store VR experience. As a result, shoppers can view virtual catwalks and shop the season’s runway styles.If you are looking for more on the who and how of virtual and augmented reality in retail and eCommerce, here’s a Forbes post to read.

The following image shows customers experiencing Tommy Hilfiger VR:

Virtual Reality in Tommy Hilfiger Omnichannel Strategy
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Forming an Organizational Structure that Supports Omnichannel

Customer experience might suffer if an eCommerce enterprise is not structured to meet the requirements of omnichannel retail. When departments operate in silos, the problem of sales attribution often arises. Such conflicts are unhealthy, as they can jeopardize the enterprise’s ability to deliver a smooth omnichannel experience.

An organizational structure that is better aligned for omnichannel, requires various departments within an organization to work together and be accountable to each other. Macy’s, for example, has also completely restructured their merchandising and marketing functions. They have also created chief omnichannel officer positions in their organization.

Keith Anderson, SVP Strategy & Insight, Profitero,  suggests the following when it comes to creating supportive organizational structures for omnichannel.

“Here is the approach I suggest:

  • Top-down commitment and support are essential. In the absence of the same, many organizations fail to prioritize or align on how to implement and execute on omnichannel.
  • Key functions should be responsible, but the whole organization is accountable. Certain teams or titles should be primarily responsible for doing the work of marketing and selling through all channels. But the entire business should be accountable. There is a risk in simply appointing a “head of omnichannel,” without anticipating the impacts on other functions such as customer service, finance, and logistics. Digital and omnichannel competency is necessary for all company functions and disciplines, not just an isolated, specialist team.
  • Definitions of success and incentives matter. Many companies that try to embrace omnichannel discover internal conflicts driven by misaligned incentives. For example, who gets the credit for an online sale fulfilled and collected in-store? How are inventory and labor costs allocated?

Ultimately, KPIs and incentives need to balance near-term and long-term goals such as maximizing profitability in the short-term versus growing market share. Also, enterprise success must always be prioritized over success in an isolated channel.”

Conclusion

While creating  customer-centric experiences is the key to succeeding with omnichannel, it begins with understanding user behavior and extends to framing the right kind of organizational structures. There is a huge scope for eCommerce enterprises to adopt and excel at an omnichannel level, given that they make use of user information, technology, customer service, and their internal structures efficiently.

Over to You

Have feedback on how eCommerce enterprises can develop a robust omnichannel strategy? Please leave a comment.

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The post Going Omnichannel | A Robust Framework for eCommerce Enterprises appeared first on VWO Blog.

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Going Omnichannel | A Robust Framework for eCommerce Enterprises

A Holistic Customer Retention Plan for eCommerce

While eCommerce enterprises realize the impact of customer retention on revenue, there are a number of key challenges that keep them from holistically implementing customer retention strategies.

One such challenge is the data complexity involved with calculating certain key metrics such as retention rate. As a result, businesses are making decisions per the metrics that might not be critical to long-term success. 2016 Retention Marketing report provides statistical evidence to why eCommerce organizations need clarity in their retention rate metrics.

Declining customer loyalty is affecting customer retention in a big way too. A (2015) research conducted by Accenture reports, “Just over one-quarter of U.S. consumers (28 percent) feel very loyal toward their providers and only about one in three (31 percent) are willing to recommend them to others.”

Competition demands eCommerce establishments to outgrow mediocrity and scale from average to elite. In this blog post, we highlight how optimizing their customer retention strategy (infused with actionable tips) can help eCommerce enterprises do exactly that!

Focus On Your High-Value Customers

To allocate marketing budget sensibly, eCommerce establishments need to understand where and what they are putting money and efforts into. Even before investing in a customer retention strategy, enterprises must focus on identifying their high-value customers. Centering retention efforts around high-value customers, as opposed to average customers, can yield considerably higher value in terms of RoI.

Digging into metrics such as customer lifetime value, average order value, purchase frequency, price sensitivity, and so on helps identify high-value customers. This post by eConsultancy talks about how you can do that.

Tracking and analyzing on-site behavior of high-value customers is also critical to optimizing the customer retention process. Tools like heatmap and visitor recordings can help understand collective and individual on-site user behavior respectively.

