Customer experience (CX) has always been a priority for retailers as they seek to improve engagement and drive customer loyalty. However, the huge shift to largely online shopping, accelerated by five or more years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, has every retailer competing in the same online world without the benefit of eye-catching displays and in-store interactions. Creating compelling online CX will continue to be a differentiator in the post-pandemic market, as e-commerce sales are projected to maintain an upward trend. According to Statista, “In the United States alone, e-commerce sales are expected to surpass $740 billion by 2023.”
All this poses a creative dilemma for retailers that are looking for ways to humanize their digital interactions with customers and create more engaging experiences that bring the product catalogue to life. Fortunately, there are digital technology solutions that accelerate this process, making it easy to connect with customers in more meaningful ways via whatever channel they prefer.
Here are three ways retailers can improve CX and drive more customer engagement and loyalty in an increasingly e-commerce-driven world.
1. Create content-driven commerce experiences.
For GNC, a leading global health and wellness retailer, providing a unique online experience for each customer based on their personal interests was critical. The goal was to understand each customer’s preferences and allow content managers to quickly and easily showcase images and videos that lead customers to take action. Providing targeted content, without the need for developer support, makes it easy for customers to find what they need. If your company is looking for ways to improve personalization capabilities, be sure to ask technology vendors what AI-based personalization capabilities exist within their content management system (CMS) or digital experience platform (DXP), as well as how much technical support is needed to deliver content-driven experiences. (See: “What is a DXP, and why should you care?”)
“One of our strategies for competing in today’s crowded e-commerce market is to create a seamless, engaging customer experience across web, mobile and other channels that increases customer loyalty,” said Daniel Frattaroli, director of e-commerce, GNC. “With the FirstSpirit CMS and AI technology, we can provide similar engaging personalized experiences our retail customers receive when consulting with our coaches in GNC stores.”
2. Accelerate the purchasing process.
One strategy that helps spur consumers to take action is to tap into the power of storytelling to inspire customer interests. For example, LaShoe, a leading online shoe retailer for people with bunions and sensitive feet, created a strategy that combines engaging content with easy-to-use commerce technology to improve the overall customer experience.
“In order to optimize the customer online shopping experience, we need technology that enables us to easily combine content and commerce to create a seamless customer experience,” said LaShoe’s Digital Platform Manager Daniel Koch.
Deploying advanced hybrid headless CMS technology helped LaShoe deliver customized information to customers across every global channel, which promoted a consistent user experience along the buyer’s journey and reduced time to revenue.
3. React quickly to customer needs.
TSI Holdings, a Japanese fashion retailer, manages 38 brands across multiple websites. Its goal was to highlight product descriptions and images across these websites that met each customer’s unique interests, while at the same time ensuring consistent corporate messaging. TSI Holdings created a strategy that made it easy for its digital marketing team to tailor product information across multiple storefronts with messaging that had been approved by the corporate team, followed company guidelines, and ensured consistent language across all websites. As a result of this strategy, the company’s content editors are able to create content 2.5x faster and update site content 1.5x faster than before. Whether in the age of COVID-19 or in the future, TSI Holdings can react much faster to customer needs.
Adapting to the New World Order in Retail
While COVID-19 has fundamentally altered the way retailers operate, we know there's life after the pandemic. Retailers that provide the best digital experiences along with technology that's easy to use and integrate with other solutions not only improves CX, but also builds a strong connection between the retailer and the customer, which strengthens customer loyalty.
Related story: Customer Experience Gives Way to Personalized Journeys