Roll Out the Red Carpet: 3 Ways to Make the Customer King
:: By Tara Sporrer, Moxie ::
The U.S. e-commerce market is expected to swell to $414 billion by 2018. There is plenty of business to go around, but how does a business succeed in such a large market?
Successful businesses recognize that the customer is king and providing frictionless, exceptional experiences ensures ongoing loyalty. If you want to establish loyal and recurring customers, you must roll out the red carpet. Here's how:
Give them the VIP treatment.
Brick and mortar companies hire associates to help customers find products, provide information and ensure consumers can quickly and painlessly make purchases. The same experience needs to occur in the online world.
It is easy to forget that an e-commerce site needs to be staffed just as the standard brick and mortar does, but research confirms that 83 percent of consumers require some matter of support when purchasing online. Think of the dozens of links, the automation, and the readily available pool of information each person has as they navigate a website; ease of use often gets lost in information overload. E-commerce sites can be just as intimidating as walking into a giant department store, providing options for customer engagement is essential to any successful e-commerce site.
Fortunately, the technology is available to facilitate engagement. Consider a variety of options – self-service, chat email, video chat and social media - when engaging your customers to let them know there is personalized service however and whenever they need it.
1. Meet Their Every Need.
Being cognizant of emerging technologies that can further improve your level of service is the first step, but observing how engagement develops is extremely important. As you determine which services are actually helping customers, devote your resources accordingly.
Are visitors using your "help" button on your site? Are they using chat? Are either of these options easy to locate? Would they prefer a proactive versus a reactive engagement? These are the questions that should be top of mind as you move to increase customer engagement. Maybe past methods have not been working, like “Help” or “FAQ” pages because of the heavy content. This is the last thing a possible customer needs to face. It is no surprise then to hear that conversion rates for e-commerce hover at 3 percent on desktop and drop to 1 percent on mobile.
2. Apply a hands-on approach.
When your customer gets an error message or cannot find the answer in the FAQ page, perhaps a live chat to engage the customer is the key to help them get what they need. Make it easy for them to browse and research via mobile devices with a responsive design and richer content. Provide proactive engagement during critical steps including the purchasing process. Having the tools available is not enough; remember that being proactive helps to keep loyal customers happy.
3. Reign Supreme with a Mobile Strategy.
Mobile commerce sales are projected to reach $100 billion this year, and e-commerce companies can easily tap into this market through quick mobile optimized upgrades and audience analysis.
It is important that in a world trending toward mobile, consumers are not hindered by an inefficient platform. For example, make sure your buttons, fonts, design and text are optimized for tiny smartphone screens – the first step in thinking “mobile-first.”
Take advantage of all the great features of today's mobile devices as well. The mobile device is a messaging device – leverage mobile chat functionality, easy payment options, and GPS functionality for locations and check-ins. These features are important to make it as easy for the mobile customer as possible.
When engaging consumers on their mobile devices, understanding your audience and their habits are crucial. In a recent survey from Marketing Tech Blog, 85 percent of Millennials like to use their mobile devices to research products before making purchases. Offer easy access customer service via chat or phone to aid them in their thought process. And make sure not to forget about the Boomers. According to a 2013 Google and Ipsos report, Boomers spend about 20 hours per week online, and make up about 35 percent of current tablet users. Make sure everything is easy to read, having only the most important information on the page, and quick help accessible while browsing.
Never underestimate the importance of making a customer feel valued. By addressing each customer’s individual needs with helpful service across channels, and a responsive design across all devices, you keep your customers pleased and reap the rewards of e-commerce success.
Tara Sporrer brings more than 15 years of business experience as a customer operations and marketing professional in the enterprise software industry. In her role with Moxie, Tara is responsible for delivering corporate communications and marketing programs to positively impact the company’s market presence, revenue achievement, and profitability.