How to optimize the ecommerce experience for online and in-store
Brands today face a host of challenges to maintain growth and retain loyalty from customers. Optimizing the commerce experience for all settings, touchpoints, and environments will be the next frontier for the world’s leading retailers.
Marketers will need to become customer experience designers that can merge digital and physical customer journeys to provide a genuine omnichannel retail service. Consumers remain invested in physical retail experiences while not being excessively impartial about ecommerce’s advantages.
The main challenge will be to meet both needs if you want to succeed over the next decade. Bloomberg predicts that even with the effects of the last few years and the rapid expansion of ecommerce channels, it will still only make up 35% of total retail sales by 2025.
Providing a unified customer journey will be central to the modern consumer’s experience.
Why brands should be enhancing the commerce experience
For omnichannel brands, reputation damage can occur quickly when in-store experience or digital service doesn’t satisfy a customer’s expectations. Lower entry barriers in the ecommerce market with improved SaaS retail offers put brick-and-mortar operations under immense pressure. At the same time, the same holds for digital retailers with a complicated checkout process.
Retail optimization across all servicing channels within a dense shopping network requires brands to focus on proximity and accessibility. During each customer journey, you have an opportunity to increase your conversions and create a loyal following of return buyers.
Some of the main benefits of optimizing commerce experiences are:
Increased conversion rate – A frictionless journey and an optimized retail experience makes it easy for new customers to become regular shoppers.
Brand recognition – Any positive experience with a brand leads to increased recognition from word-of-mouth, positive reviews or repeat buyers.
Loyal customers – Customers support brands that provide personalized experiences for both digital and physical touchpoints.
According to McKinsey, Buy Online and Pickup in Store (or BOPIS) sales will be one of the critical differentiators for modern brands in the future, following the pattern of current consumer behavior.
5 ways brands are optimizing commerce for in-store and online
Any brand that needs to optimize its customer experience for improved sales both online and in-store needs to adjust strategies according to the latest data. Personalization is one of the cornerstones of modern marketing. Brands can optimize their experience designs according to the following five strategies when armed with the right information.
1. Providing click and collect purchases
Consumers want to base their purchasing decisions with retailers around their daily lives, and a click and collect (or BOPIS) service goes a long way in improving their convenience. The fact that a customer will know precisely when the product will be in their possession and have some form of control over this process remains an empowering experience and provides greater satisfaction.
Giving consumers the option to either wait for a delivery or purchase online and collect an item themselves remains one of the best ways to optimize your commerce experience.
2. Embracing change in consumer behavior
The next best thing you can do is embrace the changes in consumer perceptions and behavior. This requires you to listen to customers and iterate different experiences to optimize engagement and conversion.
Digital experience platforms (DXPs) provide you with the tools you need to consistently optimize your experience designs and deliver engaging journeys to each customer.
3. Bring the store to digital and digital to the store
One of the main benefits of shopping online is sharing experiences over social media. The same applies to augmented reality (AR) and immersive shopping experiences. Stores that can integrate physical and digital personalization into the customer journey will become more popular with consumers.
An omnichannel experience design that leverages all the latest technologies and trends for both digital and physical commerce will be essential for growing brands in the future.
4. Seamless transitions across touchpoints
A growing trend among shoppers is to conduct research online before heading out and buying in person. The loyalty in these situations may seem negligible, but if you are the authoritative voice on a product and provide consumers with the easiest way to acquire it, they will trust you for years to come.
Customers who feel like they are making informed decisions can help increase sales both in-store and online. Providing detailed product information online can help drive visitors to your physical locations as well. Your journey maps and experience experiments must include these considerations to remain effective.
5. Reviewing and optimizing commerce experiences
Experimentation can help brands uncover insights quickly and adapt strategies and campaigns that resonate with customers both online and in physical locations. Brands will need to use advanced segmentation to iterate different journeys to find an optimized and personalized retail experience.
A shrinking cost barrier between experience design tools and experimentation solutions helps brands optimize their customer journeys frequently. A DXP allows marketers, product designers and sales teams to work collaboratively across each distribution channel.
Delivering optimized commerce experiences with Optimizely
For brands that need to create optimized commerce experiences that bridge the gap between digital and physical settings, an experience optimization platform is invaluable. Optimizely has an integrated and diverse set of technologies to help you understand your consumers and design experiences that exceed expectations every time.
To discuss your needs with a team that understands the ins and outs of optimizing commerce experiences, request a demo today.