Retailers are falling far short of offering even adequate online customer experiences. Some easy-to-implement changes to convert more Web site visitors into buyers.
My company just released its "2007 Customer Experience Survey," revealing both good and bad news.
Bad news first. In aggregate, online retailers fall far short of offering good or even adequate customer experiences. A pathetic 4 out of 330 sites would get a passing grade in Customer Experience 101. It's frightening to consider how much money is being left on the table and how many conversion opportunities are missed.
The good news? Companies show improvement over the last survey, though they're falling short on many basics. These basics, however, can be relatively easily addressed and fixed. Companies committed to improving their customers' online experiences can prioritize lower-cost and less-complex changes to improve their customer experience scores.
Improving Customer Experience Basics
While it's easy to stare at the puddle of spilled milk and fight back the tears, there's little profit in it. It's a bit painful to get a less-than-stellar grade, but the smart marketer will look at missed opportunities and be sure not to miss them again. Provide an intense customer focus, and you'll see more customers vote for you with their wallets.
Here are some actions retailers can take in the four key customer areas:
All these are significant factors that customers have come to expect online. Your customers notice little things that can make a huge difference. Companies that lavish attention on improving customer focus will reap more sales and will experience superior customer-retention rates in the long term.
For our study shoppers visited over 300 of the top online retailer sites. For each site, they answered a series of yes/no questions about the availability of 69 different customer experience factors. The factors were weighted to arrive at an overall score for each site.
The average site score was a disappointing 43 out of 100. The best scoring site, SmartBargains.com, scored a respectable 67.
The overall leaders:
Our findings coincide with an April 2006 Forrester study that shows only 26 percent of online consumers were satisfied with their shopping experience. A whopping 74 percent weren't even satisfied! And that 26 percent weren't delighted, merely "satisfied." In other words, the shopping experience was, at best, adequate.
It makes one wonder if retailers are racing to see who can be the most adequate.
Some other highlights from our study:
Again, the study focused on the customer experience fundamentals and ignored such factors as price points, impact of site design, and ease in locating products. We aimed to provide insight and a benchmark based on more objective measures.
How well would your site do on some of these customer experience fundamentals?
Bryan Eisenberg is co-founder and chief marketing officer (CMO) of IdealSpot. He is co-author of the Wall Street Journal, Amazon, BusinessWeek, and New York Times best-selling books Call to Action, Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?, and Always Be Testing, and Buyer Legends. Bryan is a keynote speaker and has keynoted conferences globally such as Gultaggen, Shop.org, Direct Marketing Association, MarketingSherpa, Econsultancy, Webcom, the Canadian Marketing Association, and others for the past 10 years. Bryan was named a winner of the Marketing Edge's Rising Stars Awards, recognized by eConsultancy members as one of the top 10 User Experience Gurus, selected as one of the inaugural iMedia Top 25 Marketers, and has been recognized as most influential in PPC, Social Selling, OmniChannel Retail. Bryan serves as an advisory board member of several venture capital backed companies such as Sightly, UserTesting, Monetate, ChatID, Nomi, and BazaarVoice. He works with his co-author and brother Jeffrey Eisenberg. You can find them at BryanEisenberg.com.
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