4 Ways retail, e-commerce industries continue customer experience focus
Enhancing customer experience leads to stronger loyalty thus increasing overall sales. This is a fact that the retail industry, especially the e-commerce sector, has figured out and maximizing.
Here is just a sampling of what we’re seeing (and trends you might want to consider if you’re not doing them already):
Did you know that last year, 66 percent of purchases were made online? This means that the online experience must be top-notch, even for stores with a brick and mortar location. An increasing number (more than 60 percent) of those online purchases were made on a mobile device so having a mobile friendly site has been a top priority.
Another reason to have a mobile friendly site is the recent (April 2015) changes to the Google algorithm. This change was all about the mobile experience that brings mobile friendly sites closer to the top of search engine results and pushes non-mobile friendly sites lower in the results. When a customer can’t find your site they obviously can’t buy from your site.
Another SEO- and customer service-related move is providing both content and commerce together on a site. We’re seeing that customers don’t just want a shopping experience where they click on a picture, choose a size or color, and check out. They want to know that the company knows and understands their needs. This is often relayed through a blog and/or strong website content.
Using technology to streamline path to purchase, increase loyalty
Technology is more than just a great website and is a key in streamlining the path to purchase, down to the checking out experience in retail stores. It’s also become key in changing how retail companies develop loyalty from their customers.
From programs such as Square making it easier for even the smallest business owner to take payments (and emailing the receipt!) to simply having websites that have a secure, easy to understand check-out processes, technology plays a major role in making sure customers have an excellent experience. Positive experiences are more likely to bring a customer back to the site (and vice versa).
There’s also been some toying with allowing customers to pay with smartphone apps such as Google Wallet and Apple Pay. We’re interested to see if this continues beyond a select few major companies.
We’ve all heard of getting airline miles or points for purchase. We’re finding those programs are less popular as “everyone” is doing them. An increasing number of companies, such as Walgreens, are creating smartphone apps that personalize the experience and go beyond simple rewards for purchase.
What aspect that is interesting when it comes to technology is the fact that both Baby Boomers and Millenials are major target audiences. Millenials are considered a new, big target market while Baby Boomers have changing needs that must be met. Using technology to work with both, very diverse, markets is essential.
Now, with all this enhanced technology comes increased risk. Data breaches are unfortunately becoming more prevalent. We’re seeing more companies, even the smaller businesses, strive to protect customer data. The only problem is, the more people try to protect the more the bad guys will try to breach. Security is never a “set it and leave it” situation. Small businesses and big companies alike are figuring that out and responding.
An interesting phenomenon has developed over the years as e-commerce has risen to the top. Mostly, storefronts have moved into also offering e-commerce sites. But a growing number of e-commerce stores have started to create storefronts to give customers a place to visit.
An even bigger trend we expect to continue, however, is how storefronts with more than one location are localizing their products. This is nothing new, in fact Walmart has been doing it for years.
Localization will become even more distinct and most stores will find a way to share that what their selling is in fact from local vendors. For example, having local produce in its own special section in the grocery store. Or having locally made artisan items in the gift section.
Increased interest in supply chain practices
It used to be that store owners used a catalog to order their products and just assumed they would show up. As social responsibility and responsible sourcing of products and food become more important to retailers and consumers alike, we’re seeing more interest in all aspects of the supply chain.
Store owners want to know where their supplies are coming from, who is making them, and who is delivering them. This is true for product components down to the finished product that goes on the shelves (or on the website). We know how important it is to be aware of not only where your items are coming , but also how they are getting to the final destination so we applaud this growing trend.
As e-commerce and retail grows and changes, we at On Time Logistics strive to maintain a positive customer experience for our clients as they work to better serve their clients. We are involved in nearly every part of the supply chain delivery process, including warehousing. We use technology to enhance the experience as well. We believe that any time customers are the main focus, businesses will succeed.