It is also important to understand the implication and usage of ‘churn rate’ correctly for your high-value customers. Instead of viewing it as a transactional metric, eCommerce enterprises should consider it to be a behavioral indicator. Harvard Business Review points out talks that enterprises are fixated with churn as a number instead of looking at it as a measure for improvement. The article also details on other mistakes that businesses make in using churn rate.

Actionable Tip: Use Net Promoter Score surveys to find out who your promoters, passives, and detractors are. Think of promoters as people who can drive more conversion and positive influence for your business. In this way, they are your high-value customers. Focusing efforts around retaining them is likely to lift your business value.

Net Promoter Score

Solicit Feedback And Act On It

Feedback helps fill the gap between what businesses offer and what their users actually want, in terms of products, services, and/or experiences. MarketingSherpa Ecommerce Benchmark Study 2014 establishes that companies who make changes to their website per customer feedback had a success score of almost 8/10.

Displaying encouraging reviews on the website, for example, can help eCommerce establishments increase not just conversions but also credibility—something that is extremely important for retaining customers long term. The Deloitte Consumer Review Consumer Review Report 2014 provides some interesting statistics in a graph that we have borrowed for the purpose of this post.

Deloitte Consumer Review Report

Testimonials and surveys are the two other indispensable feedback mechanisms. Surveying your repeat visitors on their satisfaction with your product/services, suggestions for improving service quality, and so on can help you identify areas of improvement for your business.

On the other hand, on-page surveys (OPS)/voice-of-customer surveys trigger questions real-time and typically aim at addressing pain points on websites. Nevertheless, choosing the right trigger for your OPS is critical to soliciting feedback. Some common examples of OPS triggers are listed below:

  1. Time spent on a page
  2. Number of pages browsed
  3. Exit intent on “adding items to cart”

Qualitative feedback obtained by OPS can also be of great value for optimizing purchase experiences, which can eventually increase retention. Here’s a VWO post – 10 tips on optimizing website surveys for soliciting better response.  

Actionable Tip: Negative reviews don’t hit a business as hard as not responding to them can. Moreover, customers value businesses that are quick in accepting and amending their mistakes. While not all negative feedback is authentic, genuine resentments provide valuable insights into the business or product aspects lacking in your business. Check out this article  for a complete approach on tackling negative reviews/feedback—right from digging into the problem to solving the problem to requesting customers for updating their review.

Continuously Scale Up On User Experience

Data about user behavior/activity as well as feedback lays the foundation for businesses to continuously improve user experience. However, it’s easier said than done. eCommerce enterprises not only need to continuously upgrade their technology, but also must provide consistent experiences to users across devices.

According to Mckinsey customer-experience survey 2014, “measuring satisfaction on customer journeys is 30 percent more predictive of overall customer satisfaction than measuring happiness for each individual interaction, establishing that consistency on the most common customer journeys is an important predictor of overall customer experience and loyalty.”

A customer journey can be considered as the sum of all experiences that customers go through while interacting with a website. It is an aggregate measure – good and bad – across different touchpoints.

That said, customer ‘satisfaction’ is not enough. Enterprises, in a digital world that is rapidly transforming, need to focus on customer delight and this requires them to be not just customer-centric but customer-obsessed. The Warehouse does this exceptionally well. By focusing on what really works for their customers, it has been able to increase their online sales from $18.8 million in 2011 to $149.2 million in 2015.

Most importantly, creating an exceptional user experience cannot be possible without personalization. eCommerce enterprises who want to move from being average to elite should focus on providing personalized services across human and digital touch points. The power of personalization can also be harnessed to form an emotional connect with customers, ultimately driving retention and long-term customer relationships.This would require identifying emotional motivators that customers associate with and then crafting personalized messages around those motivators.

Consider ‘convenience’ to be an emotional motivator. eCommerce enterprises can use personalized messages on their website focused around this emotion that propels people to buy. Warby Parker does exactly this by offering it’s customers a chance to try what they like before they buy.

Warby Parker

Actionable Tip: eCommerce establishments must focus on the 3 Es of experience – ease, efficiency, and emotion, as identified by Forrester Research. Storytelling is an effective tactic that can be used for establishing emotional connect with customers. Consider Everlane. The brand takes the story telling approach to communicate who and what they are, and what they do. They are able to establish trust and transparency – two values with which they establish an emotional connect with their customers.

