User Experience

Adrian LomasFounder & CEO Blueleaf takes a look at why retailers need to focus their e-commerce on user experience over sales.

Walking around the shops over Christmas 2016 was, dare I say, OK.  I mean OK in that it was not a mad rush, not as many people cramming into a town or city to spend money on that crucial big day.

So why were the shops quieter?

Many reasons float around in my head but let’s not miss that ecommerce is a big player in this.

I myself find Christmas shopping online much more pleasurable, I can do it while sat at home watching Dave on TV with a cup of tea. In fact there’s quite a smugness over this, when walking into work the next day and finding it on my desk. Job done.

So what does the future look like for ecommerce?

Now, I’m not going to be all Mystic Meg here, but I will share with you some valuable information that we gained from a very recent piece of research, that we carried out across 1,200 UK-based retailers. In summary, we asked some key questions about ecommerce and I’d like to share the results from one of them in particular:

What do you see as your biggest ecommerce priority for 2017?

The largest focus, with 86% of retailers selecting it, was user experience and the customer journey. This was followed by 71% focusing on optimising their site and 43% on majoring on the multichannel gap.

What’s interesting is that there’s clearly a trend towards retailers looking to give their customers a better experience, rather than focusing on getting more customers.

Maybe they’ve realised that the website really does need to be treated like a real shop with friendly staff and a personal experience – personalisation being high on the agenda. This also means that merchandising of the website needs to be taken just as seriously as merchandising instore (in stores that are worth their salt!).

John Lewis

I noticed recently that John Lewis is taking measures to improve personalisation on its website.

The retailer plans to tap into multiple data sources, made available using Monetate, to personalise experiences based on geolocation, website interaction and previous purchasing behaviour.

John Lewis are way from perfect and so to see them putting energy into this area is welcome, and it backs up the general consensus that this is a key area to improve and to keep on improving.

We find that if you look at all of the tools available on the market and all of the things that each of them does, then understanding the tech soon becomes a full time job. Herein lies the rabbit hole – fall in here at your peril. What you really need to focus on is being a great retailer.

We see so many retailers get new tech and then get lost in it, often trying to solve the wrong problem. For example, sometimes having a high return rate is not the real problem to fix, as you may still be getting a great deal of sales that aren’t returned and the mechanics of your trading work well for the customer.

To capitalise on everything the future holds for ecommerce, the user experience and the customer journey should be a top priority for your roadmap.

Remember to treat your customers as near to one-on-one as you can, because put simply, that’s how you like to be treated when you shop – right?

Adrian Lomas is Founder and CEO at ecommerce agency Blueleaf

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