The Essentials: Customer-Centricity, Convenience & Engagement

By Gerry Szatvanyi, CEO of OSF Digital

As the pandemic continues to fuel the growth of digital commerce, further blurring channel lines, it’s more important than ever for retailers and brands to double down on responding to changing customer behaviors! Digital shopping became the go-to during the pandemic and customers now expect more from eCommerce stores than just a channel to place orders. But this raises new challenges for retailers and brands as they fight for wallet share in an increasingly competitive market, forcing them to find new ways to increase engagement, boost conversions and encourage loyalty. Here are some best practice design principles to guide decisions to address these common challenges:

I. Design to be customer-centric

This starts with understanding where your customers are, which requires having a 360-degree understanding of your customers. By leveraging data from all customer touchpoints (and tech solutions) and using these insights you will be able to determine where your customers are as different channels are used depending on their journey. This will allow you to provide them with dynamic product recommendations with the help of predictive tech ensuring that they are being served the right products during their shopping journey. Having a full 360-degree understanding of your customers will highlight the channels you need to optimize. Today, optimizing for mobile sites is a table stake, but have you considered Progressive Web Apps (PWA)? PWAs are built with capabilities to offer app-like features (without having to download apps), offer offline capability, and can be faster and more cost-effective for your business.

In an increasingly competitive market, Retailers & Brands are forced to find new ways to increase engagement, boost conversions and encourage loyalty.

- Gerry Szatvanyi, CEO of OSF Digital

II. Design to enhance engagement

Ensure you are using rich content to elevate the online user experience and boost engagement whether it is through 3D visualization, videos, social influence, etc. A strong focus on customer engagement is still lagging, according to FitForCommerce’s Omnichannel Retail Index 2021 study - although 98% of benchmarked retailers and brands show multiple product images on the product detail page (PDP), only 43% have video to showcase their products. Simply posting content is not enough to truly engage with your customers - 87% of retailers have content (lists, blogs, articles, how-tos, recipes, etc.) but only 16% make the featured products shoppable, thus not providing customers an opportunity to follow-through. Also, engagement doesn’t stop at the purchase, you should consider how you are engaging with your customers post-purchase, and continuously such as offering them loyalty programs.

III. Design for convenience

The pandemic has accelerated the need to design for customer convenience. If you are a retailer with stores, it is key to show your customers what’s available for pickup in-store and provide the ability to filter by inventory availability for the store nearest to them. Despite this need, only 13% of benchmarked retailers offer a Curbside pickup filter (Omnichannel Retail Index 2021). Offer your customers different options: virtual appointments if they cannot shop in person, different ways to get help (FAQ, phone # etc.). Remember to include fulfillment options on PDP and in cart, and be transparent about delivery times and expectations. The key is to make your customer’s shopping experience as easy as possible.