By Lia Cattassini, Strategy Director, Tribal Worldwide London
Think back to how you would reach out to your friends before the pandemic, or how you preferred shopping for groceries or clothes. It’s fair to say those interactions look very different today, with tech playing the main role in that change.
The average British person spends six hours and 25 minutes per day using a screen. This can be on a smartphone, a computer or even a TV. Needless to say, the pandemic has had a huge impact on our digital behaviour by increasing screen time and speeding up digital adoption.
All the important parts of our lives have become digital, from work to social interactions and from identity to money. Naturally, it has become increasingly difficult to live without ecommerce platforms.
At the same time, spending more time online has also impacted our attention span. The average person’s attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to less than eight seconds today. For ecommerce platforms, this means two things: moment-centric solutions, which allow customers to buy at any moment on any platform, or experience-centric solutions, which provide an immersive experience to get consumers involved with the brand.
A recent study from Deloitte showed that even a 0.1 second improvement in load time can influence the user journey and conversion rates. Moment-centric solutions, when contextually relevant, can accelerate the path to purchase. These solutions are expected to be seamless and effortless, helping people to buy as soon as the decision is made.
This means social commerce and shoppable media formats are attracting the attention of brands as a way of creating moment-centric solutions.
Experience-centric solutions, on the other hand, are not as focused on converting users quickly but more on transforming the shopping experience into a unique brand experience. Rather than native solutions for different platforms, users might be directed to a specific destination where the brand has more control over the experience.
As more and more experiences shift from physical to digital, we can’t look at ecommerce as just a transactional opportunity. At every touchpoint and interaction, consumers are evaluating and forming their opinions about a brand. The challenge for ecommerce platforms will be finding the right balance between experience and moment solutions, allowing customers to shop fast but without compromising the brand’s story. Successful brands will use social commerce as a complete and authentic retail experience all of its own.
Our lives and experiences are becoming increasingly digital, which means customers will have even greater expectations about shopping online. That includes 24/7 customer support. People want to be able to shop and contact customer service at any time, whenever needed. Brands must be ready to offer that support and answer questions immediately.
Blended retail will become the norm, as customers expect to float between online and offline without friction. Brands will have to offer an integrated ecosystem of solutions to create a unique customer experience. However, this switch has been cause for catch up for British companies, as the UK is believed to be five years behind Chinese ecommerce, which achieves 80% of all its sales through online mobile apps.
With ever increasing customer interactions that blend the real and digital world, a brand should be used to stitch these experiences together to accelerate its ecommerce experience. Brands should know where to fill the gaps when a customer is not interacting with the brand, keeping customers in the know, up-to-date, and engaged, in a way they want, when they want, without being too imposing.
Ultimately, the consumer’s experience should be at the heart of every touchpoint across ecommerce channels. When you consider CX drives over two-thirds of customer loyalty, more than ‘brand’ and ‘price’ combined (Gartner, via CMSWire), it’s clear that customer experience is where your brand can offer a point of competitive difference on ecommerce channels.