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How to Improve Your Online Retail Customer Experience

More and more retail brands are embracing the value of an online presence. Businesses can no longer rely on product quality and brand awareness alone to engage consumers.

January 24, 2024

6 mins read

Catz Thompson

How to Improve Your Online Retail Customer Experience

More and more retail brands are embracing the value of an online presence. Businesses can no longer rely on product quality and brand awareness alone to engage consumers.

Instead, it’s the overall retail customer experience that encourages consumers to purchase from and, crucially, return to a brand.

Indeed, with 57% of consumers saying they have stopped buying from brands due to a negative experience, a positive online retail customer experience is vital.

In this article, we look at exactly what the retail customer experience is and explore a variety of key strategies to take yours online retail experience to the next level. 

What is the retail customer experience?

Retail customer experience refers to the way retailers and customers interact when buying and selling certain goods or services. It encompasses each touchpoint that they have with your brand, from the in-store experience to social media engagement.

Digital marketing, online customer interactions, web design, product and service delivery – all these touchpoints can form part of the retail customer experience. 

Five tips to improve your retail customer experience strategy

Looking to enhance your customer experience? Here are a few useful tips to get started. 

Improve and optimize your design and navigation

One fundamental way to improve customer experience in retail is with a well-designed, intuitive and easy-to-navigate website.

Design is key here. It takes just 50 milliseconds (or 0.05 seconds) for users to build an opinion of a website, ultimately determining whether they’ll stay or leave.

And with 75% of users admitting to judging a company’s credibility by its design, it is imperative for brands to create a site that’s not only functional but aesthetically pleasing.

This extends beyond design as well to also include functionality and usability.

Poor site navigation is frustrating and can result in lost sales as customers leave a site in favor of a more user-friendly ecommerce experience.

Optimized site navigation guides consumers through your site, helping them find exactly what they’re looking for in the easiest and most efficient way possible. 

Personalize the experience

Personalization is a powerful driver for an optimized retail customer experience.

With more and more brands integrating personalized services and experiences into their platform, shoppers don’t just expect it – they demand it. Indeed, 76% of customers report feeling frustrated when their chosen brands don’t offer personalized features.

The benefits of personalization for an enhanced customer experience in retail are proven. It shows shoppers they are being listened to, with a bespoke experience that caters to their needs and preferences.

And for brands, it’s an opportunity to increase engagement and conversions with tailored recommendations and discounts.

Personalization can also encourage consumers to be more forthcoming with their data.

65% of shoppers are willing to share their data with retailers if the result is a personalized and improved experience – particularly useful for overcoming the phase-out of third-party cookies.

Personalization is employed to great effect by lots of brands today.

Take Coca-Cola, for instance. The global soft drinks brand offers a variety of personalization options for its products via its DTC site. From customized cans to glass bottles, plus an array of specific designs for special occasions, Coca-Cola's customer retail experience is enhanced by this personalization. 

Make purchasing effortless and easy

Convenience has become a major sticking point for the modern consumer, but nowhere is this more evident than in the checkout process.

Lengthy, confusing or complex checkout processes lead to frustrated shoppers and, in turn, higher cart abandonment too.

Consequently, a streamlined checkout process is essential for boosting your ecommerce performance.

There is a variety of ways you can achieve this. 

  • Guest checkout: shoppers don’t always want to provide their personal information in order to purchase. Offer guest checkouts with social media logins for those customers to help streamline the process.

  • Multiple payment methods: customers all have their own preferences when it comes to payment methods. Include multiple payment options in your checkout to cater to your shoppers’ needs.

  • Buy now, pay later (BNPL): with 60% of consumers having tried BNPL, the service has become increasingly popular, particularly amongst younger consumers. Cater to this growing trend with a variety of BNPL options.

  • Automatic form filling: a complicated payment form with multiple fields puts customers off. Keep the process quick and simple with autocomplete form filling.

As you streamline your checkout processes, it’s worth remembering the specific local preferences of each of your target regions.

As well as country-specific currency options, different regions have different preferred payment methods. Payment platforms, BNPL, credit – these can all vary, so be sure to conduct your research beforehand. 

Continue to engage

The retail customer experience does not end at the point of purchase. It continues long after, keeping the shopper updated on their order and fostering a stronger relationship between a brand and its consumers.

Engage with your consumers post-purchase with personalized recommendations or exclusive discounts.

Beyond these transactional communications, consider focusing on more community-driven messaging too. Consumers today buy into brands beyond the commercial, looking for deeper, more personable connections.

Post-purchase communications are the perfect space to achieve this. While soliciting product reviews or offering recommended products works, consider speaking to more personal topics. Thank shoppers for their purchase, offer tips on its usage or other non-transactional messaging.

This sustained communication reinforces the customer relationship, encouraging repeat business as a result.

And the benefits of this are evident. Repeat customers spend around seven times more than a one-time shopper, so post-purchase loyalty is well worth nurturing. 

Stay where your shoppers are with omnichannel

The key to a memorable and engaging retail customer experience lies in omnichannel.

An omnichannel strategy lets you keep your brand front and center with a seamless, unified experience – wherever your consumers are.

By delivering a consistent and connected retail experience for your consumers, you build a sense of trust and familiarity, strengthening loyalty as a result.

At the same time, omnichannel unlocks a wealth of data collection and analysis. As well as driving the aforementioned personalization, this data gathering also facilitates better, more accurate mapping of your customer journeys too. 

With the right partner, building a comprehensive and effective retail customer experience strategy is easy and achievable – and Ingenuity Commerce is that partner.

We can help you craft and deliver a complete retail customer experience that empowers you to stand out against competitors and build lasting relationships with customers.

It starts with our technology, enabling optimized on-site experiences with a fully composable ecommerce platform that’s built by brands, for brands.

Alongside this are our digital solutions, helping connect your brand with your consumers, wherever they are.

Underpinning it all are our operations, including a global fulfilment network that creates a smooth journey, from checkout to doorstep.

Are you ready to build and improve your online customer experience?

Get in touch today.

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