Rafael Lourenco shares tips on digital transformation strategies that ecommerce stores can use right now.
Consumers are craving more digital ways to shop and interact with brands online. Here are a few strategies your ecommerce store needs to provide the next-level digital experiences consumers are expecting, according to Rafael Lourenco, executive vice president and partner, ClearSale.
The online shopping habits that consumers have formed since the start of the pandemic are here to stay, and so are their high expectations. Now, 88% of customers say they expect companies to speed up their digital initiatives because of the pandemic, and 69% want new digital ways to buy products and access services, according to a late 2020 Salesforce customer survey.
Even though many retailers pivoted hard during the pandemic to roll out options like curbside pickup and home delivery, there are still large gaps in digital transformation that consumers would like to see closed. For example, more than half (54%) say it feels to them like companies’ sales, service, and marketing departments don’t share information.
There’s an opportunity for ecommerce merchants to win new customers and retain existing ones by improving their digital experience, starting with the resources they already have.
Here are steps ecommerce merchants can take now to move their digital transformation forward to create better experiences for customers.
1. Review Your Customer Experience From End-to-End
How important is customer experience (CX) now? U.S. consumer data from May 2020 found that 94% of shoppers are “very likely” to buy again from a company that provides very good CX, but only 50% will buy again from a company that delivers poor CX.
To improve your CX, you need to first understand what it is now. You can do this through:
- User testing of your end-to-end customer journey, from clicking through ads, social posts and search results to your online store, checkout and package tracking processes, to look for gaps and friction.
- Reviewing your site usage analytics to identify any areas where customers are leaving before converting.
- Reviewing KPIs, including customer satisfaction and net promoter scores, to look for trends, wins, and pain points.
- Analyzing voice of customer data from reviews, surveys, and customer service interactions for granular feedback on specific issues with your CX.
- Calculating your false decline rates to see if you have a problem with turning away good customers. March 2020 Sapio Research surveys for ClearSale found that across five countries, 39% of shoppers will never return to a merchant that rejects their order.
2. Unify Your Data
Good data drives effective digital experiences for your customers, and it’s becoming a must for meeting customer expectations. By 2022, Gartner predicts, IT will be part of 70% of all customer experience projects, and by 2024, companies whose IT teams know what their customers need “will outperform other organizations’ customer experience metrics by 20%.”
Because customers expect real-time information on which products are in stock, where they’re available and when they will arrive, merchants need to unify their inventory number and location data. Having all this data in one place also makes it easier for employees to pick orders more efficiently, with less stress.
Meanwhile, unified customer data allows you to offer a seamless experience across devices and channels by allowing shoppers to pick up where they left off. Unified customer data also supports more accurate personalization, customer identification during fraud screening at checkout, and better customer service and support.
3. Take a Fresh Look at Your Partnerships
Digital transformation is a major, ongoing process that often works better when companies team-up. PwC’s Paul Leinwand and Mahadeva Matt Mani describe partnerships as a way to implement digital initiatives by “working together with an ecosystem of players to deliver the ambitious value propositions that customers want.”
How do your current partners contribute to your digital customer experience? Are there other providers you could partner with to make it better? For example, if your ecommerce customers want to know exactly when their packages will arrive to avoid lost or stolen packages, do you have a real-time tracking partner who can provide that service as part of your customer experience?
4. Create a Seamless Omnichannel Experience
Use your findings from your end-to-end CX audit, your unified data and your partnership review to fill in the gaps in your user experience. For example, when customers order items for home delivery from one of your stores, your platform should notify them about out-of-stock items so they can request a substitution. It should also show them where their delivery is on a map and send a notification and proof of delivery through the channel of their choice: push notifications, text messages or emails.
Likewise, when a customer follows personalized marketing messages to your website, fills their cart and checks out, your fraud prevention program should have access to the same data as your marketing program. Your fraud program should also include a manual review of flagged orders to reduce false declines. By working with unified data to recognize and authenticate customers, you’re less likely to reject good orders by mistake and maintain the feeling of recognition and ease that customers expect.
When customers contact your customer service department via chat, email, text, or phone call, your representatives should have access to the customer’s profile and purchase history. That allows reps to provide help and information without requiring customers to fill them in on who they are, what they purchased and when they bought it.
Focus Your DX on Customer Experience
In all of the strategies discussed here — UX testing, data unification, partnerships and omnichannel experience creation — technology is a tool, not the goal in itself. By keeping your focus firmly on the customer experience, you can make a digital transformation that delights your customers, wins their loyalty, improves your marketing ROI, and makes it easier for your employees to deliver the kind of service that today’s online shoppers expect.