Consumer behaviour has changed in recent years, and it’s important to keep up with expectations. People are moving away from the high street in favour of online shopping for products and services, and this is a trend which is likely to increase.
Consumers are spending an increasing amount of time browsing lots of different websites to identify the best product to buy and the cheapest place to buy it. This focus on the digital journey has changed the whole customer experience, and businesses need to take this into account when developing new strategies.
The store experience is no longer the priority. What we need to ask now is how we can make the online journey as easy as possible. The digital marketing budget has become more important than the marketing budget for physical sales. Retail in particular is focusing on the volume of sales that come from online rather than in store.
Understanding and improving the online customer journey is now an essential part of business. It’s a completely connected process, with consumers receiving updates at every stage: thanks for your order, your order is complete, your order has been shipped, track your order, your order is out for delivery. As well as keeping the customer informed, this allows the seller to identify weak links in the chain and quickly identify and fix problems.
It’s essential for businesses to make sure online systems can cope, and that means investing now. The basic things to get right are ensuring the website is easy to navigate, being absolutely sure that all communications with the customer are pleasant and positive, providing regular – and accurate – updates on delivery status, and waiving or reducing any fees that have been charged if the service hasn’t been delivered as promised.
The data that’s available throughout the whole of the customer journey should be analysed to create automated answers on online chats and in FAQs. And it goes without saying that organisations should be using this data to see where things are going wrong and how to fix it.
Consumers have increasingly high expectations of a seamless digital and online experience. There are many instant and anonymous ways for people to complain publicly if things go wrong. Now’s the time to invest in making sure you get your digital presence right.