The world of e-commerce is already a big one, and is still growing. There are many benefits to running a business online, an obvious one being that you have very few overheads, meaning that costs can be kept lower than they would have been in the 'off-line' world.
The growth of e-commerce is also changing the focus in business. You now have competitors not only from your local area, but also from the rest of the world, and there is a much more level playing field between huge, multi-national businesses and small, local businesses that are switched on about how to conduct their business online.
What is fast becoming the key to a business's success online is the customer's experience. Research shows that 89% companies are planning on competing on customer experience in 2016, so, as a business if you don’t start looking at the experience for your customers now, you are likely to get left behind.
There is nothing more annoying, when you are looking for an online purchase, than not being able to find it on the website, slow or never-loading pictures or lack of information, for example. There are, of course many other factors which can make the customer experience a great one or a terrible one. All of these areas need to be looked at to make sure that potential customers choose to buy from you and not from your nearest rival.
The world of e-commerce really is a buyer's world, and this is why it is important to optimise your customer journey and make sure that they have a smooth, easy and high quality journey through your business. So, based on this, we have gathered some tips from e-commerce experts, to help you to devise the best e-commerce strategies, give your customers the perfect customer experience – and maybe even get yourself some repeat customers!Manage each individual journey
A wise person once said, "Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves..." and this concept is an important one when it comes to e-commerce selling. It means that if you concentrate on making sure that every customer journey is a good one, a great experience in terms of customers finding information easily and quickly, making online buying easy and offering a great customer service, you will more than likely get repeat customers, good reviews on social media and more recommendations. So instead of concentrating on a customer's life cycle, concentrate on their individual journey.Map your customer journeys
Probably the best way to understand how your customer's experience would be is to map your typical customer’s journeys through the buying process. This way you can begin to see what is and isn’t important as well as potential difficulty areas and work out how to resolve them.Start with your customer personas
To be able to really understand who your customers are, what is important to them, what makes them tick and how to improve their experience, you need to come up with some customer personas – of typical customers who would use your business. Use your knowledge of your field as well as analytical data and experience to work out these personas.Now devise a customer journey map
There are some key points to understand about your personas to be able to create an accurate, effective and useful customer journey. There may be some that are specific to your business, but in general you should think about:
- Why they were looking to buy your product or service
- How they researched it
- What criteria they used to decide what and where to buy
- Why did they choose your website – and which of your rival's sites did they visit?
- What would their experience on your website be like – and how could it be improved?
From this information you can start to map out the journey of your customer experience – from the initial necessity of buying your product or service, researching, deciding where to buy from and finally actually making the purchase. A customer journey map is a visual representation of what your customer will experience as they go through the process of finding you, through to them buying (or not buying) your product. You should try to include in your map both what your customer is hoping to achieve through the process as well as what you are hoping to give them.
You should think about what pages your personas would look at in their research, and of course what information they will be looking for. Then think about the layout of your website so that the pages flow, don’t take too long to load and are easy to understand by your customer personas. Try to use a similar language, or at least one which matches the need for professionalism on your site.
You might need to create a number of different maps for different personas, who have different necessities. Start with the most simple and then tackle the more difficult ones.Identify the pain points, important factors and any potential problems and resolve them
Now that you have a good understanding of what is important to your customers as well as any potential problems, you can concentrate on resolving them and turning your customer's journey into a pleasant experience.
Having a good understanding of your customer's journey and at every step of the process is the key to ensuring that your customer leaves happy, willing to come back and giving your business favourable reviews. And a well thought out, detailed map of their journey is as excellent way to get this understanding. By putting yourself in the shoes of the consumer, you can really see what is important and what is not – and of course then adapt your website and processes accordingly.
If you have any questions about e-commerce, buying and selling online, building effective websites and other online services, get in touch with Studioworx either via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), telephone (+44 (0)1482 659362) or the website (http://www.studioworx.co.uk).