CX is a trend that will only get more sophisticated for online retail. Tink Taylor provides essential insights into the key CX strategies leading the way in brand success.
E-commerce gives consumers access to retail therapy from the comfort of their own homes and thanks to more integrated marketing technology, consumer choices are skyrocketing by the day. As the marketing landscape becomes more consumer-focused, more and more brands are realising the importance of creating an engaging customer experience (CX). Although companies are using tools to collect and analyse customer data, they are not committing wholeheartedly to a customer-centric strategy.
The 2020 Hitting the Mark global e-commerce benchmark report, launched recently by dotdigital, reveals how brands are performing with respect to their digital efforts. The report, which surveyed 100 global brands across four regions (the UK, the USA, EMEA, and APAC), highlights both the successes and key areas of improvement.
Adaption of emerging technologies: Live Chat
The advent of emerging technologies has impacted the e-commerce industry and one widely adopted channel is live chat. According to the report, 71 percent of global brands have bots or dedicated customer service teams manning social media channels, on hand, to answer customer queries.
The report found 33 percent of brands had live chat featuring prominently across their sites, with 64 percent responding to customer queries within 60 seconds – a pretty impressive response time. Making its debut to the scoring criteria, live chat adoption is a clear reflection of a brands’ dedication towards improving customer experience and meeting customer expectations.
The importance of effective communication
Effective communication is key, and businesses must engage with customers at the right time with the right message, through the right channel. In addition to personalised and tailored messaging, present-day customers also prefer to be contacted by their channel of choice. Therefore, investing in a multi-way communication strategy does not only help businesses to meet customer preferences but also improve customer experience.
Of the 100 brands who participated, 34 percent made preferred channels accessible in emails, whereas a whopping 80 percent of brands weren’t offering alternative communication channels at all. Empowering subscribers to choose the type of communications they wish to receive, and their preferred channels, not only enhances their brand experience but also makes them feel valued. By not doing so, brands are consistently failing to deliver the experience that customers demand.
Alternate payment methods
A new phenomenon that is shaping the future of e-commerce is alternate payment methods (APMs). This has enabled brands to integrate flexible payment options into their platforms, providing customers with an alternative way of paying over traditional methods such as credit or debit cards. APMs are proving to boost average order value (AOV), conversion rates, and repeat purchases.
Interestingly, the survey shows 87 percent of brands offered alternative payment methods, with 81 percent offering a guest checkout. Additionally, retailers that promote alternative payment options in their marketing activity often see a 10x increase in sales, showing what a powerful message payment choice can be in driving customer acquisition and lifetime value.
Over the past few years, the focus of customer engagement has shifted from mass, ‘push-based’ marketing towards personalised one-on-one communications. While there has been a significant rise in conversational channels like live chat, brands are still failing to adopt SMS or display ads. The key to having a better understanding of consumers and reshaping relationships in an experience-based economy is going omnichannel. On average, brands scored a low 18 percent against dotdigital’s omnichannel experience criteria.
It’s proven that factors such as segmentation and post-purchase journeys play a vital role in delivering an exceptional online experience. However, data showed that two-thirds of brands didn’t use segmentation and 53 percent didn’t request post-purchase reviews. On top of that, only 43 percent of brands sent an automated abandoned cart email.
Another important tactic to connect with customers is having a loyalty program. When brand loyalty isn’t rewarded, brands fail to establish an emotional connection with shoppers. According to the report, 80 percent of surveyed brands have not adopted this strategy. As a result, brands are falling behind in maximising opportunities to convert one-time buyers into frequent purchasers. So how do you keep your customers coming back? The answer is by creating a loyalty program that is as thoughtful, delightful, and on-brand as the rest of your customer experience.
Tailored marketing programs are vital to establishing an emotional bond with customers. Once customers are loyal, one-third of them will spend more on products even when there are cheaper options elsewhere and 56 percent will refer their friends to their favourite brands. Similarly, when it comes to redemption options, retailers should go beyond discounts and offer free shipping on gifts, unique brand experiences, or early access to new products and sales.
APAC brands staying ahead of the curve
This year 20 brands across Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore were reviewed for Hitting the Mark report. According to the study, 60 percent of APAC brands were sending cart recovery emails to rescue lost revenue and maximise every sales opportunity. While demonstrating a commitment to the continuous improvement of the email journey, 60 percent of the brands requested feedback or offered an alternative subscription to those who unsubscribed. This was 25 percent higher than the next highest senders in EMEA.
Half of the brands researched sent at least one post-purchase review email, which ranked them second globally. The inclusion of user-generated content on product pages is a great strategy and has proven to improve page conversion rates. While UK-based retailers dominated the top four positions, the fifth position was taken by Australian retailer THE ICONIC, who use smart technology to connect with customers and deliver unforgettable experiences. Other APAC brands in the top 20 include; HipVan, Cotton On, The Warehouse, SurfStitch, and CHARLES & KEITH.
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