Being a retailer In the„Age of Customer“, how do you manage to stick out of the mass and outshine even the big players in e-commerce? The key to success for your online shop is no longer just a matter of excellent usability, but primarily customer centricity: you can truly enthuse your customer by putting him in the spotlight consequently. This also includes individual, situational approach through customization as well as playing highly relevant (emotionalizing) content. Supported by inspiring content marketing as well as excellent customer service you can create the ultimative shopping experience (customer experience, CX). Yet, even though this winning formula is well known theoretically among many online-retailers, its practical implementation is all too often inadequate. This way any provider squanders not only valuable potential but also a promising opportunity for their online shop to obtain an exclusive market position In our four part series we show you valuable practical tips on how to avoid precisely that and how to impress in the above mentioned online areas. Here you can read Part 2: Customer centricity – the customer is king.

Customer-Centricity: The Customer is King

Shop-internal (product) search and findability: Make sure every user can find your offer!

As with a Google search, when using the product search feature in online shops users expect to find personalized, relevant hits at least somewhere on the first two pages. After two or three fruitless attempts, they will switch to another shop. This means that shop-internal product searches are of huge importance to purchase-making decisions.

Shockingly, however, users intending to make a purchase only find exactly what they are looking for in 50% of cases!

Teil-4_Personalisierung_2.0-Suchergebnislisten_douglasDouglas sorts his search results according to individual relevance. The example shows the results of one and the same query, which has been resorted to the different user profiles.

You can do better than this by designing your shop-internal search to be as simple and as personalized as possible:
Use a user-friendly parameter search, which initially only offers essential input fields such as key words (faceted search) and subsequently offers the option of limiting the search results in a targeted way. Even for this second stage, it is advisable to limit users to seven parameters, as human short-term memory cannot process more information than this at once. Ideally, you should save your users from having to use time-consuming manual filters entirely. Where possible, opt instead for automated filters, e.g. using a prescriptive analysis tool to personalize search results. These tools order hits according to personal relevance, presenting tailored, relevant results for each individual search. However, when you are configuring the tool you should avoid the typical error of incorporating objectively relevant criteria (e.g. total number of the orders or profit margin for the products) to a significant degree. To ensure that your users are completely satisfied, the search results should be ordered strictly according to subjective relevance, i.e. user-centric rather than retailer-centric.

When search results come back with nothing despite all this, the design of no-results pages is one key area in which online retailers could learn a lot from the thoughtful actions of their counterparts in physical stores. Rather than a typical online-shop answer along the lines of “Unfortunately, we have sold out of our red velvet pants. Goodbye.”, sales assistants pro-actively offer alternatives tailored to the customer. Try being this creative with your online shop! You can find some great examples of inspiring no-results pages here.

Newegg offers alternative suggestions that fit different criteria of the search for visitors who have not found what they are looking for. In addition, tips for more successful searches are given – which motivates you to continue shopping!

Mobile commerce & omnichannel: offer your users a seamless customer experience wherever they are, around the clock

Mobile commerce is on the rise and is gradually passing desktops by. The boundaries between the many different kinds of touchpoints are increasingly disappearing. We are seeing a rapid increase in both mobility and the requirements of online shoppers. The offering and relevance of customer touchpoints in online retailing, revolutionized a long time ago, will therefore continue to be developed going forward. However, many retailers currently still struggle to design touchpoints appropriately and to integrate them into each other. This is an area of untapped potential, which could be your opportunity to get ahead of the competition. Why not develop an integrated omnichannel strategy to offer your shop users a seamless and pleasant shopping experience?

Teil-2_No-Results_neweggDouglas sorts his search results according to individual relevance. The example shows the results of one and the same query, which has been resorted to the different user profiles.

You can lay some excellent foundations here by taking into account classic device- and channel-specific usability factors (e.g. use of responsive design or shopping apps). You should also consider incorporating channel- and device-specific requirements for page layout and content (e.g. the increased need for images, inspiration or entertainment with mobile devices).

Contrary to the assumptions of many retailers, (mobile) optimization still has a long way to go. If you only go this far and no further, then you will not be doing justice to the diversity of your users. After all, smartphone users are an extremely heterogeneous group and they do not all have a preference for large images and one-pagers. To provide a truly seamless, personalized shopping experience, you will need to adopt customer-first and not mobile-first thinking. Try to gain an understanding of the entire customer journey, the situation and the wishes of your users through intelligent data analysis and to align the optimization of your shop to this information. This works best using an advanced SaaS tool for operational intelligence, which personalizes your entire shop based on your (existing) historical (web) data. It creates user groups that most closely resemble the current user in terms of their individual context (e.g. location, requirements and channel and device used). These are referred to as situation-related peer groups. The page setup and content are then adjusted based on these groups: Material that worked best for the current user’s peers is then shown. With this method, you will present each online shopper with a unique, highly relevant shop (see part 4 of this blog series for more information). The advantages of this method for mobile commerce are clear to see. Firstly, mobile optimization is automatically taken into account, without having to make it into an exclusive core part of the shop adaptation. Secondly, it makes the omnichannel factor into a virtually effortless endeavor: You are saved all the cross-channel targeting and recognition of users, at which many shop operators fail. The only thing that matters is the situation of the user – and this can be identified from scratch each time in just a few milliseconds.

Teil-2_Shopping_App_bluenileREI masters M-Commerce and Omnichannel with a true variety of different touchpoints, all of which have a unique UX and are individually tailored to the visitors.

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