13 ways to improve your digital customer experience to increase sales
by Kristi Hines
Updated: May 10, 2022
Published: August 17, 2021
11 mins read
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Does your brand offer a positive digital customer experience? If not, your business could be in trouble.
According to PwC, 32% of consumers would stop doing business with a brand after only one bad experience.
But if you want to spend less on customer acquisition, you need to find a way to keep customers around longer. And one of the best ways to do this is to provide a stellar digital customer experience.
In this post, you’ll find 16 ways to improve your digital customer experience strategy. But first, what is customer experience exactly?
What is DCX?
Digital customer experience (DCX) refers to the journey of your online consumer. It begins with the consumer’s first interaction with your brand and continues throughout the purchase process and beyond. The purpose of DCX is to use your brand’s online properties to ‘wow’ customers. These properties include your website, social media accounts, mailing list, and advertising channels.
Now, how can you improve your digital customer experience? Here are 13 ways:
1. Get to Know Your Customers Intimately
First things first: You can’t improve your digital customer experience unless you understand your customers.
Even if you have a solid buyer’s profile for your brick-and-mortar store, the people who shop from your online store may be more diverse.
So, how can you get to know your online customers better?
One way is to create a welcome survey for new email subscribers. This could happen when they sign up to receive a discount code or after they make their first purchase.
Here’s an example from Aero:
You can then use the quiz results to ensure customers receive personalized recommendations and content using an email automation software tool like Klaviyo.
Automation tools like this allow you to segment subscribers based on their survey responses. You can also add sections to your email newsletter that relate to each subscriber’s specific interests.
For example, let’s say you have a group of subscribers who expressed interest in men’s clothing and a second group of subscribers who expressed interest in women’s clothing. The first section of your email could display clothes based on your customer’s tags.
When you do this, customers don’t need to exert time or effort to find what they like. And this positive online experience can result in more sales. It could also mean an increased open rate on future emails.
2. Introduce Customers to the Personal Side of Your Brand
People who sign up for a coupon or make a small purchase may not know much about your brand. And it’s very likely they don’t know what makes your products stand out from the competition.
So, it’s a good idea to create a special welcome email sequence to introduce them to your company.
When creating these emails, you can start by including some basic information about your company and what makes you different. This will increase the chance a potential customer becomes a customer. It could also increase the likelihood of a new customer becoming a loyal customer.
Here’s how luxury playing card brand Theory 11 does it:
3. Determine the Ideal Customer Journey
If you want to improve your digital customer experience, you need to map out the journey you want to create for them.
To start, imagine the ideal journey from start to finish in as much detail as possible. For example:
- First, the customer sees an advertisement for your product on Facebook.
- The customer then visits your website and subscribes via email to get a coupon code while at work.
- The customer clicks on the link from your email with the coupon code to visit your store. The coupon code loads automatically in their shopping cart.
- After finding the product in the advertisement, the customer adds it to the cart — but they don’t buy.
- The customer receives an automated email reminding them about the item in their shopping cart.
- The customer returns to find their new customer coupon and item still in the shopping cart.
- The customer gains confidence about buying from repeated interactions with your brand and your generous returns policy. The Better Business Bureau badge on your checkout page also reassured them.
- The customer checks out. You use AfterShip to make it easy for the customer to track their package in real-time.
- The customer receives their package but needs to exchange the item. They find an easy-to-use return label for their item. You use Returns Center to provide a streamlined returns process.
- The customer ships the item back and follows its progress.
- The customer then receives an alert that their exchange has shipped and will arrive in 2 days.
- The customer receives their exchange. They are happy with their digital experience. They submit positive feedback via your customer feedback survey. They also leave a positive review on Bizrate.
Now, go through these steps with your own online store.
Ensure that your digital customer experience matches the ideal journey you envisioned. Create more common scenarios. Test them to ensure your online store matches or exceeds those expectations.
4. Optimize Your Website for Mobile Devices
These days, many people shop on mobile devices. So, your online store should provide a seamless experience across devices for consumers.
Plus, mobile-friendliness is an essential aspect of search engine optimization (SEO).
For example, as of June 2021, Google measures your core web vitals to determine if users will have a positive experience. Ultimately, these metrics affect your rankings in mobile search results. They include:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This measures how quickly the largest content loads. It includes the main content above the fold — the content visible without scrolling.
- First Input Delay (FID): This begins when a user interacts with your website. It measures when the browser can respond to the request. Interactions include clicks on a button, taps on a screen, or scripted website actions.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This measures visual stability. The lower the CLS, the less likely a website is to shift the content. It translates to stable loading of fonts, images, and media load on the page.
5. Increase Your Website’s Loading Times
How quickly does your online store load?
Google data showed when page loading time goes from 1 to 3 seconds, there’s a 32% increase in bounce rate. Bounce rate measures the number of people who leave your website without interacting. Plus, that percentage jumps to 90% when page loading time goes from 1 to 5 seconds.
