BUILDING AN ECOMMERCE SITE THAT DRIVES LOYALTY
Digital marketing has become a critical element of any business’s overall marketing and customer engagement strategy writes Chris Stolke, Manager, Pronto Woven.
Acompany’s digital presence and eCommerce site needs to be more than just aesthetically pleasing – it needs to be deeply integrated with the company’s back-end systems and information, to offer an incredibly seamless, personalised and easy experience for customers. Here, I’ll step through the benefits of harmonising your digital presence and business management software, so that sales truly sing.
Traditionally, the number of visits and sales to an eCommerce website were the core goals of a digital marketing plan. Yet, as customer engagement platforms mature in the digital space, convenience and instant gratification are increasingly key objectives in marketing plans, both being proven as key drivers for a user experience that drives loyalty. Today’s consumers are digitally obsessed citizens that expect all services to which they subscribe to have an open communication channel, which allows them to engage at the push of a button.
Companies with an online presence need to provide customers with a personal, accurate and timely experience from start to finish - not only when they purchase a product but also when they’re browsing, researching, asking questions or expecting delivery. Therefore, your eCommerce site needs to be sufficiently tied to your business management software system, tapping into real-time, relevant data from CRM, warehouse and logistics modules.
Next, I’ll step through the key benefits a fully integrated eCommerce presence can bring to your business. SAVE VALUABLE TIME AND RESOURCES Integration of front- and backend systems will save time manually sending data from one source and into another, cutting administration costs and helping your bottom line. It will free your staff to think more creatively and innovatively on income-generating tasks that meet company objectives, and correspondingly help them feel more connected with the business strategy. ENHANCE THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE In days gone by, a customer would walk into a store, make a purchase and leave, and that would be the end of their interaction with your business. Nowadays, customers interact with your brand all of the time, and across a number of platforms. They might Google the category, peek at your website, and ask a question on your Facebook page before making a purchase.
The interactions across all of these touch points result in highly valuable CRM data, which can be used to understand their customer journey, and the potential road blocks, problems or frustrations they may have experienced on the way. You can then learn from these insights, watch patterns, and make appropriate changes to improve the experience.
Further, having a single source of collated information on each customer allows every interaction to be meaningful, which is more likely to end in a sale. Relevant data that allows a site to aggregate information in an appropriate, personalised manner, includes tapping into the customer’s shopping and browsing history, details on past customer enquiries as well as visibility into open or abandoned online shopping carts. If you don’t secure the sale this time, positive word of mouth is just as valuable. INCREASE THE ACCURACY OF YOUR INFORMATION You can lose a customer in many ways, and there’s often no easier way than offering them wrong information. For example, a customer loves one of your products featured on your eCommerce website, puts it in their cart, and pays. They are then told that the product is not in stock, and requests a refund. Or perhaps they arrange to collect a product from their local store through your website, and arrive to be met with blank looks from the salesperson.
Integrating inventory, pricing and customer information can help ensure that what your customers see on your site is accurate based on real-time information, and they can trust your brand. In the age of social media, a single poor customer experience can result in a highly public and negative review on your Facebook page or on Google. This can be damaging and disappointing when it isn’t a true representation of your usual, and targeted, customer service standards. ALLOW CUSTOMERS TO KEEP TRACK OF ORDERS When making a purchase online, a customer likes to see where it is and exactly when they can expect it. Integrate your eCommerce site with external services like Australia Post and you will be able to notify customers of when their product has been shipped, and allow customers to see their order journey in real-time. This will give them the security of knowing it’s on its way, and also help build their anticipation for receiving the new product. SAVES MONEY ON UPGRADES If you have an existing business management software system (ERP platform), you may be used to the process of upgrading it every few years, to ensure your system embraces latest offerings and capabilities. These costs can be particularly costly when there are multiple vendor owned systems at play. Integrating your systems with one vendor can save money on upgrades, as well as reduce the time and resources spent implementing these.
While ha ving an eye-catching and easy to navigate eCommerce website is essential, it’s not a standalone element in your digital strategy. The objective of any marketing strategy is to maximise sales. An integrated, intelligent system that supports a website enables this objective to be met.
An eCommerce website that effectively talks to your ERP and other systems, means that your customers will experience accurate, personalised and timely information on their purchases. It will ensure their customer experience is on-point during every interaction, enhancing their trust and loyalty in your brand.