Digital MarketingEcommerceExperience commerce is key to winning customers

Experience commerce is key to winning customers

In ecommerce, focusing on experiences rather than sales can mean more personal, longer-lasting relationships with customers.

I’m fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to live pretty close to a great doughnut shop run by a really lovely couple. I try to save my trips for a once a week treat where I order a breakfast sandwich, an iced coffee, and one doughnut.

Recently, I went on a health kick and stopped going to the shop entirely. When I finally returned, the woman who runs the shop said, “We thought you moved! It’s good to see you.” I made the decision right then to reinstate my once-a-week doughnut splurges. They were so happy to see me, they gave me my doughnut free, and I was utterly charmed by the interaction. It’s nice to feel seen, and if my business means that much to a sweet couple, then I want to make sure I spend my extra calories on them.

In the world of ecommerce, it can be a bit daunting to make sure customers feel as welcome as I do in that doughnut shop, but focusing on experiences, rather than sales, can mean more personal, and longer-lasting, relationships with customers.

Content produced in collaboration with Sitecore.

Building a great experience keeps customers coming back

There are three other bakeries within walking distance to my house. I started going to this particular place because it was closest — but now, I go because they know me. In the digital age, customers often have thousands of options, and what they’re looking for most are experiences that make them feel welcome.

A recent study by Temkin Group found that 86% of customers who have a great experience will repurchase, as opposed to just 13% of those whose experiences are less than satisfactory. And not only will customers who’ve had great experience buy again, research has shown that they’ll also buy more. According to The Harvard Business Review, customers who have the best experiences with brands spend as much as 140% more than those who weren’t happy with their experience.

Deep data insights give a complete view of customers

But how can businesses make sure that experiences are personal and messaging is relevant? By getting a complete view of customer data, which means pulling data from many different sources, then combining those insights to understand who our customers are. Here are the types of data businesses should be collecting:

Implicit data: Implicit data is learned by observing visitor’s on-site behavior. At my local doughnut shop, the owners know I take my iced coffee black. Likewise, if a customer has a cartful of beach blankets, towels, and pool floats, chances are, they’re probably not interested in your sale on ski equipment.

Explicit data: This is the data customers give over by entering forms and fields, like their email address and physical location.

Structured data: Structured data can easily be searched and found. Structured data is available through search engines and databases. Think about structured data like you would a library: books are searchable by author, title, and subject.

Unstructured data: This data isn’t as easily searchable and includes formats like audio, video, and social media postings. It’s more like going into a library and hoping to find all the books that mention horses. You’d need more sophisticated tools to help find exactly what you were looking for.

Combining data around customer’s digital behaviors, along with the information they’ve given you themselves and structured and unstructured data provides a complete picture of who your customer is and exactly what they’re looking for.

Use that data to make sure your messaging is relevant

But once you’ve got all that information, the key is to use it in ways that make a difference in your customer’s overall experience and not simply pushing a one-time sale. Bombarding a customer with coupons might mean getting their business once, but providing relevant, helpful information–such as quality content, offers, and social connections–creates a relationship that will keep customers coming back and recommending you to others.

Throwing in a free doughnut every once in a while never hurts either.

For more information on creating meaningful experiences for your customers, download the white paper, “Experience Commerce: A Guide to Winning Customer Hearts and Minds.

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