In the modern era of quick, convenient purchasing, online businesses continuously seek a “wow” factor to make them stand out from the competition. Since many in-person retail strategies don’t translate well into the digital domain, businesses have been searching for new ways to separate themselves from their competition online.
 
Time and time again, online retailers have found that pouring money into customer acquisition but not retention can be a costly mistake. A Bain & Co. study titled, “The Value of Online Customer Loyalty” found the average online apparel shopper wasn’t profitable for the retailer until he or she had shopped at the site four times.
 
So what has been the one consistent factor that keeps customers loyal? Many would say a good customer experience.
 
In a 2017 survey conducted by Leger on behalf of Blackhawk Network, 94 percent of the consumers surveyed said a consistently good customer experience is the main reason they remain loyal to a brand.
 
The first step to creating a good online customer experience is understanding the difference between customer experience in an online and a physical space.
 
In a physical setting, the customer’s experience is determined by a wide variety of factors including temperature, lighting, ambient noise, physical location, and other customers.  Customers recognize that some of these factors lie outside a business’s control, so they naturally set a lower bar for what they deem a satisfactory customer experience. For example, they don’t mind waiting a few minutes for service.
 
Online, customers are much less patient. A study found that a ten-second wait for a page to load can make 50% of consumers give up and leave. Researchers at Microsoft even found that a website begins losing traffic to competitors when it takes 250 milliseconds longer to load. When online customers have a below average customer experience, they tend to fault the company immediately.
 
However, online businesses also have a distinct advantage in the digital space - data. Having an online presence allows businesses to see exactly where their customers are clicking and visiting most. This allows them to alter their CX strategy to reflect the activity of their customers.
 
Since there are many options available to customers online for each industry, businesses must work harder to set themselves apart from the competition.
 
The primary method to achieve this goal is through content. Overall, the primary purpose of content is to assist and inform customers. This can be done through a variety of ways including FAQs, product specifications, guides, visual merchandising, videos, and much more.
 
While the immediate effects of effective content aren’t always apparent, it is important for businesses to maintain a digital presence and to continuously build upon that presence.
 
The first step to achieving this is building a content platform with robust APIs that will serve as a foundation to the company’s online presence. This needs to encourage integration with the company’s commerce platform and customer data between channels and any critical data source the company may want to use. With this model, companies can continually scale and add content to drive customer retention.
 
While there are many ways to utilize content to improve online customer experience and drive loyalty, no single method is perfect.  Ultimately, each business must create a unique digital presence that both reflects their company’s vision and provides a rewarding customer experience.
 
In the modern era of quick, convenient purchasing, online businesses continuously seek a “wow” factor to make them stand out from the competition. Since many in-person retail strategies don’t translate well into the digital domain, businesses have been searching for new ways to separate themselves from their competition online.
 
 

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