Ecommerce is a huge and highly competitive industry. With so many websites and companies able to deliver goods and services to their customers from every corner of the globe, it has never been more important to make sure that your operation is as slick and efficient as possible.
Providing a consistent experience for the e-commerce customer is key to your success. It creates a sense of trust and confidence in your abilities. It shows your customers that you know what you’re doing and that every part of your operation is well crafted and executed.
So how can you make sure that your customer experience is consistent and of high quality?
Know your brand identity
Before you can even think of selling new products or embarking on a new marketing campaign, you need to know exactly who you are as a business. You also need to know exactly how you want your customers to see you. This then needs to be incorporated into every single aspect of your business from marketing right through to distribution and delivery.
Even if you’re an established and large company, you need to make sure that you check in with the business regularly to ensure that your brand identity is clear. Your brand identity will influence your tone of voice as well as the visual aspect of your website.
In short: how can you expect your customers to know who you are if you are not sure yourself?
Consistent website formatting
Think of your website as your business card, uniform and office. For most customers, this will be your only chance to make a good impression. Having a clear, simple, effective and efficient website is key to your success.
Today’s e-commerce customer has endless other options at their fingertips so you need to make the process of buying from you as simple as possible. Keep your headings clear and in the same font and size. Make your ‘buy now’ or call to action buttons clear and again in the same font throughout.
When it comes to your website, customers should be able to navigate their way through without much effort. And keeping the formatting consistent will have a big impact on this. Make it as easy as possible for your customers to browse through your catalogue and keep a visual uniform across all your different pages.
Again, because customers have endless options at the click of a button, pricing intelligence is key to your success. By tracking, analysing and monitoring pricing data across the market, you can make accurate choices about your own pricing based on your peers and competitors’ pricing as well as customer demand.
However, although you can and should try and compete with other retailers and offer your customers the best prices, be careful not to fluctuate wildly from one end of the spectrum to the other. For example, if you are selling a gardening tool for $75 each and then suddenly change your price to $10 each, you will undermine your brand value. Previous and regular customers will begin to wonder why you are willing to drop your prices to much and so quickly and it will raise questions about the quality of your product as well as your character as a business.
This applies to any kind of business whether e-commerce or not. You could have the best marketing campaigns, the best website, the largest customer base and the best celebrity endorsements, but if the quality of your product is not consistent, then your customers will not return to you.
In order to succeed in the e-commerce business you need to be able to attract new customers, retain them as regular customers and encourage them to recommend you to others. These will then become new customers and start the whole cycle again. But if the quality of your product is not good enough or consistent enough, your customers will go elsewhere and your sales will deplete.
This doesn’t just mean the physical products you are selling either. This sense of quality needs to run through your entire business right through to delivery. People need to feel assured that when they buy from you, they are getting high quality products delivered to them safely and promptly. After all, a satisfied customer is the kind of marketing money can’t buy.
Omnichannel is a multi-channel approach that enables customers to have a seamless experience whether they’re shopping on a mobile device, a desktop computer, by phone or in a brick and mortar store.
Today’s customer doesn’t just want to be able to visit a website and buy from there. They also want to be able to track their order using an app or pick the item up in store without hassle. Omnichannel is therefore becoming essential in the e-commerce industry.
But it isn’t enough to simply have an omnichannel approach, you also need to ensure that your branding, formatting and everything else is consistent across all of these channels. Your customers need to be able to identify your brand from whichever channel they are using. So if your business has an app where customers can shop, track their orders or gain loyalty points, the branding of this app needs to match your desktop site as well as your digital advertising and store branding.
Customers these days value consistency. In a world where they have access to thousands of online stores, their final choice will depend on two things: convenience and trust. Having consistency in your business from branding right through to the tangible products and services you provide is key to achieving these two things. WOSB certification is something worth knowing about. TRUiC is good at explaining this.