As the online marketplace continues to grow, customers will become exceedingly more loyal to brands based on the quality of their online shopping experiences. It will become more important for companies to build this loyalty through the use user-driven eCommerce experiences.
What is User-Driven eCommerce?
A user-driven eCommerce experience is designed to turn your site into more than just an simple online store. It is making it a starring point for your customers. A place where customers can interact with the brand, a destination for product information and a community of other loyal customers to engage with. Without a focus on customer-driven experience, you will end up competing for every bit of margin while missing the many opportunities that will allow you to add value through the growth of your brand and the community surrounding it.
Here are five key areas of user-driven focus, that result in immediate connection with your customers:
1. Product Reviews
Allowing your customers to grow a community through discussions surrounding your products is a powerful tool. Product reviews provide a means for customers to express their satisfaction in what you are offering. It adds not just a valuable resource for customers in examining products or when making buying decisions, there is an additional benefit of allowing people to get the feel-good experience of providing quality recommendations to other likeminded users.
“Ultimately customers want to feel validated by the decisions they’ve made.”
These decisions have had a positive affect on other people who’ve made the same decision based on unsolicited advice. Creating an environment where those helpful recommendations are captured, celebrated, shared and allowed to transition from an eCommerce environment to our physical lives can be very rewarding for the customer.
Providing customers with access to reward programs associated with your online AND offline stores is a great way to incentivize customers to visit your site. Incentives that can be captured online also provide a way to take the positive experience associated with claiming benefits and sharing their good fortune amongst their friends and family.
Whether the offer is a discount, promotion, or customer loyalty program rewards, it is providing customers with these little extras that can increase word-of-mouth promotion and build positive brand affinity.
Related: eCommerce Tips – Customer Loyalty
Providing a content-rich environment provides an opportunity to educate your customers about your brand and the products you sell. When customers arrive at your site, they are looking for the relevant information that will make them feel as comfortable as possible about their purchase.
By providing them enough information, you are giving your customers potential information that the competition isn’t. In addition, with competition coming from physical stores offering customers the benefit of seeing, feeling, & touching products it is important that your site doesn’t leave customers feeling “in the dark”. Although you can’t offer your customers an experience with the same in-person benefits, it is possible to offer them an educated experience.
In the online wold of eCommerce it’s essential to go the extra mile to educate your customers on your products, because educated customers are more confident, qualified customers who will be ready to take that final step and make their purchase online.
4. Social Media
Today’s successful eCommerce brands must embrace two-way communication online to be relevant amongst other brands. Social networks such as Pinterest, Etsy, Instagram and Facebook are very useful for eCommerce businesses of all sizes.
An engaging social media strategy is an effective way to target audiences and drive traffic to your site. It’s a great way to get the momentum of word-of-mouth started with your customers.
From a user-driven experience, it’s possible for your brand to become highly adaptable and consistently learn from your customers as well as benefit from their honest interest in seeing the brand grow. By listening to and utilizing the appropriate channels, it is possible to engage your customers in a sincere conversation which will continue to build on the brand’s success and allow it to expand.
The importance of listening to customer feedback and opinions is essential to what you are building. Feedback from your customers that lead to continuous incremental adjustments based on the information they provide is essential to building brand loyalty. Ultimately this site is for your customers and they will have many progressive ideas that will improve their experience and the other customers visiting your site.
Quickly responding to relevant customer feedback not only helps your online businesses evolve its product or platform, listening to customers can also have an echo effect through the leveraging of your customer’s authentic voice.
It’s all about validation
Your customers are most likely very opinionated and are dying to help you make the most of their eCommerce experience and be made to feel like their opinions are making a difference. Ultimately they are the reason you succeed. Instead of forcing them into participating in a rigid never-changing site, make them feel validated by their contributions and the fact that they’ve decided choose your product over the competition.