It’s becoming increasingly difficult for retailers, both traditional and online, to grab the attention (and wallets) of online shoppers. Battling on multiple fronts, from fierce competition to cart abandonment, retailers are feeling the pressure.
Part of the challenge is in delivering an “experience.” For the offline world this is tangible and easily iterated upon, however, it can seem daunting to try to reflect that experience online. By differentiating the digital customer journey, brands can compete in an arena where the shopper has unlimited choice.
Many would have you believe that creating the same experience online as you do offline would be complicated, but it doesn't have to be. There are some simple ways to mirror the tactics that work in-store on your website without having to move heaven and earth.
Here are a few ways to use customer journey optimization tactics to get the attention of new customers and build loyalty in returning ones.
1. Use your on-site data.
Brick-and-mortar retailers have the advantage of face-to-face communication with customers, affording them the ability to personalize the customer journey and guide them through the store.
Online, retailers can provide the same connection to consumers that in-person communication allows by leveraging behavioral indicators as customers shop.
There’s a vast wealth of data that you can obtain straight from your website: What items has your shopper added to their cart? Have they stopped dead on the checkout page? Are they looking like they’ll exit the site, leaving behind a full cart? Your site’s data can tell you almost as much about your individual shopper’s behavior as the best-trained sales associate.
With a rich pool of on-site data in hand, it’s actually simpler than you think to use it to react in real time — just as your best sales associate would.
For example, when skincare retailer skyn ICELAND wanted to increase sales of its Brightening Eye Serum, it targeted customers who had already added Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels to their basket. The brand educated customers on why the two products work best when used together, and this tactic saw instant results. By taking this personal, but value-added approach, skyn increased conversion by over 23 percent and boosted average order value by nearly 15 percent.
2. Create urgency with FOMO.
The ever-present “fear of missing out” (FOMO) is an ingrained part of the human condition. When those around us are purchasing, it creates social proof we can’t resist.
In-store, you can see when a product is low in inventory or when other customers are showing intent to buy a particular item. E-commerce businesses can mirror this online with messages aimed at creating this same sense of missing out.
By creating scarcity with stock level messages such as “only five left in stock” or urgency with “20 people are also viewing this product,” consumers will be more compelled to add the item to their cart for the fear of losing out if they don’t act quickly.
3. Build brand loyalty.
The goal of any retailer is to build a loyal customer base, but how can this be achieved online?
Many brands have loyalty programs, events, special promotions and more for their brick-and-mortar customers, but what’s even more impactful is when the sales associate remembers them from their last visit.
As soon as a customer arrives on-site, it’s important to identify whether they’re new or returning. If they’ve been on the site before, adapt the experience by delivering targeted messages at the right time — e.g., value-adds such as personalization services or gift wrapping to continue building loyalty (they don’t have to be discounts!).
When skyn ICELAND created an online loyalty program, it saw conversions rise nearly 8 percent. If your brand sells a consumable product, consider adding a “subscribe and save” button, similar to Amazon.com, to encourage replenishment. Ensuring that customers feel recognized when they arrive on site will only increase the chances that they'll continue to return.
While the brick-and-mortar and online shopping experiences are inherently different, there are ways to replicate touchpoints that consumers have come to expect from your brand in-store on your online platform. By personalizing the customer journey to each individual shopper, expect to see conversions and sales rise through a hands-on approach to e-commerce marketing.
Jay Radia is the co-founder and CEO of Yieldify, an e-commerce customer journey optimization platform that creates customer campaigns that convert into sales and customers for life.
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