With thousands of options available at the click of a button, standing out as an e-Commerce retailer is one of the most difficult tasks facing online businesses today.
Brick-and-mortar retailers have the convenience of working with customers face-to-face to engage them at the right time with the right touch point, but when there’s no human interaction, it’s harder to make an impact in the oversaturated online marketplace.
Unfortunately, many brands are only considering the endgame — driving conversions. The real value lies in Customer Journey Optimization (CJO), where brands take a holistic view of the customer marketing strategy at every touch point to build lifetime brand loyalists beyond a single conversion.
By analyzing consumer behavior online, e-Commerce brands can mirror the in-store experience by placing the right message at the right time in the customer journey. A few simple tweaks to the web site can turn new visitors to regular customers, reduce cart abandonment and increase average order value (AOV). Follow these tips and tricks to create an impactful e-Commerce customer journey for browsers, buyers…and beyond.
Making The First Impression Count
First impressions are important — particularly in retail. From the moment a customer walks in the store, they’re making purchasing decisions. That’s where the store associates come in — they’re there to guide the customers and help them as they browse the store, inserting pertinent information, product details and promotions when the customer needs them most. This personalized, engaging experience is where the value of the store lies.
However, the same principle can be applied to customers landing on an e-Commerce site.Particularly with returning customers, e-Commerce brands have the ability to leverage consumer data to personalize web experiences to their visitors. The results of personalized marketing speak for themselves — according to Boston Consulting Group, brands that are using personalization tactics see up to a 10% increase in revenue.
Take Montblanc for example. The luxury retailer focused on highlighting its unique selling propositions (USPs) and offered products that buyers might not have purchased if they were shopping in-store. Free engraving, leather embossing, gift wrapping and delivery became available to shoppers once they reached a minimum purchase amount. This resulted in a 40% conversion increase. It’s important to recognize the investment that customers are making when they buy your product, and offer a personal touch point that will keep them coming back.
Turning Browsers Into Buyers
Speaking of personalization, it’s more than just a buzzword. Personalization in-store is about creating a relationship between the associate and the customer, then re-creating that experience online.
Well-trained sales associates are there to drive in-store purchases, turning browsers into buyers. An associate’s opinion on a piece of apparel or mention of an in-store promotion could be the difference between the shopper walking away with a full cart or abandoning their purchase all together.
On the other hand, e-Commerce brands have data on their side to recognize intent and take action to help customers convert. With a well-timed, personalized message based on the shopper’s unique cart value, the engagement encourages the shopper to make a purchase while increasing conversions and order value for the retailer.
Brands should be paying more attention to their customers’ online shopping activity, and deploying simple and smart messages to get them excited about buying. For example, when a customer has $40 worth of products in their shopping cart but are showing signs of abandoning, a simple message informing the shopper that they’re $10 away from free shipping is an easy way to tackle one of the top reasons for cart abandonment, extra costs due to shipping and taxes.
Take, for instance, Kiehl’s; the beauty company targeted customers with less than $80 of product in their shopping cart that were showing intent to leave the web site with a message that highlighted how much the customer needed to spend to qualify for free shipping. Customers got excited about free shipping with their purchase, and Kiehl’s saw their conversion rate rise to 77.6% and their AOV increase by 32.6%.
Another consideration is social proof — the proven notion in behavioral psychology that people look at what others are doing to help with their decision making. Unlike being in a store where shoppers can see what others are buying, what’s selling out and what items are hanging on by a thread on the clearance rack, this is not always visible online.
This is where e-Commerce brands can easily leverage this “fear of missing out” or “FOMO.” In fact, FOMO has incentivized 68% of Millennials to make a purchase.A well-timed notification such as: “Almost sold out!” or “Only two left!” show shoppers that these products are in high demand, and if they don’t make a purchase decision soon it may be too late.
So you’ve secured the sale — but what next? Nurturing customer relationships post-sale is easily one of the most important, and most forgotten, tactics of proper CJO.
One of the main mistakes that retailers can make is to promote the same products that their customer just bought. For instance, if a customer recently purchased a pair of hiking boots, it makes little sense that the retailer would promote another pair of hiking boots. Instead, brands should promote related items that have value when used with the new purchase, such as microspikes or wool socks. Retailers who understand their customers’ unique needs and interests offer a personal approach by using predictive, post-purchase marketing.
In order to keep customers coming back time and again, consider tactics to entice repeat-buying for items that run out frequently. Amazon Dash buttons have changed the game for replenishment marketing. Instead of the customer looking at different options of laundry detergent, with the hit of the button customers can have Tide Pods conveniently delivered to their front door. This creates not only brand loyalty, but Amazon loyalty too. Fortune reports that over half of Glad’s 40-count OdorShield trash bag sales are made through the Amazon Dash Button.
E-Commerce sites need to leverage their existing data from their entire web site and use it to empower individualized customer journeys. Marketers should be on their toes and employ flexible targeting strategies that allow e-Commerce sites to insert personalized touch points based on customers’ behavior, quickly and easily.
Taking a holistic view of the customer journey is a crucial step for brands to take to create savvy, personalized customer experiences that convert. Retailers must understand who their customer is, what they want and when. With all of this in mind, get ready to tackle a new age of retail marketing.
Jay Radia is the co-founder and CEO of Yieldify, an e-Commerce customer journey optimization company that creates customer campaigns that convert into sales and customers for life. Radia and his brother Meelan started Yieldify after realizing that e-Commerce sites were lacking a simple, easy to integrate tool that allowed them to improve their customer experience. Radia has been recognized in 2015 as one of the top 10 tech entrepreneurs under 30 by the Financial Times. Prior to Yieldify, he worked the trading floors at Bank of America and BNP Paribas. He studied Economics as an undergraduate at University College London, but always gravitated towards entrepreneurship.