Insights · 6 min read

7 ways leading ecommerce brands stay agile

The FullStory Team
Posted December 14, 2021
7 ways leading ecommerce brands stay agile

According to a FullStory survey, 85% of consumers say that a great digital experience is as or more important than a great in-store experience.

For modern retailers, meeting customers’ changing needs and growing expectations is an ongoing, multifaceted challenge—one that requires attention, agility, and analytics.

In a panel with Optimizely and Rightpoint, we asked experts to share key trends and pivots among retailers who have successfully navigated these challenging times. The panelists were: 

  • Amanda Myers, Head of Product Marketing at FullStory

  • Lea Howland, Product Evangelist at Optimizely

  • Stephanie Bannos, VP, Global Head of CX Strategic Solutions at Rightpoint

Here’s a summary of the seven guideposts they’ve offered for retail pros in a digital-first world. 

Access the full recording of the webinar here: Unlocking human behaviors in retail. 

1. Acquisition and retention beat win-back strategies

At Rightpoint, a digital agency, Stephanie Bannos’ team encourages clients to think about re-engaging customers before they’re lost—rather than winning them back. The payoff is far lower for win-back strategies than it is for acquisition and retention strategies, she says. 

What’s the best way to do this? By establishing a culture of experimentation and creating an efficient cycle of turning insights into actions.

Stephanie also suggests that if you’re having trouble seeing results from your site experiments, you might have an audience/strategy mismatch, and can try switching up how you define customer segments. 

Overall, the panel’s recommendation is to work toward an experimentation cycle that’s an always-on part of your digital experience strategy

2. Every customer touchpoint should be conversion-ready

There’s a well-documented idiom—dating back before social media—that a prospective customer needs an average of seven encounters with your brand before they’ll make a purchase. It’s still true, but today, each encounter must also offer the opportunity to purchase.

The increase in online shopping—and specifically mobile shopping, which now accounts for 73% of online purchases—has caused many ecommerce pros to focus on each customer touchpoint. Where social media ads were once viewed as brief stops along the omnichannel purchase journey, they’re now a key driver of online sales. 

For ecommerce brands, this means that every point in the omnichannel experience should be conversion-ready—whether it’s a product page on your website or the link in your Instagram bio. 

3. Customer feedback loops should be holistic and instantaneous 

Your customers’ shopping needs move quickly. While gathering customer feedback through interviews and surveys is still an important piece of understanding a digital journey, you need a faster, hands-free way to collect customer data as well. 

This is where Digital Experience Intelligence—and specifically customer journey mapping—revolutionizes your customer feedback process. Using DXI to develop a customer journey mapping strategy enables you to be proactive about improving the digital experience, even when customers don’t provide direct feedback about and issue they’ve encountered or a change they’d like to see.

The best way to create a customer feedback cycle that’s both speedy and holistic is by gathering quantitative and qualitative data about the customer journey. Here’s how each type of data helps you improve the customer journey:

  • Quantitative metrics allow you to analyze common user pathways through the customer experience with journey mapping.

  • Qualitative data lets you investigate real user journeys through Session Replay to get the context behind the actions and paths chosen by each customer.

Pairing quantitative experience metrics with powerful, qualitative contextual detail creates a continuous feedback loop for improving the digital experience.

For more on using customer journey mapping to achieve action-ready insights, download our guide to using journey maps for action-ready insights.

4. Balance DX basics with more sophisticated elements

A good digital ecommerce experience is user-friendly, free of bugs, and allows your customer to view products and make purchases seamlessly. Those are the basics. 

A great digital experience has mastered each of the basic elements and incorporates additional, more sophisticated digital experience elements.

For example, a retailer might have a functional, easy-to-use site experience, with no bells and whistles. Another very similar retailer might have all of those basic elements, with the addition of a chatbot that provides customer experience instantaneously. According to the presenters, if presented with these two options, a shopper is likely to choose the retailer that offers the chat option because they know that will be a better experience if they need support for their order. 

Create a frictionless ecommerce experience with the power of Digital Experience Intelligence.

Request a demo of FullStory today.

5. Your competitors aren’t your only competition 

Your customers are becoming more and more digitally savvy—and more and more able to quickly recognize a subpar online experience.

Accordingly, in your customers’ eyes, your brand’s digital experience is actually competing with the last great digital experience they had, whether that’s a bank, coffee shop, or clothing store. When it comes to digital experiences, comparing apples and oranges actually works. 

If a shopper has an excellent experience with a specialty online shoe retailer, and then a dreadful experience with a specialty online sunglasses retailer, the shopper can and will compare the two. As digital experiences progress, customers are becoming more adept at recognizing—and seeking out—excellent ones in their online shopping

For the digital experience to be a competitive advantage, online retailers need to proactively evaluate and improve the customer experience—rather than simply responding to reported issues as they crop up. Customer journey mapping is a great way to implement this type of DX evaluation into your strategy, as it allows retailers to see and analyze how specific customer segments navigate the digital experience. By using journey mapping to find opportunities to tailor to customers’ differing needs, an online retailer can create an advantage over the competition.

6. The in-store experience has some catching up to do 

The pandemic has had major ramifications for online and in-store shopping experiences. 

Specifically, in-store customers expect retail associates to be able to do anything that the customer can do on the website—from viewing past orders to seeing customer support communications.

Where a POS system was once all a retail associate needed, they now need an interface that surfaces a customers’ entire interaction history to best serve them in-store.

7. Customers are the real winners 

Despite the chaos, there’s a happy ending. Ultimately, the changes in the retail industry are benefiting customers in productive ways.

Offering an excellent digital customer experience has been a best practice for as long as ecommerce has existed, and now it’s becoming a competitive requirement. Retailers are striving to become more customer-centric, to be more thoughtful about the ideal customer journey, and to encourage customer empathy among their teams—ultimately making customers’ lives easier and creating more delightful online shopping experiences.

No matter where you are in your digital experience journey, FullStory’s data and analytics have the answers you need.

Schedule a demo today.

The FullStory TeamContributor

About the author

Our team of digital experience intelligence experts shares tips and best practices.

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