The busiest time of year for digital retail stores is fast approaching. IT’S CHRIIIIIIIIIISTMAAAAAS. In light of this, I’ve mined Decibel Insight’s expert interview series on ecommerce for five ways you can ensure your site is in the best shape possible to receive all those hungry Christmas consumers.
1. Ensure your site works flawlessly for every device
“Mobile first,” says April Spicer, Experience Director at Razorfish. “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, 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.”
2. Offer a seamless, unified experience across all channels
“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.”
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.”
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, 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 predicts.
Indeed, our recent series on personalization explored this aspect of ecommerce optimization in detail. With the sheer volume of data available on how customers are interacting with your site, not using it to improve the experience of those customers seems foolhardy – especially as personalization becomes increasingly adopted across the industry. 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.
5. Analyze and optimize the performance of your forms
As Decibel Insight’s 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.
Do you have any other tips for optimizing a digital retail site in time for Christmas? Let us know in the comments below.
This post originally appeared on Decibel Insight’s blog.Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community