There are countless factors currently affecting online retailers. From trying to navigate the post-Covid decline in ecommerce penetration to the wider retail landscape facing a storm of downward-demand and supply-side pressures. In today’s dynamic realm of retail, the best return on investment is found by capitalising on the customers already coming to store, rather than spending more money on acquiring additional customers. This means all measures should be taken to reduce friction and enhance conversion rates to make the most of investments.
Innovation Analyst, Molly Walsh, has delved into the world of online customer retention and has identified five key aspects of the customer journey. All of which are friction-reducing tools addressing the customer journey from the point at which a shopper lands on site until the moment the purchase has been completed.
What is the customer journey?
A customer journey is the set of interactions that a customer has with a brand in buying a service or product. It maps out the entire path of engagement, starting from the initial brand discovery, extending through the purchase process, and continuing even after the purchase is made.
The focus isn’t only on transactions, it’s also about how the customer feels after every interaction with the brand. It can be used as a strategy to gain insights on the customer’s experience throughout their buying process. That’s why it’s crucial to have the right technology to enhance the online customer journey.
Strategically Curating the Technology Stack
A common pitfall emerged during the pandemic-induced ecommerce boom - overloading the technology stack. This resulted in redundant tools, overlapping functionalities, and overwhelmed teams. To avoid this, retailers must thoughtfully select tools that complement each other, fostering a cohesive technology stack. Vigilant and periodic assessments of the stack ensure alignment with business goals and efficient resource allocation.
Navigating the Friction Conundrum
Minimising friction along the customer journey is a key focus in ecommerce, but not all friction is detrimental. There is a distinction between bad and good friction. Bad friction hampers conversion rates and customer experience, while good friction empowers customers by involving them in decision-making processes. Retailers should aim to remove the former while preserving the latter, as good friction contributes to customer loyalty and trust.
Best-in-Class Ecommerce Enablers
We explore a range of best-in-class ecommerce enablers in the full report (download here), but here is a quick sneak peek into a few of our top picks. We categorise the companies as either foundations or touchpoint solutions. Foundations are tools that underlie the entire website and enable a holistic view of the customer journey; this includes insights and analytics, and customer protection. While touchpoints span the various points in the online customer journey from search to checkout.
Contentsquare: Best-in-class tool for insights and analytics. The platform is renowned for being reliable and easy to use.
Attraqt: Addressing search and recommendations, Attraqt's utilisation of natural language processing and deep learning delivers comprehensive and accurate customer experiences.
PowerReviews: A stand-out in product considerations, PowerReviews optimises ratings and reviews, consolidating trust and confidence among potential customers.
Forter: When looking to enhance the customer’s checkout experience, Forter is a real-time automated fraud prevention solution for online merchants.
In the quest for growth, retailers must navigate the interplay of tools and strategies that drive customer journey optimisation. In today’s day and age, it’s important to not just be customer-centric but also adopt a human-first approach. This includes recognising the value of good friction that empowers customers, thus fostering brand advocacy and loyalty.
As the retail landscape continues to evolve, it’s necessary to stay ahead of the curb. By strategically leveraging technology partnerships, crafting a purposeful technology stack, and understanding the nuances of friction, retailers can develop a strategy that enhances the customer journey. With an enhanced customer journey, retailers will fuel growth, ensuring they maintain a competitive edge in the ever-evolving world of retail. For a more in-depth analysis of this topic and for a deep-dive into the best ecommerce enablers, download the full report which offers a compass for retailers aiming to thrive.