The Salesperson of the Year Is Your Digital Storefront: A Guide to Perfecting Your Customer Experience for Peak Season
(This is part three of our series on "Preparing Your Site for Peak Season." If you haven’t already read the Five P’s of Peak Performance: A Guide to Preparing Your Infrastructure or Succeeding in the New Face-to-Face: A Guide to Preparing your Digital Storefront, we recommend reading these posts first.)
Between the Delta variant and wild weather swings, online selling will once again drive sales in the coming holiday season. It’s also likely to start early—and deliver even bigger rewards. As of early November last year, 59 percent of consumers had already started shopping for the holidays. And forecasts from eMarketer, suggest that US holiday ecommerce sales could rise 11.3 percent—and ecommerce could account for a record 18.9 percent of holiday retail sales.
Hopefully, you’ve already begun preparing your site(s) and infrastructure for high traffic. As noted above, online traffic is likely to start rising well before Cyber Week arrives. Another area where you should focus your preparations is the shopping experience itself and ensuring it will convert website visitors into customers.
In a traditional store, your team can roam the floor, looking for opportunities to engage, discuss choices, answer questions, and sell to your customers. A great user experience on your digital storefront acts as the sales team of the online realm, not just delighting customers but actively becoming your greatest salesperson, engaging thousands of visitors in an instant.
To help you turn the customer experience on your site(s) into their own salesperson of the year, Adobe has prepared a Site Assessment Checklist. You and your team can use this tool to verify that all the fine-tuning needed to perfect your site and engage your customers is in place ahead of the most important time of the year.
Read on for more tips and information on the recommended steps in the checklist.
There’s an important reason Adobe’s Assessment Checklist starts with asking whether your customers can easily shop your site on their mobile devices. Although mobile sales are growing fast, shoppers are still not satisfied with the average mobile commerce experience. In 2020, 27% of consumers advised that shopping on a smartphone was "stressful", compared to 20% in 2019 and 23% in 2018.
One way you can gauge how well your mobile shopping experience is performing is to compare your past mobile web traffic to your mobile web conversion rates. Generally speaking, when customer acquisition is done right and web traffic rises, conversions should be higher. If you have high volumes of mobile traffic but low conversions, then your mobile experience or your customer acquisition model—or both—could use some work.
Some critical checkpoints to ensuring your site is mobile-first include:
- Make sure product information is readable on mobile devices without the need to zoom or "pinch" the screen.
- Use payment form best practices, such as those recommended here, including removing unnecessary fields, using graphical elements where possible, and testing checkout performance.
- Give shoppers access to all website functionality through your mobile site without making them switch to desktop view.
- Keep your mobile interface simple and straightforward and provide clear pathways for shoppers to take action.
Build a Loyal Relationship with New and Existing Customers
You’ve spent the ad dollars to attract new customers, convinced them to make a purchase through hard work on perfecting your site, executed delivery of the product or service, and ultimately delighted the customer with a great experience. Don’t let the hard work and cost of providing that experience go to waste by failing to provide a loyalty program for your customers. Loyalty programs can increase revenue and the size of your customer base over time. And they can give you data on how best to personalize marketing to your existing customers.
Adobe Commerce natively supports customer loyalty programs. Its flexible points system lets you reward shoppers for a wide range of transactions, activities, and even promotions, and you can easily customize your program through an intuitive configuration screen.
Personalize Your Site with Great Search, Filtering, and Product Recommendations
A great search experience on your site is critical to the customer experience for all users, no matter the device they use to shop your digital storefront. Adobe Commerce now offers Live Search, a native search capability that delivers lightning fast, hyper-relevant results. Powered by Adobe Sensei, it uses artificial intelligence and machine-learning algorithms to perform a deep analysis of aggregated visitor data.
This data, when combined with your Adobe Commerce catalog, results in highly engaging, relevant, and personalized shopping experiences. It delivers smarter filtering, semantic search and auto-complete, allowing customers to find what they’re looking for in less time—and with less scrolling.
Adobe Commerce also uses Adobe Sensei to power personalized Product Recommendations. It analyzes massive amounts of customer behavior and purchase data automatically to recommend the most relevant items to a particular user in a given context. Recommendations can be personalized according to user-specific data or generalized for anonymous users browsing your web pages. It’s also easy to add Product Recommendations to your site.
The ability to leverage social media for online retailers can often seem like a secret recipe only known to a select few, but the reality is that turning social media value into sales is a matter of old-fashioned attention to detail.
Word on the Street
Social media is the new "word of mouth." Get into that conversation by making sure your customers can share and like your business across all of the major social media platforms in your country or region. Make sure that on each of these sites, you have a channel, page, or handle for your business, preferably one managed at least part time by a paid professional on staff. One last reminder: Don’t forget video platforms, such as YouTube or TikTok, play a role in helping customers make purchasing decisions.
Get to Know One Another
Providing your customer with the ability to register with your site by using their social media login is one of the best ways to encourage new customers to become part of your business’ social and content ecosystem. The benefit is that you quickly establish your social media presence to the customer, which can help them associate your business as an organic part of their social media environment. And, of course, it quickly achieves the goal of registering the customer with your own site, as well.
Shoppable and Consistent
It’s also never been easier to offer shoppable social media, which can provide customers with a whole new framework to view and understand your products. The impact of seeing a product demonstrated "in real life," be that in static photos or in videos shared across a multitude of posts, unboxings, and more can really help customers to visualize the product for themselves.
And one final reminder, for both social media and across the Internet: Be sure that calls to action and offers posted in your ads are consistent with what a customer will find once they land on your site. After all the money and effort is expended to get a customer to click into your site via an ad, a social post, or shoppable social media, don’t let it be wasted on an experience for the customer that is misaligned with what they were told to expect.