Be Your Customer's Best Friend and Follow Their Path to Purchase: Part 1
Posted by Shaziya B on Thursday, June 16, 2016 - 18:45
The evolution of e-commerce is unstoppable. This means that online retailers need to adopt proper big data strategies to ensure their businesses are also growing with the trend.
In this two-part series, we will explore specific strategies to set your business above the rest:
Shopping online is the go-to for millions of people around the world. Why? Because it’s easy.
This wasn’t always the case, though. It used to be tedious. Consumers had to sort through several pages to find what they wanted. Billing information had to be re-entered and addresses couldn’t be verified.
Then there were times where the customer didn’t know what to buy - they simply had the intent to buy. That’s where it became increasingly important for businesses to use big data and follow their customers’ decision journey from the beginning.
Fluidity: It’s not just science, it’s shopping, too.
The physical appearance of a product is one’s first indication of purchase. There used to be just one image of a product, at one angle, and the customer had to decide whether they liked the item off that limited information. It’s pertinent now that the images come to life. By providing multiple angles, 360-degree views, the ability to ‘try on’ products with the ergonomics of one’s face (i.e. sunglasses), or test colors to specific skin tones, your customer is able to get an in-store experience without actually having to be there. It’s, for the lack of a more encompassing word, awesome.
Of course, this ensures that the customer knows what they’re buying, and takes away the need to handle a strenuous refund or exchange process.
Additionally, the organization of the site plays a big role in usability.
Rather than having customers navigate through hundreds of items to find what they’re looking for, a simple search feature and specific categories make the purchasing journey that much easier.
The flow from search to item creates a user-friendly shopping experience, reflecting both convenience and accuracy.
Ease is ultimate.
An important aspect of the new-age e-commerce is simple: Reduce the number of barriers between the customer and the purchase.
This is also done through a variety of simple fixes:
Address and payment information? Verify the information using a data validation service to avoid identity fraud, but also to ensure the items reach the correct address.
Questions? Appropriate in your budget a customer service department that can be reached via phone or e-mail, or through a simple chat option through your website.
Size? Include size charts.
By offering these amenities, you’re giving the customer less time to think of reasons for ‘why,’ and more time for, ‘how.’ It the customer thinks, chances are, they’ll realize they don’t need or want the item they’re about to buy, or they’ll decide to hold off and leave you with an empty commitment.
Many marketing games can and should be played, but in the end, the result is that of a chess game: checkmate. Both for the business and the buyer.
It should never be ‘The End.’
You’ve made a sale. Your customer has received the item. Now what?
There’s always more.
E-commerce retailers thrive on customer satisfaction to ensure the quality of their business, but also to keep the customer coming back for more. A retailer should contact the customer and invite them to complete a public review. The customer may or may not participate, but they will surely feel comforted by their purchase and will think of you the next time they want to make a similar purchase.
The retailer’s goal should be that customers share their top-notch experience not just with a group of friends, but with millions of people.
There’s also the possibility that a purchase wasn’t made. Again, follow up. Big data not only provides you with information such as specific items in a given customer’s cart, but also the ability to follow the customer’s internet journey. Hey, as long as the browser cookies are enabled, you best bet you can stay with them.
With proper reminders, more often than not, a customer goes back to the retailer’s website and makes a purchase.
The consumer journey is an ongoing cycle, but it is important for the retailer to keep alive the intent to buy. Shopping online began as a way of convenience, but it has now become a user experience meant to be compatible with in-store purchases.
With several kinks resolved, such as errors in addresses and lack of personalized customer service, the e-commerce market continues to evolve into an imperative part of consumerism.
Stay tuned for part two of How to Use Big Data to Shape the E-Commerce Customer Journey.