By Dustin Dean

Online shoppers crave speed, simplicity, and personalisation when it comes to the online experience. Not only that, they expect this across multiple channels throughout their customer journey.

According to a recent report, commissioned by LivePerson, 58 per cent of Australian online shoppers would like more choices in how they contact online brands, expressing interest in real-time channels such as live chat (60 per cent). 

In addition, when it comes to seeking assistance online, 62 per cent of shoppers indicated they expect access to help within a five-minute time frame, and 54 per cent said they would give up immediately or only try once when seeking help during the buying process.

So, how can companies meet the demands of today’s consumers and deliver a compelling and personalised experience? Here are four best practices for companies looking to deliver a more meaningful eCommerce experience using actionable, intelligent data.

1. Engage with comprehensive, multi-channel preference in mind
Successful, personalised customer experiences happen in the customer’s channel of choice. Keep conversations in-channel, and look for ways to create an online experience that replicates the in-store experience. For example, if you can identify visitors who demonstrate purchase intent or abandonment behaviour, then guide them through the checkout process within that same channel – you have enabled a better conversion rate and a more positive user experience.

For more successful engagement, measure the effectiveness of each channel to identify what works in differing situations. Consider which engagement channel best serves visitors considering the stages of their customer journey (i.e. awareness, vs. comparison, vs. conversion and trust) and different live engagements you can offer to improve experiences at each stage per channel.

As your multi-channel experience and analysis matures, segment customers leveraging data and analytics (i.e. site activity, search terms, customer history, geo-location, etc.) and act accordingly. The result will be a highly intelligent engagement program that will improve business results as well as the customer experience.

2. Identify data driven consumer touchpoints
We’re in the age of the self-sufficient buyer, yet the contact centre is not going anywhere. Why? When customers need support, it’s speed, efficiency and personalised help that trump self-sufficiency.
Utilise data to pinpoint crucial stages throughout the digital journey. The savvy online shopper demands personalised and intuitive touch points throughout the experience, which can be provided by:

  • Empowered, intelligent customer service representatives.
  • Access to their own customer story, told by the data they’re willing to share, such as online purchase history, website interactions, social mentions and more.
  • Local offers and information, collected via enabled geolocation services.
  • Responsive, real-time channel choice, such as chat, video, click-to-call. For companies this means the ability to match high-touch to high-value customers, low-touch to “window-shoppers,” and more.

3. Personalise the mobile experience
Personalisation has a special role on mobile. Mobile customers want immediacy, more so than PC users, and are less likely to wait, go the extra click, and browse extensively to complete a task or transaction.

More and more activity takes place on mobile, yet mobile abandonment remains extremely high. Personalised and immediate engagement may be the answer to improve the mobile commerce experience.

Personalising the digital experience for your customer is demonstrated to improve satisfaction, loyalty, conversions and average order values. Not surprisingly, the same holds true for mobile, and as personalisation equates to convenience and efficiency for the customer, it may yield dramatic improvements for your mobile strategy.

When your customers are browsing products via mobile, do you make it as convenient as possible to stay in-channel, provide any necessary support, and complete checkout? This should be a priority for businesses, considering the Australian Media and Communication Authority (AMCA) recently reported that 8.7 million Australians own a smartphone, which represents a growth rate of 104 per cent from 2011 – 2012. The AMCA also reported that 48 per cent of Australians now identify the mobile phone as their most-frequently used communications device.

4. Implement the right tools
Businesses require sophisticated technology to successfully implement multi-channel digital engagement and see results. With the right, cloud-based technology in place, companies can offer that 1-to-1, personalised experience for each customer, with real-time and trend data for larger scale decision-making.

Engagement platforms help turn data into insight, and help eCommerce managers show value on the bottom line.

As the eCommerce sector has matured and online consumers have become more sophisticated, competition has shifted from price and cost alone, to experience. Consumers today are demanding a much higher level of engagement throughout their online shopping journey, which means businesses need to ensure they are leveraging the right technology to deliver a meaningful and personalised experience to their customers.

Dustin Dean is VP and general manager of LivePerson JAPAC.