Everlane

Foster Relevance In Post-Sale Messages

Creating relevant post-sale messaging requires eCommerce enterprises to understand customer purchase history and behavior. It would be too soon to send out ‘We miss you here at…’ to someone who made his/her last purchase from you only a week back. What would be relevant instead is a cross-sell.

Here’s an example: A customer bought a boho necklace from your website. Now within a week of purchase, you could send an email to her/him, advertising the earrings available on your website that she could easily and perfectly pair with the necklace.

Moreover, not everyone who revisits or re-engages with your eCommerce website would have an intent to make a new purchase. You can give those sales emails a break. Let the goal be engagement.

This eMail from Boden is an excellent example on how to keep customers engaged even after a purchase.

boden thank you email

Your post-sale messaging strategy can include sending out newsletters, articles, and product usage tips.

Sold a peppy scarf recently? Your THANK YOU email can contain a video on 20 trendy ways to wrap a scarf in less than 5 minutes.

Actionable Tip: Another way of retaining your customers through post-sale messages is to keep sending them replenishment reminders (in case your store sells replenishable items). This would require you to keep track of the standard purchase cycle for the product and the customer’s average frequency of the product or order. Read some interesting examples of replenishment emails on this article on Ometria.

To Conclude

eCommerce enterprises must steer their efforts towards retaining those customers who can create more value for the business. An effective and optimized customer retention strategy that comprises understanding and analyzing user behavior, soliciting feedback, improving customer experience, and crafting relevant messaging, can help businesses retain such customers.

What are you doing to retain your valuable customers? Drop us your suggestions or tips in the comments section below.

VWO Cart Abandonment Report 2016

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A Holistic Customer Retention Plan for eCommerce

Privacy Guidelines For Designing Personalization


For interaction designers, it’s becoming common to encounter privacy concerns as part of the design process. Rich online experiences often require the personalization of services, involving the use of people’s information.

Privacy For Personalization

Because gathering information to personalize a customer experience can interfere with the overall experience — with negative consequences for the business — how do we navigate this increasingly difficult territory? What are the guidelines to follow when using data to personalize digital experiences, and how can organizations help people feel comfortable with personalization services that research clearly shows people want?

The post Privacy Guidelines For Designing Personalization appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Privacy Guidelines For Designing Personalization

The Psychology Behind High Converting Sites

We all know the basics by now, right? Create a headline that hooks attention, display value with your CTAs, reduce distractions, simplify your pages so on and so forth. They’re actions well documented on sites like this and something we all know are conducive to better conversions. But there’s a problem, too many CROs are […]

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The Psychology Behind High Converting Sites

Moving Into the B2B Fast Lane: Boosting Lead Gen with Live Chat

You just increased lead generation by nearly 40%. What do you do next? If you’re Hygiena’s marketing team, you get to work increasing it by another 40%. From 2013 to 2014, Hygiena saw an increase of 38% in new inbound leads from their website. As of last month, they were on track to repeat this […]

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Moving Into the B2B Fast Lane: Boosting Lead Gen with Live Chat

Your Visitor Has Multi-Personality Disorder: How to Talk to Each Side of the Buying Brain

When you were young, how did you imagine adult life? Pizza for breakfast, candy for lunch, and ice cream for dessert. Sounds about right, doesn’t it? This was before you could really grasp the consequences of poor decision making. Before you had responsibilities. As an adult, you probably eat more sensibly, with the odd snack […]

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Your Visitor Has Multi-Personality Disorder: How to Talk to Each Side of the Buying Brain

8 Landing Page Essentials that Most People Totally Forget

You’d think that by now we’d have a pretty good handle on what makes a good landing page and what doesn’t. Still, there are still quite a few people getting it wrong. Do you ever wonder if your landing page is getting it right? Here’s the checklist of the most left-out features. Make sure that […]

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8 Landing Page Essentials that Most People Totally Forget

The Beginner’s Guide to Identifying Leaks in Your Sales Funnel

Do you hear that? Drip…drip…drip… That’s the sound of your ideal potential customers leaving your website. Every drop of water in the bucket represents a customer on your website. The bucket? That’s your conversion funnel. Even a small leak can lead to significant losses over the long-term. And if you have big enough leaks, you […]

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The Beginner’s Guide to Identifying Leaks in Your Sales Funnel