Today, my friend Victoria Greene from VictoriaEcommerce, is sharing a guest post about ecommerce analytics and customer experience. This is a super interesting subject and Victoria is a total expert! Enjoy her guest post below.
How Analytics Can Improve The Ecommerce Customer Experience
Consumers are BORED.
SICK AND TIRED
of being marketed to — but they will happily share a positive customer experience with friends and family — and “as many as 89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience.” (source).
So how does the world of data and analytics intersect with the online customer experience? What can organizations, retailers, and individuals glean from analytics to help them form more meaningful and long-term bonds with clients and customers?
Here are key ways in which analytics can be fed back into your customer experience during multiple stages of the customer journey.
Recommended reading: How I’m Using A Quiz To Grow My Email List
Where It All Begins....In The Data Labs
For an ecommerce business, analytics are your secret weapon. By tracking how people behave on your website and on your social profiles, you can collect crucial data about your customers. From what content they like, to how they shop online, to what they are likely to buy — analytics and ecommerce are an absolute match made in heaven.
Google Analytics and social media analytics are a great start, but these should always be mapped onto sales data and any more granular information you can get from your ecommerce dashboard. By combining web user behaviour with sales data, you can get a well-rounded view of what, how, and why customers are buying.
One of the best web tools that you can use to get extra data on your customers is Hotjar. It allows you to see the areas of your ecommerce site that your customers are interested in through heatmap analysis.
In addition to this, it also gives you the ability to review your conversion funnels and introduce customer feedback polls to your website. While it’s not free, the money you spend on Hotjar could pay dividends for your business.
There are also third party analytics tools that can help you get more data about the market. A great place to start with getting market analytics is Ahrefs.
Using Ahrefs lets you extract more information about your competitors, such as their backlink profiles. It also get very granular about your keyword research, enabling you to check how difficult it would be to rank for specific keywords, and the search volume of individual keywords. You will also have to pay if you want to get the benefits of Ahrefs, but doing so could provide you with invaluable insight on your competitors.
All this data mining and analysis is not just a vanity exercise (promise).
You will need it to help improve your customer experience.
Customer experience is another industry buzzword, but it’s the talk of the town for a reason! It’s the way that your customers feel about your brand, and the overall impression they have of you. It’s essential that you focus on not just converting and selling to customers, but also on how the experiences they have with you affect the way they feel about you.
Because you don’t want grumpy visitors to your ecommerce store, you want… happy visitors!
Funnel Them In....Kind Of
Funnel can seem like an impersonal word, but it’s really just the way you map out and plot your user journey.
Here are some ways analytics can help you create a funnel that’s going to engage, as well as push for a sale.
- Audience research and analytics — by bringing both of them together you can create a really well-rounded picture of your typical customer. It’s important that you see people as individuals, not just as numbers on a spreadsheet.
- Where do people like to spend their time online (are they engaging on Facebook, Twitter, or on your blog for example) — how can you use this data to then make a sale? You will need to invest more content budget into the platforms and formats your customers prefer. Don’t try to keep ‘pushing’ something on them if it’s clearly not working!
- What matters to your customers? What keywords are they typing into Google and your search bar? How can you use this data to design better product pages, landing pages, ads etc.?
- Basically — listen to your customers. Their wants and needs are hidden in the data you’re getting, so don’t ignore them.
Get Personal, But Don’t Be Weird
Personalization at the pre-purchase, rather than post-purchase phase, can really help businesses provide a more ‘sticky’ customer experience. From geo-targeting to seasonal content, a personalized online experience will help users feel like your brand is exclusively talking to them in a one-on-one conversation.
And when it comes to ecommerce, it’s important to not just focus on your website — but think about how social media and advertising can help inch customers along the sales funnel.
But don’t be that weird, creepy guy they are trying to shake off. Cos that’s annoying.
This Facebook ad from HubSpot is a nice example of content that’s laser-targeted to people working in the SEO & content industry. And rather than being a pushy product sales pitch, it’s an engaging and shareable quiz instead:
Segmenting audience data can be used to predict which website visitors are worth pursuing. (Because you don’t want to be pursuing EVERYONE AT ALL TIMES). The add from Everlane below (a carousel ad on Facebook) is one that would only work with people who have already expressed an interest in the product:
Showing this to a random person who has never heard of Everlane would be an expensive, and ineffective, strategy.
Tweaking your re-targeting strategy based on segmentation is a great way to create more coherent, compelling brand stories. You should use A/B testing to help you prototype some initial ideas.
Being followed around by a poorly executed ad isn’t going to convince consumers to click and buy, but a strategic story that keeps building might.
You’ve Got Them — What Next?!
