What It Takes To Win The User Experience Online

August 17, 2020

This article originally appeared on The Stagwell Group’s website

A few weeks back, experts from global brand performance agency ForwardPMX and digital-first creatives Code and Theory led a virtual discussion about key strategies and tactics for Conversion Rate Optimization that are needed to create a winning user experience in digital.

The conversation could not have been more relevant, as the COVID-triggered behavioral shift of more people living more of their lives online, has caused businesses to seriously evaluate their brand’s digital presence, e-commerce experience and overall customer experiences online.

“The pandemic has forced people to develop new online behaviors and have taken them away from offline behaviors they’re used to,” shared Joel Coppersmith, Senior Consultancy Director at ForwardPMX.

With e-commerce booming in many verticals, investing in the user experience is how brands can work to capitalize on the increasing online demand and time spent in digital channels. As the length and severity of the pandemic’s impact is still unknown, businesses that shift to a longer-term perspective for excelling in digital are positioning themselves for a more successful future.

Here are five key insights from ForwardPMX and Code and Theory to utilize CRO for a better user experience:

1. Modern e-commerce is much more than a cart on a website.

It’s about creating a personalized, relevant and self-directed experience for all of your customer segments. The COVID-19 pandemic has quickly accelerated the need for quality user experience, and investing in on-site conversion helps capture and convert the influx of online interest.

2. Help customers self-serve, from discovery to comparison, through conversion.

More importantly, e-commerce experiences should respond to consumer expectations, not mirror the structure of the organization. Most of the time, consumers take a self-guided journey and know what they need when they get to a brand’s website. But, having omnipresent help available in the form of a chat or call is essential, so customers can decide to engage when and how they need to.  

Some other considerations for a strong guided user journey include progressive surfacing of information, or “progressive disclosure,” as Code and Theory President, Mike Treff, describes, which is about giving users just enough information to make the experience simple and exciting, but not overwhelming. This allows users to go as deep as they need to, to explore, learn and make a decision. Additionally, brands should focus on enabling all purchasing and account management to be self-serviced, while simultaneously building a profile on the customer based on active and passive inputs that, in turn, facilitate efforts like retargeting and product recommendations.

3. Gain annuity from content marketing by leveraging it in the funnel.

Content can start in distributed environments like social and paid media, but the storytelling and narratives should continue back in the e-commerce environment. This content then serves to pull customers through the funnel.

Nike is an incredible example of a company that does this well. They are able to effectively use content across the ecosystem to drive purchase and loyalty. And once individuals convert, there are apps like the training app or run club app that continue the narratives and add value to consumers’ lives.

4. A lot of times, a company’s organizational structure impedes their ability to perform.

Silos between CRM, E-commerce, Media and other departments cause fragmentation for consumers, which does not help drive conversions from an experience design perspective. Building a holistic and engaging brand experience through content in pre, post, and in-between-purchase moments is essential to breaking down that fragmentation.

5. Build business intelligence to better serve customer needs.

This starts with having CRM fully implemented throughout the ecosystem to collect data and build audience profiles across touchpoints.On top of that, having your CRM built to test and learn, and optimize for how your consumers are converting is essential.

Closing the discussion, Joel Coppersmith stated one of the most important, yet simple takeaways:

“If you’re an e-commerce site, make your product easy to buy.” If that action becomes too complicated for consumers, they’re likely to move their purchases and brand loyalty elsewhere.”

If you’d like to learn more about the recommendations provided during the webinar, you can check out the full presentation and recording here.

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