“Our customers find themselves to an increasing extent in the borderland between the digital and the physical world. We must adapt our business in order to stay relevant”. Weronica Nilsson – Åhléns press office.
Imagine a customer who actually wants to buy something from you and who is engaged in a dialogue with a good salesperson in a physical store. This salesperson adapts his/her dialogue based on the customer’s questions and preferences and presents relevant and “easy-to-understand” solutions as a consequence of the dialogue. The salesperson also has sales tools and deep knowledge that introduce the right information at the right time to help the customer arrive at a buying decision.
Herein lies also the challenge of personalising an online user experience; of developing a solution that delivers on the customer’s premises and adapting the information so that it triggers a buying decision. Google tells us that in 2014 the average customer checked 12 different sources of information online before buying something. In 2010 this figure was only “five”. When we design e-commerce solutions, a conversion rate of between 20% and 40% from the physical store is our benchmark.
“A conversion rate of between 20% and 40% is the benchmark from the physical store when we want to design an equivalent store online”
What does an outstanding online user experience look like?
To succeed, you have to look at the entire solution from the customer’s perspective and base it on one-on-one interaction. When the customer wants to buy something from you, they will go through four phases, and your e-commerce solution must deliver on all of them.
- The customer is looking for relevant information about what they wants to buy – a product or service – and the customer uses one or other “device” that they prefer in the moment.
- The customer will probably move on to make the transaction right away, because they're eating lunch, receive a phone call or are distracted in some other way.
- Regardless of whether or not the customer subsequently picks up the thread, not on their mobile phone this time, but on an iPad on the sofa in the evening or on a computer after lunch, you must be ready where you were before and ensure you have a relevant dialogue. Chatbots deliver well here.
- The customer will only make a purchase if they feel they have achieved their goal; that you have met their requirements or solved a problem. The point is that this “problem” occurs all the time and could be the actual purchase, an order or enquiry, the need for relevant content, or wanting to visit a physical store.
Because of these four points, it is crucial that you are visible in the right locations, easy to relate to, speak a language the customer understands and create a perceived value; preferably in the form of information that triggers a buying decision.
To summarise: the expectations of being seen to be relevant at any particular moment are sky-high. In order to be able to deliver such user experiences online, you must facilitate and provide an online dialogue that matches the way your customer wants to shop. We call this “personalisation”.
"We don’t make money when we sell things. We make money when we help customers make buying decisions." Jeff Bezos, Amazon
The consumer decides
We are currently experiencing a very important shift when it comes to consumer expectations regarding online shopping. Consumers take it for granted that they will be in the right position and have sufficient information to quickly make the correct decision during their customer journey. If not, they will leave the store and continue shopping with someone who supports their preferences and involvement in relation to the content being presented.
It all starts with the micro moment
The customer has identified a need – a so-called “eyeliner”, and has found their way to your online store. From the customer’s perspective, the journey has already started, and it started when the micro moment was strong enough to spend time searching for relevant content. This phase involves a wide spectrum of sources (search engines, a retailer’s website, e-mail, marketplaces or a recommendation from the customer’s network). The customer’s good experience begins when they finds a website with relevant content; preferably your website. If you manage to satisfy the consumer when they arrive at your website, you will have a significant competitive edge.
“We are aiming to become Sweden’s leading omni-channel retailer. This means we will be placing increased emphasis on integrating our physical stores with our e-commerce operation. Monica Hultgren, information consultant at Åhléns
Use your brand to build outstanding online experiences
Your customer is on a journey; a decision-making journey. On this journey you must ensure that your customer really experiences you and your store. We call this Brand Experience. This is just as important as the product or service you are selling. The brand value is your most important strategic resource and differentiating factor.