We have all bought product on-line, but you will have noticed, just as I have, that the experience is very diverse from one site to another. There’s the website that understanding everything you need to be updated with and just how to communicate this with you. Then there are sites where you are left not being sure if your order went through, and doubting if it will arrive at all. So how can some get it so right, whilst others seem to have made an art of leaving you bewildered and in the dark!
In this Blog we’ll look at a number of keys to achieving a successful e-commerce website.
Customer Journey – For many e-commerce developments it is vital to keep the customer at the centre of the experience. So each step you create should consider what they want to know, how they may react and if you have offered re-assurance (the key to a good experience) that the customer requirements are central, and you are doing everything you can to make sure they get what they want. If you can achieve this, your e-commerce will be much more of a success.
Cost of Entry – Getting the customer experience right, gaining sales and adapting your business to sell on-line. For manufacturing businesses in particular, this can seem a daunting challenge. But does it need to be such a hard a mountain to climb? We’ll come to that now, but first let’s look at some examples from the marketplace.
Amazon – Of course the service here is very streamlined and because they are ‘Amazon’ and not a product specific brand you forgive the lack of personality. You know what you will get, and they keep you informed consistently.
Brands on-line – For brands the bar is set high as customers are buying into the whole ‘brand experience’ based on an existing preconception which many brands have developed, curated and nurtured over years. So it is vital they maintain these brand values on-line if they are to continue and maintain this brand perception – with the High Street marginalised by the pandemic this presents for many commercial opportunities to seize a % of market share from consumers driven to shopping on line, rather than this simply being a convenient option.
From Adidas to Lulu lemon, Miele and Sonos to smaller brands like Rituals, consumers have chosen to go to these because of what the brands represent from style, to reputation, quality and innovation, so the bar is very high if they are to ensure the ‘brand experience’ is maintained through their on-line offering. Afterall to maintain this brand image and reputation based on your previous experience in a shop where all your senses can be attuned by visual display, touch, atmosphere, smell and personal service, all choreographed for the perfect buying experience. Now, it is down to how you create all the steps designed to lead your prospective customer as they click their mouse and navigate their journey through your site.
Is selling on-line for manufacturers easier than a retailer offering e-commerce?
You could reason that for manufacturers the job is much easier. After all if you are selling a material product and in many cases machinery the shopping experience is very different. There is much less concern for your senses to be stimulated. But whilst this is true, the demand to ensure all the technical detail, performance and comparison to other machines (for example) is way more acute, after all how do I know your solution or product is the best for my requirements? If I cannot ‘have a go’, or see it in the flesh then the e-commerce solution is going to have to work all the harder. This is where for manufacturers, an e-commerce site needs rich content.
Creating rich content
Your sales message is vital of course and the principles of AIDA remain as true to e-commerce as much as any marketing media.
However, coupled with the need for deep content, information is essential. So it’s imperative to gather content that will inform. From technical sheets, to comparison charts and performance stats. Made available in an understandable way. The use of social media to support this enables both signposting to the e-commerce website as well as adding content, for example video, which can be shared on social and lead back to your website. This will also assist Google SEO and help ranking of specific topics and product search phrases, these in turn will increase your search ranking.
Not a brand? Of course there are many independent businesses selling less glamorous products from PC cables to dishwasher parts. In this last week I have made a purchase for a product that was semi urgent a ‘spring for a dishwasher door’, now I say semi urgent because in fact it did not stop the dishwasher from working, however the door crashed down if you did not remember it was not fully functional, in one case hurting my wife’s shin as it dropped – suddenly it was urgent! So using a very helpful chat forum I contacted the supplier, who other than confirming my order, did not make contact again. One week in I review the forum to see if there is an update and after a) a very slow first contact, b) a slower reply to my order number update I was c) advised it was not in stock and they had no update on when it would be! Needless to say my customer experience was not good. Now I had to find the product all over again, this I did and received 1) order acknowledgement, 2) advise of anticipated delivery date of two, or three days. 3) Notification it was arriving the next day – so it arrived a day early. How did I feel, very impressed, eSpares really did do a great job and provided an excellent and trouble free experience. Interesting they did not ask for me to rate them(?) Is this good or bad?
Mistakes to avoid – Being asked to rate your experience, no issue there except you can’t comment on ‘delivery experience’ a few seconds after placing the order. This strangely de-humanises the experience, re-asserts that it’s just a digital transaction and not a considered customer experience.
It seems the line between.
There are brands such as John Lewis who sell a range of products and they have created a brand of their name that transcends the products, it’s about you getting the product from them. This has it’s own value, it’s an almost unique position in the market. That a customer will choose to pay more simply to buy from them. Perhaps only Harrods exceeds this, whilst also positioning for the super-rich at the same time, a different brand objective.
So how do you create the experience that will re-assure, persuade and validate the good brand choice made?Enquire >>