For online retail businesses, customer experience, or CX, is critical to success. Customer experience is a measure of how customers engage with your eCommerce business through each stage of their buying journey. It is an assessment of how they perceive these interactions — from the very first impression right through to becoming loyal customers. Before you can start looking to improve CX, it is vital that you first understand its importance to your business.
CX is essentially a combination of your customer satisfaction and your sales processes. By improving customer experience, you enhance many different areas of your retail business. Customer experience has a direct impact on your sales and profits, so it is essential you have a well-thought-out strategy to improve CX.
- Customer touchpoints
- Digital experience
- Customer service
In this guide, we will look at how you can improve CX by focusing on these aspects of your business.
Understanding customer touchpoints is a crucial part of any CX strategy; if you want to improve CX, you need to improve touchpoints. Taking the time to analyse your existing touchpoints and fine-tuning them is essential for enhancing your customer experience as an online retail business.
Customer touchpoints are the points of interaction that every consumer has with your business. This may be visual contact through advertising, digital contact via a web page or simply talking about a brand with peers. These points of interaction make up the complete customer journey and play a crucial role in customer experience.
Customer touchpoints influence consumers during their buying journey. Getting these right can be the difference between making a sale or losing a customer. By understanding and optimising your customer touchpoints, you can capitalise on each of these sales opportunities. Touchpoints are critical interactions that define key moments in the journey of your customers and can go towards either building or damaging consumer trust.
Customer touchpoints take place before, during and after an online purchase, and they are essential for customer experience. CX is all about the journey that a customer takes to:
- find your business
- make a buying decision
- purchase your products
This journey is made up entirely of touchpoints, and they all play an important role in the success of your brand. With new technologies and new customer touchpoints being developed constantly, understanding CX is more important than ever before. Improving CX for your retail brand can help you build customer loyalty, boost sales and enhance profits.
Before you can work to improve your customer touchpoints, you first need to identify which touchpoints your business has. When you set out to improve the customer experience for your retail business, you will identify several touchpoints that are critical to success. Here we outline some of the key customer touchpoints and how to use them to improve your CX:
Reviews and feedback from existing customers are another great of improving the customer journey, creating an effective and well-received touchpoint. Product, service and rich media reviews, both on and off-site, are extremely useful for retail businesses. Start collecting product reviews and use them to improve client engagement. Reviews can also work to improve SEO by increasing engagement and getting customers to spend more time on each product page. When you integrate product reviews directly into your website pages, you create a strong customer touchpoint that improves customer experience online. Lily's Kitchen is an excellent example of a retail business that has boosted sales and CX through product reviews. It displays a star rating and review count directly on each product page, creating a powerful customer touchpoint and helping consumers understand how others rate its products.
Customers have more choice than ever when it comes to shopping online, so offering a seamless digital experience is vital for encouraging sales. In today's world, if a customer can't easily and quickly make a purchase on a website, they will simply switch to a competitor that offers a better online experience.
While customer experience refers to how a consumer interacts with your business and the journey they have with your brand, digital experience is all about online interactions. As a retail company operating online, your digital experience is one of the most important parts of the customer experience. If you want to improve CX, you must first look at improving your digital experience. Your brand's digital experience is made up of your website, your product pages, your checkout process and anything else related to your website, including site speed and general functionality.
With online customer interactions rising from 36% to 58% in the course of a year, it is no surprise that digital experience is critical for retail businesses. While this change in consumer trends is a great opportunity for eCommerce sites, it also brings new challenges. Just the smallest amount of friction during the customer journey can turn a consumer off and send them to another brand. It has been shown that businesses in the US lose a massive $75 billion every year because of poor customer experiences online, so improving this area is crucial. A seamless and smooth digital experience can boost sales, maximise profits and encourage customer loyalty.
If you want to improve CX for your retail brand, you need to enhance the digital experience. Every eCommerce brand is going to operate slightly differently, but there are some areas that every retail business can focus on. Here are a few of the most effective ways to improve CX through digital experience:
Your customer experience doesn't end as soon as a customer makes a purchase. It runs through into the after-sales process and your customer service. When you want to improve CX, you need to also focus on the service you are providing to customers after they have purchased from you.
The terms customer service and customer experience are often confused and used interchangeably. It is essential to understand that these are not the same things, but they are closely related. Customer service is a part of the overall customer experience, and when you want to improve CX, you need to look at your service. Customer service refers to the assistance you are providing to your customers and is usually a more human element than other parts of the customer journey. When it comes to post-purchase, customer service is critical and can be the difference between a customer returning to your business or forming a negative experience of you. Customer service also plays an important role during the point of sale because it allows customers to ask questions before making a final decision.
Your point of sale and after-sales service is a critical part of the customer experience. It makes up part of your non-price competition, which can add value to your customers. If you offer excellent customer service at the right times, you can encourage customers to return to you, recommend your products, and become loyal to your brand. In fact, 96% of customers said they would recommend a company to others if they had a positive customer experience. Prioritising your customer service can improve CX and lead to happy customers.
Improving your service at both the point of sale and after-sales is a powerful way to improve CX. Here are some of the most effective ways of boosting your customer service levels:
In this guide, we have looked at many ways to improve CX for your retail business. However, we realise that embarking on all these improvements is a huge task. Instead of taking on all of these points at once and including them in one huge CX strategy, it is often better to tackle them incrementally by setting priorities for your business. For some brands, it will be obvious where you need to start and you will be able to identify the first improvements you need to make. But for others, there might be pressing demands from several different areas of the business. This can make knowing where to begin with improving your CX a challenge.
Using customer reviews, online surveys and marketing metrics such as NPS is a great place to start when identifying your CX shortfalls. These can provide you with valuable insights into the minds of your customers, highlighting the areas that they like about your business and outlining the things that worry them. By understanding your customers' current experiences, you can clearly see where you need to improve CX and what you are already doing well.
To learn more about creating a winning CX strategy for your retail business, get in touch with our sales team.
Net Promoter® and NPS® are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.
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