Ah, the great outdoors. Full of fresh air, open skies, and…“too many mountains”?
Yep, someone actually said that. Every year, there are people who visit the US national parks and are so underwhelmed by nature’s canvas that they decide to express their disappointment in online reviews. It’s a phenomenon so prevalent that someone wrote a book about it.
It may seem ridiculous, but in the age of the Internet, people expect enjoyable experiences in practically everything they do. And if an experience doesn’t live up to their expectations, they can swiftly take action to express their disappointment, like leaving a negative review or simply going somewhere else.
This is especially true when it comes to online shopping. And while Mother Nature doesn’t stand to lose much from a few disappointed patrons, your brand most likely does.
In ecommerce, we hear a lot about the importance of a good “customer experience” and how to create a seamless customer journey. But what exactly does this mean? And how can you be sure your brand is living up to customer expectations?
While many brands claim to recognize the importance of customer experience and the customer journey, they don’t always practice what they preach. Whether it be from operating in silos or not embracing an omnichannel approach, many brands are missing out on potential sales.
In this article, we’re going to explore why customer experience is so important and how to improve the experience customers have with your brand.
What is customer experience?
Customer experience is the response consumers have to any interaction with your company. Interactions can be direct, such as when purchasing your products. Or they can be indirect, such as hearing about someone else’s experience with your brand.
Customer experience considers how shoppers feel at each touchpoint throughout their buying journey with your brand—from navigating your website or physical store to their interactions with customer services and, of course, receiving your product.
Why is customer experience important?
Good customer experience creates a simple, seamless path to purchase and results in a positive customer buying journey. If a customer has a positive experience with a brand, they are more likely to shop with that brand again. Essentially, happy customers become loyal customers.
Let’s take a look at some key customer experience stats below:
- According to SuperOffice, 80% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience.
- ThinkJar says 67% of consumers cite bad customer experience as a reason for churn.
- PWC says 32% of consumers will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience.
- The same PWC report says that 73% of consumers indicated that customer experience plays an important role in their purchasing decisions.
- The report also indicates that 80% of US customers say speed, convenience, knowledgeable help, and friendly service are the most important elements of a positive customer experience.
What are the benefits of good customer experience?
Now that we’ve covered the importance of good customer experience, let’s take a look at some of the benefits.
When customers have a positive experience with a brand, they remember it. Good customer experience creates customer loyalty and also promotes retention. Research from PwC found that customers are also more likely to try additional services or products from brands that provide a superior customer experience.
A well-designed, customer-centric website creates better trust between brands and buyers. Consumers are getting savvier, so if your website does not seem trustworthy, they will exit and buy from a website that does. Additionally, creating personalized experiences for customers will also help form long-lasting relationships and build trust.
Encouraging word-of-mouth advertising
There is no better advertisement than word-of-mouth—and shoppers will often talk about exceptional customer experience. According to ThinkJar, 72% of consumers will share a positive experience with six or more people. This means that if a customer has a particularly good experience with your brand, it’s highly likely they will share this with their friends, family, and colleagues, which will lead to new customer acquisition. And if you provide your new customers with a positive experience, the cycle will continue.
Helping you stand out from competitors
Good customer experience goes a long way. Customers expect a positive experience, and they will stay away if they receive a poor one. Going the extra mile will help your brand to stand out against its competitors. According to PwC, 54% of US consumers say customer experience at most companies needs improvement, so providing a superior customer experience certainly won’t go unnoticed. The free next-day delivery or responsive customer service you offer will be remembered!
Increasing conversion rates
The better your customer experience and buying journey, the better your chance of converting browsers into buyers. Creating relationships with your customers that actually help them on their buying journey will increase conversion rate. Providing detailed product pages, customer reviews, a simple path to purchase, and efficient delivery will all aid in the relationship you create with new and existing customers.
How can you improve customer experience?
According to PwC, the secret to first-class customer experience combines the following five factors:
- Human touch
Creating an experience that combines these elements with minimal friction and stress will increase customer loyalty and retention.
Here are some tips for brands who want to improve their online user experience:
1. Know your audience
Understanding who you are selling to and creating a user-centered website will improve your overall customer experience.
2. Keep it simple
Creating a simple path to purchase will make the customer buying journey much more positive. The more complex your website, the higher the user drop-off rate will be.
3. Carry out A/B testing
Finding out what converts browsers into buyers and where consumers exit your website can help improve your online customer experience. Carrying out A/B tests is a great way to do this.
4. Understand CTA placement
Call to action positioning is very important. Think about the best CTA placement for a high conversion rate. Make sure CTAs are positioned in a visible place (i.e. above the fold).
What about user experience?
User experience (UX) plays a massive role in customer browsing and buying behavior. The differences between customer experience and user experience are subtle, but they’re worth exploring:
- User Experience (UX): How the product is seen and how the user interacts with it.
- Customer Experience (CX): A customer’s experience with and how they feel about a brand. There is no CX without UX.
Developing a UX strategy
There are two main elements brands should consider when implementing a user experience strategy.
- User Flow: How users navigate a website, how users consume a website’s content, and how they convert.
- Red Routes: How the process takes place, creating the quickest path to product pages for website users and ensuring your website is as easy to use and intuitive as possible.
Create a better customer experience
Every customer has their own buying preferences. The best brand websites empower people to choose the retailers and fulfillment methods they want, without jumping through hoops and heading back to search engines.
With Where to Buy technology, customers can shop your brand online and in-store at a selection of retailers, and you can display them together in one widget. The widget can be customized to fit individual brand styles and added to brand ecommerce sites. Plus, with our live reporting dashboard, you can gain data and insights into customer shopping behavior across all retail partners.