Creating an exceptional customer experience in the social age

When it comes to clothes shopping – online or otherwise – I don’t have a lot of patience. I want to be served and suggested to, mainly because I “never have any time” and don’t get a great deal of pleasure out of the act of shopping. In terms on online shopping behavior, I’m what you’d call a goal-oriented visitor – I visit a website for a specific reason, focus all my attention on the process, and take the minimum steps necessary to reach my goal. 

So it was refreshing to see that one of my all-time favorite go-to stores have integrated their Instagram feed with their mobile site. When I saw an outfit I liked, I could simply tap the link in their bio, the link took me directly to a page on their mobile site where I could purchase any of the items beautifully photographed on their Instagram feed. 

Cool right? Actually it was not so cool. Here’s why: 

Firstly, I quickly learned that there’s no integration between the mobile site and app, where I had a couple of items already in my basket. So now I have this dress and shoes in the mobile site basket and two pairs of boots in the mobile app basket.  

Secondly the Instagram feed doesn’t show the product codes. Which is the first thing I looked for when I realized I have to conduct a new search on the app in order to repurchase these items. Did I already mention I don’t have a lot of patience? 

And thirdly – and here’s the thing about social media – the pictures of the said products on the Product Details Pages looked nothing like the Instagram image. Customers must be able to experience the product through the images selected to represent it but now I’m looking at a dress that’s kind of dowdy and not all cool and sassy like the one in Instagram. Big disappointment. Now I’m not only frustrated by my online customer experience, I feel a bit cheated. And my shopping cart gets abandoned – even those cute little ankle boots. 

Cross platform CX must dos 

Cross platform customer experience is not a new game but it’s not always being done right. Here’s a retail outlet older than my mother. I’ve been shopping there since I was a kid. So the fact that they’re clearly embracing digital CX in a refreshing new way to reach younger, hipper audiences is to be applauded. Kudos to them for recognizing and embracing social media as an opportunity to increase online visitor engagement. But social media is just one part of the CX journey. It’s a whole journey, so my advice is 

Know and adapt to your visitors’ state of mind: Optimize the shopping experience for all type of shopper behavior on your website – building diverse purchase paths will increase conversions. In this case, a goal-oriented visitor needs the minimum steps necessary to reach their goal, and relies on as much information as they can retrieve. You can convert these visitors by providing navigational tools and search abilities that allow them to complete their tasks as quickly and easily as possible. It is also crucial that you equip goal-oriented visitors with all the information they need to make a calculated decision – including customer reviews, easy access to website assets, and even information from other websites. 

Understand the cross-platform journey: Improvements in the mobile e-commerce customer experience have triggered huge shifts in the customer journey. In an estimated 40% of all online purchases, customers usemultiple devices to visit the same retailer before purchasing. 28% of the time, customers make purchase decision on a different device than they use to complete the purchase.  How can you tell if a customer has abandoned your funnel, or has continued his conversion on another device? You need to drill into your customer experience data to get insight into the role each platform plays in your customer journeys, and how the journey differs across customer segments.  

The integration of platforms, especially on social is huge. Do the math: teens spend a “mind-boggling” nine hours a day using social media, and nearly half of that happening on mobile devices and nearly 70 percent of all teens said they prefer to browse the web version of their favorite stores versus visiting them in person. So e-retailers beware. Because have you met a teen lately? They’ve got way way less patience than me. 

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