In the same study, Google shares industry benchmarks for retail page speed performance:
- The recommended number of HTTP requests for a web page should be under 50.
- The file size should be under 500kb.
- The average time to first byte load should be under 1.3 seconds.
Now, there are plenty of ways to speed up your website’s load times. For example, if you use Shopify to manage your store, here are some ways to speed up your site:
- Reduce the number of apps you have installed and consider how efficiently each app functions. Apps that don’t improve customer experience should be re-evaluated.
- Consider your Shopify theme. Themes with large media elements and additional scripts can increase load times.
- Avoid special fonts that require users’ local browsers to download the font when loading the page.
- Compress the images and videos you upload. Strike a balance between the best resolution and the smallest file size possible.
6. Create an Intuitive Website Navigation
Think about shopping at your favorite store in person. One of the reasons it’s easy is because like items are usually grouped together. For example, you can go to one section of a department store to find women’s clothes and a separate department for home decor.
The same ease of navigation should exist in your online store. This would allow visitors to find what they’re looking for quickly. And once there, customers should be able to find the top selections in that category. They should also find related categories within moments.
If you don’t have a brick-and-mortar store and are wondering how to group your products, look to your top competitors. They’ve likely organized their products into groupings that are easy to navigate.
For example, the fitness apparel brand Gymshark has categorized its products to make navigation easy:
If you don’t have a brick-and-mortar store to inform your online navigation groupings, look to your main competitors. The most successful have likely organized their products into groupings that are easy to navigate.
7. Build Trust With Fair Policies and Trust Badges
Customers want to feel that their data is safe.
A report published by Harvard Business Review showed that one-third of consumers had switched brands over data privacy issues.
What’s more, trust badges tell customers that your website checkout page is secure — you can use Automizely to add them.
8. Keep Popular Products In Stock
Consumers hate to wait.
So much so that McKinsey & Company found that 48% of consumers switch brands when the product they want isn’t available.
The bottom line, if you want to deliver an exceptional DCX from the start, you need to keep your top products in stock. So, make sure to review your sales and inventory reports often.
9. Publish Product Reviews From Real Customers
Reviews matter. A lot. They help customers learn about your products and brand from trusted sources.
And according to Trustpilot, 89% of customers read reviews before making a purchase. So, if your store doesn’t publish customer reviews often, you could be losing customers.
You can also harness the power of social proof with Automizely’s Social Proof Popups. These popups show website visitors what other users are purchasing.
10. Offer Fast Handling and Low-Cost Shipping Options
Let’s cut to the chase: No one wants to pay for shipping.
RetailMeNot’s 2020 Retail Playbook reveals that 8 out of 10 online shoppers would rather wait for items to arrive than pay for shipping.
So, consider offering different shipping options with an app like Shipping Rates Calculator Plus:
11. Give Your Customers Real-Time Order Updates
Ecommerce giants like Amazon and Walmart have helped customers become accustomed to receiving real-time order statuses and shipping updates.
So, don’t leave your customers in the dark about when their order will arrive.
AfterShip allows you to create a branded order tracking page on your website and send email and SMS notifications to update customers on their order status. It also provides a mobile app that allows customers to track orders from multiple shipping carriers.
12. Provide a Generous Returns Policy and an Easy Process
Bath & Body Works’ allows customers to “return anything, anytime for any reason.”
Such a generous returns policy can help convince shoppers to make a purchase.
Now, although you may not be able to afford a returns policy like this, it’s worth considering how to improve your returns policy to inspire trust.
You can also provide a smooth and easy returns process by using Returns Center. This way, customers will have a positive digital experience, even when returning their order — and as a result, they’ll be more likely to make another purchase.
13. Ask for Customer Feedback Regularly
Did your customer’s online shopping experience meet or exceed expectations? It’s a good idea to find out.
When it comes to optimizing your digital customer experience, feedback is essential. For example, many retailers attempt to learn how customers found their store or what made customers make a purchase.
Summary: Start Optimizing Your Digital Customer Experience
If you want your brand to thrive in the long term, pay close attention to your digital customer experience.
To provide the best digital customer experience:
- Work to understand your customers intimately
- Introduce customers to the personal side of your brand
- Determine the ideal customer journey
- Optimize your store for mobile devices
- Increase your website’s loading times
- Create an intuitive website navigation
- Build trust with fair policies and trust badges
- Always keep popular products in stock
- Publish product reviews from real customers
- Offer fast handling and low-cost shipping options
- Give your customers real-time order updates with AfterShip
- Provide an easy returns process with Returns Center
- Ask for customer feedback regularly
Finally, remember that optimizing your digital customer experience is an ongoing project. So, be sure to monitor your efforts over time to find new ways to improve.
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