As the UK enters a second national lockdown, and all non-essential shops close, retailers should be looking at their online offering, and how it can be improved in order to continue to offer their customers the best shopping experience, even whilst stores are closed.
Here are a few ways you can improve your customer experience online during the second lockdown (and beyond!).
Aid product discovery
Casually browsing the stores, strolling down the aisles and discovering new things you didn’t know you needed is what many of enjoy most about visiting the shops. So, whilst this isn’t possible during lockdown, retailers need to think about how to recreate this experience online.
Helping customers discover further products whilst they shop can help to encourage the impulse buying we experience whilst browsing physical stores. To aid product discovery, consider showing your customers products that are related to, or complement the items they’re browsing. For example, if a visitor is browsing bowls and plates, show them a range of complementary products such as new cutlery and mugs.
You could also feature popular / fast selling products or ‘new in’ products to encourage customers to discover items they wouldn’t usually browse.
Offer a personalised experience
When we shop in stores, we can easily receive a personalised shopping experience, with welcoming shop assistants offering tailored advice according to our wants and needs. When we shop online, it is difficult to offer that same level of personalisation, but there are things retailers can do to improve the online shopping experience.
Tailoring areas of your website to the shopper can help to personalise your customers journey, for example, when visiting the ASOS home page, I am automatically redirected to the women’s section because that’s what I’ve looked at before.
Amazon is great at showing products they think their customer will be interested in based on previous shopping habits. This level of personalised recommendations can increase sales whilst improving customer experience.
Another great example of personalisation is again from ASOS, who’s fit assistant helps to give customers personalised size recommendations based on their previous orders and information provided by customers.
Make it convenient
With shops closing during lockdown, customers can no longer see products for themselves. They can’t try items on, pick them up or touch products before deciding to buy. For this reason, retailers should make shopping online as easy and convenient as possible to try and overcome this barrier.
Retailers can do this by providing convenience such as free shipping, free and easy returns, and fast delivery.
With customer assistants on hand to answer questions such as “do you do this in red?”, “what size should I buy?”, and “will you be getting anymore of this in my size?”, shopping in stores allows customers to easily get help when they need it.
This shouldn’t have to be any different when shopping online, so take steps to offer your customers excellent customer service. Features such as live chat means you can remain available and responsive to customer queries, providing the same level of service they’re used to in store. You should also ensure your social channels are managed to pick up any queries coming from customers.
Another national lockdown is going to be difficult for retailers, but by taking steps to improve your online offering, you can raise customer satisfaction and increase online sales. Shifting towards e-commerce during this time can allow brands to interact and build brand affinity with shoppers that will continue to benefit your brand long after lockdown ends.