During purchase phase, the need for data skyrockets. From monitoring user behaviour and feeding that into product recommendations, to dynamic pricing (essential during the Black Friday price crunch) — data helps you convert customers at a much faster and higher rate.
As a brand, you will want to use segmentation to cross-sell and upsell during a sale (use web, browser and ad behaviour to support your predictions).
Amazon’s recommendations machine is legendary — haven’t we all got sucked into their endless loop of product categories??!
But it’s a strategy that works. Create similar product families and lists to help customers find out more about your products
The actual checkout page is also crucial. Autofill will help shave off valuable seconds from the purchase journey — a great way to maximize conversions and combat cart abandonment, especially for busy mobile shoppers. You may find that people drop off on page two of the checkout — so maybe take it down to one?
Treat Em Mean.... No, Don’t Treat Em Mean
Analytics can help ecommerce businesses run more efficient customer service contact centers, controlling the volume and frequency of calls. Using data, the returns process and complaints procedures can also be streamlined, adding to the cross-channel online/offline customer experience.
Offering post-purchase support using analytics may include incentivizing specific segments to leave reviews, or re-targeting happy customers with relevant ads or content. One of the best apps available for you to get the benefit from customer reviews is Feefo’s Ratings & Reviews app.
This tool lets you gain increased insight on your customers, by allowing you to look at the reviews your customers have left in more granular detail. It sends you alerts with feedback from your customers and analyses the tone of their reviews. You’ll be pleased to hear that you can add Feefo’s Ratings & Reviews app to your website for free.
Analytics can also help protect retailers and businesses through sophisticated fraud detection — fraudulent online transactions can be a costly nuisance.
This Is For LIFE Man
Data needs to feed into conversations about lifetime value — a purchase or sign up via a website is an invitation into a relationship, not just a one-off action.
At this stage of the journey, an ecommerce business will need to commit to engaging their customers on a more permanent basis. The lifetime value of an engaged customer is not to be underestimated, and data can help you add significantly more value to the relationship.
Email marketing is a key ecommerce business tactic that benefits hugely from predictive analytics. Using sophisticated email apps and plugins that connect with your website, you can send emails that are likely to engage based on predicted behaviour. Shopify will allow you to automatically send personalized voucher codes to customers, but you can also connect up your Squarespace site with popular email platforms like ConvertKit or Mailchimp using some clever hacks. Just find an email solution that can marry data with aesthetics.
Take the below email example from Healthyish. The email is designed around a weekly campaign to give their customers an incentive to finish the email, and selects a strong, vibrant color scheme to entice them from the outset:
Using analytics, you can get into the nitty-gritty of what makes your customers tick and then design your email marketing campaigns so that you give them a reason to open your email and read it.
Analytics can help brands and businesses significantly lower activation and re-engagement costs per subscriber, contributing to more effective and ROI-focused email marketing. By picking out your engaged customers, then offering them the carrot of a reward scheme and/or loyalty scheme, you can turn a one-off buyer into a customer for life.
One of the best examples of a brand getting their referral scheme right is Dropbox. Dropbox reward their customers with an extra 500 MB of storage data for absolutely nothing for a successful referral. Not only that, they also offer 500 MB of free data to the newly signed up customer. The impact of this policy has been enormous, with Dropbox increasing its membership by 60% off the back of their referral scheme.
For a company who know how to reward their customers’ loyalty properly, look no further than Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut sought to take on their rivals Domino’s. How? By launching a scheme that rewarded their returning customers by letting them earn points towards a pizza with every purchase that they made through Pizza Hut’s app.
The real clincher is that customers are able to earn unlimited points with every purchase that they make, unlike Domino’s who cap their customers at 10 points per order.
Who Knew Shorts Were So Funny???
Finally, analytics should help you create awesome social media communities around your brand. Men’s shorts company Chubbies is an example of a brand that have done wonderful things with their social media accounts and are now considered one the examples to follow if you’re seeking to win over Gen Z:
They do this by really bringing their customers into their advertising campaigns. Indeed, in 2015 they held a competition to find 10 male models from their customer base!
Don’t forget the power of exceptional customer service and offline experiences too. It’s not all about web data, but how you can create better customer experiences – build up your community to build up your business. Chubbies appreciate this, and theirs is an example to follow if you want to make your brand into a family.
Analytics are a powerful tool, but you still need to be committed to analysis and mine data for insights. Don’t get overwhelmed with metrics and dashboards, but spend time getting to know your customers face-to-face and on the phone — and then match up your impressions with solid data. It’s the best way to create a well-rounded customer experience journey. You will also need to use select tools in order to realize your customer experience goals, so get testing and trying.
Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she shares tips on ecommerce and how companies can improve the way they represent their brand. She is passionate about using her experience to help brands improve their reach. Big fan of GIFs and UGC.
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