Embracing technology can help ecommerce brands deliver more personalised omnichannel experiences, promoting brand loyalty with new and returning customers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the way consumers shop. Since it began, retailers have been forced to adapt to new ‘normal’ ways of operating in an ever-changing landscape. Shopping both in-store and online has dramatically changed, perhaps permanently, as a result of the pandemic.
As part of the ShipStation Global Pulse Study, we found that, on average, 81% of UK shoppers were pushed to buy items online where they would typically have gone in-store. Despite the easing of the harshest restrictions, 65% of the shoppers polled in our study said they would continue to buy online instead of returning to brick and mortar establishments, even when the pandemic is well and truly over.
Engaging Customer Experiences
Whether shopping online or in-store, providing exceptional customer experiences provides the basis for building a network of brand loyalists. With the recent surge in online shopping, ecommerce retailers need to deliver memorable and engaging ways to interact with customers to have them returning time and again.
The most effective way to provide these experiences is through personalisation, allowing customers to choose the way they shop, how they do it, and the ability to shop at a time that’s convenient to them.
Understanding your current customers is part of the journey to true personalisation. For ecommerce retailers, this can be achieved with analytics, which provides in-depth insight into customer behaviour across your website. How do they reach your website? What channels are most often used? Do they primarily reach you through mobile, tablet, or desktop? Answering these and other questions will help you provide an excellent customer experience.
Analytics and Customer Behaviour
To make the most of your Google Analytics account (for more than simply viewing how many people are visiting your site and how many conversions you have), you should use it to answer a few simple questions that could revolutionise your customer experience.
- When customers visit your site, how many pages are they visiting?
- If you’ve set up goals, ask how many customers are clicking on feature banners, carousels and special offers.
- How many of your customers bounce off site without making a purchase? Was the bounce rate higher on specific pages?
- What is the average time customers are on your website? Are there pages that have glaringly low or exceptionally high page view times?
Whilst these questions are important to decipher your customers’ behaviours and needs, it’s important to understand that external factors can influence your website’s analytics.
It’s also vital to make notations of end of sales, ends of pay-per-click, or paid social media advertising to not skew your overall data set. Look at these metrics over time to determine what days are best for customer conversion and time-on-page.
An additional tool that can help understand customer behaviour is a heat map. Where are customers clicking when they visit pages? This can put you into your customers’ shoes, understanding vital touchpoints within your site.
Artificial Intelligence – Improving Customer Experience
Providing an enhanced customer journey through your website isn’t the only way to grow your brand loyalty. AI can offer more than simply personalisation but a genuinely tailor-made experience when doing business with your company.
One of the most significant impacts AI has had on eCommerce is in customer service.
As one of the biggest factors in whether customers return to eCommerce websites, getting your customer service right is crucial.
Implementing AI-driven customer services provides the opportunity to instantly answer any questions customers may have. Live chat bolstered with well-thought-out response maps is a guaranteed way to provide customers with a tailor-made experience – though not forgetting to provide details to contact an actual person should their question remain unanswered.
Personalised Customer Journey
AI with machine learning is key to providing truly bespoke experiences in eCommerce. Your website can offer tailored products based on their browsing habits by using software to train AI to analyse customer behaviour. This data-based analysis can provide personalised interaction through tailored product suggestions, marketing or direct communication, special offers, or a feedback request. This bespoke approach gives customers the experience they’re looking for when shopping online and will have them returning time and again to purchase.
Whether planning for peak season or ensuring your business is prepared for those mini peaks like Valentine’s Day, Easter and Mother’s Day, using analytics and AI to optimise your customer journey will not only grow brand loyalty but increase profitability in the long run.