In recent years, e-commerce experts have tasked themselves with raising the targets of numerous KPIs when trying to grow their online businesses. We’ve focused on boosting digital marketing metrics, such as Twitter followers, as well as growing web traffic figures such as sessions and page views.
Today, the world of e-commerce is more competitive than ever and chasing what have been called “vanity metrics” is a risky strategy. Metrics such as Facebook “likes” are often described as vanity metrics because no matter how many social media fans you have, it doesn’t mean much if they never convert into customers.
Better metrics for e-commerce include average cart size, which has also been fiercely targeted – but once you’ve optimised for it, there isn’t a whole lot more that can be done. In 2015, many businesses have already optimised for these metrics and are ready to grow beyond.
So if optimisations for average cart size and other relevant metrics have been made, what’s the next step in increasing e-commerce revenues?
At this point in the development of the business, pushing the metrics may cease to be the number one priority for marketers – it may be time to move away from being just an e-commerce store, and towards being a brand.
When developing your e-commerce business’ brand, you don’t have all of the opportunities to deliver your customers a brand experience that brick and mortar stores do. That said, like in any real-world store, a brand is made real by designing a convincing, ideal shopping and product experience that is both a reflection of the brand vision and is tailored to each customer. While you don’t get the opportunity to give the customer this experience in store, you can still find ways to do it online.
Successful e-commerce businesses such as Amazon and Net-A-Porter personalise the entire visitor journey on their platforms – and smaller businesses can now do the same thanks to new, easily accessible tools.
Let’s look at some areas in which you can improve to create valuable customer experiences.
How do we create these perfect experiences?
- Work perfectly, everywhere
In today’s hyper-connected world, a sale can come from anywhere. Thanks to devices such as smartphones and tablets, an opportunity for brand interaction might occur in any moment. Your site should look modern and inviting on a 30-inch monitor, a 17-inch laptop and a 4.7 inch mobile phone display. It should render correctly in every browser and platform. It should feel seamless.
- Don’t make me think
This is a question of UX. You shouldn’t have to harrass your visitors into following the path you want on your website. Decisions should be easy, and the next step should be obvious. Your store should be engaging and easy enough to use that customers register spontaneously. Often, they will be more than happy to provide you with all the data you need to create a tailored profile on them if the experience is handled correctly.
- Present a unified front
Creating an overall view of an individual customer is no longer the reserve of huge businesses. CRM integrations as well as tools such as Mixpanel mean that information on customers habits can be used to send automatic emails to specific subsets or individuals. There are so many ways to use and combine data now – an avenue worth exploring for even small businesses. In fact, this is one of the advantages of e-commerce over brick and mortar businesses. Not only can you reach customers from a much wider geographic area, you can understand them much more than if you were to sell to them in person – because inexpensive technologies allow you to pull data from multiple sources, combine that data, and automate an action based on it.
To summarise, it’s both easier and more important than ever to improve and personalise the customer experience. It’s a step that can take a successful e-commerce store and turn it into a loved brand.