March 26, 2013
Consistently delivering compelling, relevant experiences that delight your website visitors is the holy grail of marketing.
Those were the words of Brett Bair, senior director of strategic services at Monetate, during last week’s “Optimize the Customer Experience” webinar.
“Being relevant means taking action based on what you know about your customers,” said Bair. “The one-size-fits-all website is dead, and your customers’ expectations are only growing.”
So what’s driving this change? Bair pointed to the increasing number of devices most website visitors own, from desktops and laptops to smartphones and tablets. If visitors come to a website using any one of those devices and their needs aren’t met, they’ll leave—and worse yet, they could share their bad experience on social media channels.
“Good news travels fast, but bad news travels a lot faster,” Bair pointed out. “The bar is higher than ever when a new visitor comes to your website, so you have to deliver a great experience immediately.”
In order to deliver a relevant experience, Bair discussed four key areas to focus on, and highlighted specific examples for each:
The landing page is typically the first page a visitor sees. And very often, that page isn’t your homepage. Bair says it’s important to consider that, and understand what makes your brand and its offers unique. Then, that messaging has to be carried throughout the website experience. Often, you can’t control how a visitor ends up on your website or which page they enter on. But you can control whether your offers are reinforced throughout the website experience.
Example: Destination XL emphasizes a “Free Shipping and Returns to Any Store” offer throughout its website experience in a subtle, but effective, way.
Making products easier to find and buy is a critical component of delivering a relevant, compelling website experience. But visitors who enter a search term only to have the results come back with the wrong items—or worse yet, no results at all—can end up bouncing in favor of a competitor that makes it easier to find what they want to buy. One way to solve that problem? Bair suggested using visual search, which helps brands minimize bad search experiences.
Example: REVOLVEclothing.com uses visual search to enhance the browsing experience on its website, increasing visitors’ ability to identify products that interest them.
Once visitors get to a search results page and find what they want, how do you move them through product selection seamlessly? The product detail page is an excellent place to reinforce offers once again, and give visitors real-time updates on availability, shipping options, and more. Those reinforcements can help seal the deal.
Example: Rocawear highlights a 50% off promotion with timing threshold to reinforce its offer and create a sense of urgency on the product detail page.
A relevant, compelling experience doesn’t end on the product detail page. So what should you do once a visitor adds a product to the cart? Leveraging lightboxes, calling out alternate payment options, and emphasizing shipping offers are all keys to ensuring the experience is a win.
Example: Garnet Hill uses a lightbox to thank visitors for adding an item to their cart while also displaying a product recommendation.
Once Bair covered these four areas to target, he dove into another important topic: Testing.
Although these examples have worked for major brands, it’s still critical to test any website features or campaigns to ensure they resonate with your customers. And part of discovering what your customers want is learning what they don’t want.
“You might discover conversion rates are lower than the control and assume a certain test or campaign was a failure,” said Bair. “But there’s more to the story than that.”
For instance, overall conversion rate impact might seem negative, but doing a deeper dive into the data could reveal that conversion rates were actually higher in certain locations. Maybe visitors from California didn’t like the feature or campaign, but visitors from the East Coast responded really well and converted at a higher rate.
Bottom line: Bair says optimizing the customer experience is all about testing your assumptions and understanding what the data says to truly know your customers and deliver the relevant website experiences that keep them coming back.
Want to learn more about how to optimize the customer experience, including more examples from leading brands? Check out the archived version of the “Optimize the Customer Experience” webinar now.