Web Retailers: Focus on Experience, Not Conversion

Focusing on the user experience rather than worrying solely about conversion rates shouldn’t be a novel idea, but too often the numbers take precedence over how we reach them.

Not all conversions are created equal. If you optimize your app or website only for conversions, the tactics required for a quick sale are unlikely to earn you many repeat customers. The customer will simply get what they need, get out, and look for a new brand next time they need something in your niche. The good news is that there are plenty of little things you can do to get the user experience right.

Make Digital Shopping Easy, Personalized, and Stress-Free to Earn Repeat Customers

User experience doesn’t always receive the spotlight it deserves. However, when you land on a website that’s easy to navigate, responsive to mobile devices, and able to anticipate your next move, you can bet that the people who designed that site had the user experience in mind. Focusing on the user experience is really another way to prioritize customer service, and getting the little things right helps you earn loyal customers who will boost those conversion stats for years to come.

  • Mobile Is a Must. When building a website, responsive design is critical because it allows your site to scale to fit any screen. You don’t want to put any barriers between the customer and what they came to accomplish, so your site needs to function as well on a smartphone or tablet as it does on a desktop screen.
  • A Streamlined App. A valuable mobile app is a great way to encourage long-term relationships with customers, especially in retail. The trick is making it easy to use, without sacrificing functionality. Starbucks’ mobile platform is a great example, because it offers customers a seamless experience. Strive for fast loading times and a streamlined purchasing process, while avoiding unwelcome push notifications. Providing notifications doesn’t have to be a bad thing, however, as long as you ask for permission and provide an easy way to opt out.
  • Navigation Is Everything. In the race to rack up conversions, good navigation often takes a back seat to putting as many products in front of the customer as possible. Faced with too many choices — whether through navigation or scattershot product recommendations — many users will simply opt to make no choice at all. Organize menus logically, and keep unnecessary noise to a minimum. Make sure people can find what they need before prompting them with products they might want.
  • Make It Personal. One of the big benefits of digital commerce is that allows you to keep learning more about individual customers (as long as they keep coming back). Use what you learn to provide personalized recommendations, remember favorites, and simplify the checkout process for repeat customers. Just remember that recommendations are only worthwhile if they’re actually relevant to the customer, and not simply a way to advertise loosely related products or services.
  • Keep It Human. While your app and website handle much of the heavy lifting with the user experience, it’s important for customers to know that there are real people behind the technology. Provide an easy way for customers to ask questions, make comments, and connect with a real person when they run into a challenge. Being active on social channels is one great way to keep it human, and stay connected with your customers.

The top priorities when organizing your digital presence aren’t so different from the priorities of organizing a brick-and-mortar location. You want customers to be able to find what they need easily, purchase it with minimal hassle, and feel good enough about the experience that they come back for more.

The tools and tactics may differ, but providing a positive digital user experience basically comes down to good old customer service. More conversions don’t necessarily lead to a positive user experience, but a positive user experience will definitely help you earn more conversions, as well as loyal customers in the long run.

Originally posted at The Future of Customer Engagement and Commerce

Originally published at tedrubin.com on September 23, 2016.

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