Dale Higginbottom, head of CRO at eCommerce digital marketing agency, Visualsoft, reveals how jewellers can optimise the online customer experience.
Despite jewellery giants continuing to scale back their high street presence, e-commerce retailers are going from strength to strength. In fact, it is estimated that pure-play online jewellers are set to capture 10% of the market by 2020.
However, while many businesses within the sector may feel immune to the ongoing struggles of bricks-and-mortar stores, now is not the time to get complacent because the online competition is only set to increase.
It has therefore never been more important for jewellers to scrutinise their online offering and take robust steps to improve it.
Customer experience (CX), wherein a website provides an enjoyable and simple buying process, with easy access to help should consumers need it, is a vital part of the online purchasing journey. Not only does it engender brand loyalty (as consumers are more likely to come back to a site that they found simple to use), it also increases sales.
However, our recent analysis has found that CX performance has slipped across the board compared to when we compiled similar research in 2017. Evidently, this is an issue that needs to be rectified throughout 2019 – but how to go about it?
From adopting simple search features to creating a seamless payment journey, there are a number of tactics that can be incorporated to boost a site’s customer experience. Below we take a look at five simple ways to make online jewellery websites as customer-friendly as possible.
It’s important to ensure a site’s search platforms include autocomplete, well-targeted product suggestions or relevant recommendations to make locating specific items as easy as possible. Also, make search tabs clearly visible on all pages of a website. Shoppers utilising search functionality are likely to have higher intent to buy and so adding these additional search improvements specifically targets the users that are most likely to commit to purchase. Hence, providing these ‘warm’ customers with what they want or need at the right time can therefore prove crucial.
Live chat services
Make use of live chat or virtual assistant services. Studies show that incorporating this “humanising” aspect of an online brand, in which customers can receive an instant response to their queries – can boost conversion rates by as much as 40%.
Ease of purchase
Make sure there are as few steps to purchase as possible. Every additional step is likely to cause customers to drop out of the sales process. Also, offer options for users to login and use previously saved details on other online platforms such as Google, Facebook, PayPal and Amazon Pay. These tactics will maximise the level of ease when checking out.
Only a handful of industries may require users to create an account so, where possible, jewellery sites should offer a guest checkout option. Remove any friction when requesting customer details, stick to just the essentials and remove the ‘create a password’ field. Instead, ask users to create an account at the order success stage. This could prevent up to 35% of shopping basket abandonment.
Page load speed
Following Google’s latest speed update, which penalises mobile sites with slow loading speeds, features that could contribute to sluggish sites need to be removed. For example, oversized images and/or videos on homepages, unnecessary animations, overzealous tracking code, prematurely-loading content, and superfluous image carousels. Also, make the most of site assessments provided by Google and its partners that aim to tackle page load speed. Making these improvements could help boost search ranking and profitability, as slow sites are one of the biggest contributors to customer frustration, basket abandonment and – consequently – lost sales.
Whilst some of these points may sound simple, it’s often difficult for frequent users (i.e. employees and owners) of a site to really see where a typical user may be struggling to use it. Where possible, gather regular feedback on the customer experience, use surveys, heat/scroll mapping, user testing and review analytics data to get an understanding of the user, listen to what these users have to say and act on it.
Jewellery retailers that put these tactics into practice can feel confident they are in a strong position to make the most out of shoppers willing to splash the cash online. With an overall improved customer experience in place, there is a much greater chance of consumers not only buying more, helping to boost revenue figures, but also becoming returning, loyal customers.