Digital Commerce has never been more important than during the current global pandemic. In store shopping has largely ground to a halt, and more and more retailers are scrambling to convert their operations to online. Marketing forecasters predict that online sales will top $27 trillion in 2020, even as annual growth rates slow over the next few years. In these critical times, how can retailers— whether they’ve had an online presence for decades or are relatively new to Digital Commerce best serve their clients?
Given the ubiquity of uncertainty these days, it’s important for Digital Commerce to stay nimble, adjust and adapt their presence quickly to engage and meet their clients needs. Research has shown large increases not only in online shopping but in curbside pick up, and shop online- pickup in person services. Stores are quickly adapting to customers' needs and demands. Their responsiveness is a resounding success with customers. Auto subscription services have also seen a jump. The subscription services market’s revenue is expected to reach almost 10.8 billion U.S. dollars by 2022. Thinking from a customers’ perspective and being creative are a big part of staying agile in the current times.
Best Practices for Digital Commerce
Digital Commerce is addressing the needs of its customers through personalization and UI/UX best practices for easy to use websites and mobile platforms.
Educate vs Assist
“Many times companies struggle to walk the line between educating their online consumers about their brand and helping them find the products they’re looking for as quickly as possible,” said Aaron Linkous, Head of Creative & Design Thinking, Digital Commerce at Encora. He emphasized that to be successful in DigitalCommerce, it is crucial to think like your customers. How much do your customers really need to know about your brand to shop with you? Probably not as much as you might think. Resist the temptation to over-educate your clients and focus on helping them find the products they need.
When designing the navigation, imagine how your customer will use your interface. Don’t over complicate it. Use auto suggest options, autocomplete in search bars, offer social suggestions, recommendations based on recently purchased items, best selling product suggestions, etc., to keep customers engaged and quickly guide them to the products that they’re looking for. In short, simplify your navigation to keep your customers engaged with your platform.
Highly Usable Design
Thinking like a client involves a level of personalization in UI/UX and in marketing. For example if the average shopper to a site is age 55 and over, then the site should offer a larger font size, bigger buttons with more spacing around them to accommodate for conditions such as arthritis, and so forth.
From the performance perspective, the ecommerce website or mobile application should provide a seamless experience to the customers. Its UI/UX should allow for quick load times. Same information and products should be available on both desktop and mobile versions of the website, so that customers who prefer to connect with your brand on one device aren’t missing anything.
A good Digital Commerce site should include clearly defined hierarchies in headlines, fonts, colors, and call to action buttons. The style should be consistent throughout in size and repetition. White space is premium real estate and the more there is of it, the easier it is to digest the information on the page. Use A/B testing and conversion optimization practices. Cookie cutter experiences aren’t the ideal, there’s always room for personalization while still following the best practices.
“Companies that provide the most personalized experiences have the highest opportunity to succeed,” emphasized Linkous. A study found that 80% of customers are more likely to purchase a product or service from a brand that provides personalized experiences.
“But,” he continued, “at the same time a business can’t risk alienating customers that it doesn't know.” The default experience should be just as powerful as the personalized one. That said, using personalization does drive conversions.
One of many ways to personalize an experience is through funnels. Funnels are the means by which a customer arrives at the site, whether it be through an organic google search, an email marketing campaign, or a facebook ad. Each funnel can be personalized so that a customer entering from an email marketing campaign has a slightly different experience than someone who googles the company’s name. If a customer has made purchases in the past then personalization can also be implemented by offering suggestions and similar products.
Encora worked with 1-800 Flowers to personalize their business to staggering success. “When Encora started with their website, their conversion rate was 3% on mobile and they had less than 1,000 transactions a day. Now their conversion rate is three times on an average and they have close to 10,000 transactions per day during busy periods.”
Encora helped develop new avenues of business for the company including, subscription services, B2B platforms, marketing content, new site features, and chatbots for personalized assistance.
But Linkous emphasized, “What will drive success for our customers is having a deep understanding of their e-commerce analytics. If you don’t have clear insight and clean data then it’s hard to make suggestions and prove your hypothesis worked. That analytics is a cultural thing that I would suggest all companies prioritize.”
When you’re looking for a partner to help your company optimize its digital commerce presence, you absolutely want to work with a company who understands your business. A partner should be willing to get into the nitty gritty of the business with you— to really understand your business. They should also ask, what is the most important goal to achieve with the project? What is your business's key metric? From there, together you can develop and implement a road map for success.
Digital commerce is experiencing a new era of growth. This presents a window of opportunity for online retailers to provide their customers with exactly what they are looking for. But to truly connect with their customers, online businesses must be able to pivot quickly, offering new services and preempting customers’ needs by thinking like their customers . On the technology side, digital commerce should follow UI/UX best practices for a simple, informative and easy to use site that seamlessly guides customers through their purchasing process. Personalization is also a key feature that will continue to play an important role in e-commerce conversion rates. Lastly, if a business is considering hiring a professional team to help unlock its potential, it should find a team that prioritizes communication and is willing to do whatever it takes to truly understand the business. It’s an exciting moment to explore what Digital Commerce can do for your business and how it can create meaningful connections with the customers.
Encora’s Digital Commerce solutions have been continuously impacting the performance of more than 300+ enterprises, governments, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations across the world. We have a highly-skilled team of professionals who excel in delivering customizable accessible Digital Commerce solutions. Get in touch to discuss how we can help your business tap into the potential of Digital Commerce!
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