Panel Q&A: How to Fund Online Customer Experience Initiatives
Without a clear indication of how a better customer experience will increase the bottom line, how do you prove the worth of such projects to your top bean-counters? E-commerce executives at several multichannel merchants and one service provider addressed this topic in a panel discussion at the recent eTail conference in Palm Desert, Calif.
Question: How do you show the value of a user experience project and get it funded?
It doesn’t need to be more difficult to apply an ROI on the user experience; you can monetize it. You can improve the look of your shopping cart and see higher conversion. We’ve done a lot of customer satisfaction monitoring. Ask yourself, what is improving that customer experience going to do for you [monetarily]?
— Jessica Weiland, senior vice president, marketing and customer care, Neiman Marcus Direct
We grew wildly fast during the first few years of our business. We invested in a lot of disparate ways to improve the customer experience on our site. We had to determine our value proposition and how we could communicate that to our customers. Focus on that value proposition and what it means to the bottom line. It’s easy to get distracted when you’re growing fast.
— Jacob Hawkins, senior vice president, online sales, Overstock.com
When you haven’t invested in the customer experience before, there’s always a feeling that you can’t prove the ROI that way. But once you start doing it, you’ll realize there’s an obvious ROI. Remember that you’re being compared not only to other online retailers, but to brick-and mortar stores. There’s no offline analog to “I couldn’t load the shopping cart” or “the page timed out.” You have to invest in things that allow the shopping process to happen smoothly.
— Geoff Galat, vice president, marketing and product Strategy, Tealeaf, an online customer experience tracking service