5 Expert Tips on How Ecommerce Stores Can Increase Revenue Now
Jack Maden | June 15, 2016
Jack Maden | June 15, 2016
The web accounted for 7.3% of worldwide retail sales in 2015, and market research firm eMarketer projects that this will grow to 12.4% by 2019.
In light of this, we asked ecommerce experts for five ways analysts and optimizers can ensure their sites are in the best shape possible to harness the ever-rising global tide of online shopping.
1. Ensure your website works flawlessly for every device and browser
This might seem an obvious one, but it’s often overlooked. Is the experience you’re offering really the best it could be for every device out there?
“Mobile first,” says April Spicer, Experience Director at Razorfish (pictured right). “The stats don’t lie – shopping, and in particular browsing, are mobile and only becoming more so. And even when a shopper is on a tablet or computer, the simplicity that comes with a mobile-focused design approach leads to good things.”
“I would go one step beyond a mobile first strategy and focus on a device agnostic strategy,” says Brett Bair, Senior Director of Client Advocacy at Monetate. “Make sure things just work no matter how you are interacting with the site.”
Leah Ryz, UX Research Lead at Usablenet (pictured left), says, “Key stakeholders are starting to realize that mobile, and perhaps digital overall, is a strategic imperative, and they need to think and design user-centrically.”
We can all agree it’s important to consider every device. But how can you go about investigating the way in which different devices and browsers render your website?
Error reporting will reveal which devices and browsers struggle from a technical standpoint; but to understand which devices cause user experience problems, it’s essential to collect qualitative data. This means watching recordings of user sessions, conducting on-site surveys, and collecting direct customer feedback.
Watching back recordings of individual user sessions illuminates device-specific frustrations in a way that traditional analytics cannot.
Say a mobile user on Chrome is filling out a checkout form, and a hard-to-close pop up covers the submit button, preventing them from completing the purchase. By watching back a recording of this session, you instantly empathize with how annoying that is, and it’s this kind of immediate emotional insight that you just can’t get from traditional analytics.
2. Offer a seamless, unified experience across all channels
A complex customer journey presents multiple challenges to an ecommerce store – and many still get multichannel wrong.
“If I want my customers to love my brand and all it offers,” April says, “I’m going to make sure the experience I provide them is continuous across channels, both online and off. I dream of a future where lifestyle and retail are seamlessly – and beautifully – integrated.”
“I believe omnichannel will become industry-standard within the next few years,” Leah says. “Consumers want products faster and available at the touch of a button, regardless of where they happen to be at the time. For example, they may be lying on their sofa with unlimited bandwidth, or on a bus on the way to work with a dying battery. Regardless of device or ‘channel’, if a business can’t meet their expectations, they’ll simply go elsewhere.”
Tracking the performance of a brand’s multichannel offering can be a challenge. As Leah’s example illustrates, consumers access websites and apps in whichever way is convenient to them at the time.
Some ecommerce stores address this challenge by assigning a unique user ID to customers whenever they register an account. This is used for internal CRMs, but can also be passed to analytics tools like Decibel Insight, which can then offer a complete view of a particular user’s entire interaction with a brand – regardless of device or channel.
3. Build your platform entirely around your customers, in terms of both feedback and value
“If I want that continuous experience to be outstanding,” April continues, “I’m going to steadily look at and listen to what customers say and do via a healthy program of both qualitative and quantitative research.”
Combining qualitative and quantitative research is vital for building a picture of customer experience. To gauge the happiness of your customers, don’t just track them – ask them!
Brett, meanwhile, says, “I would start from the belief that not all customers are created equal and would very carefully define and refine the attributes that make a good customer for my business and aggressively seek those customers.”
“The most successful businesses put users at the core of everything” Leah says, “and their site works hard for the user - never the other way around.”
Peter Fader, professor of marketing at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (pictured right), says: “It should be all about customer valuation. Retailers have always focused on the profitably of the products they sell, but (at best), give lip service to the profitability of the customers who buy them.”
“Until recently,” he continues, “this was understandable since it was hard (if not impossible) for retailers to determine customer lifetime value (CLV), but it’s becoming far easier – and far more important – than ever before to do so. Retailers need to wake up to the new era of customer centricity, and start using tangible metrics for customer profitability to drive almost every aspect of their business.”
4. Tailor experiences for each individual user
“I feel strongly that personalization will become a must-have component to a retail strategy,” Brett (pictured left) predicts.
Indeed, be it recommending products based on past purchases or remembering checkout details, a personalized experience is no longer just a boon for customers – it’s expected. With that in mind, it’s imperative for brands to segment their audiences and use relevant messaging for each of those segments.
5. Analyze and optimize the performance of your forms
As Decibel Insight CEO Ben Harris says in CIO Magazine: "Optimizing your online checkout forms in time for the holiday season is paramount. We've found that when confronted with an unnecessarily complicated or lengthy form online, potential customers may simply abandon the checkout process out of frustration. After succeeding in the hard work of getting them there, losing conversions due to an unoptimized form is far from ideal.
“Form analytics tools such as Decibel Insight show a breakdown of the customer's interaction with your form stage by stage, revealing any frictions. This kind of insight is invaluable when it comes to optimizing your checkout process."
Our experts offered some fantastic tips for increasing online revenue. If you’d like to investigate the topic further, then be sure to check out Decibel Insight's comprehensive - and free! - conversion optimization guide. It's packed full of industry insight, techniques, and expert advice.
Get the full lowdown on how to measure and improve experiences with our ultimate guide to ecommerce and online retail.