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There has never been a better time to be an online merchant. In 2013 global B2C eCommerce sales will top $1.29 trillion, growing 18% over 2012. This level of growth creates opportunity for lots of winners.

One risk and opportunity for merchants is the fact this $1.29 trillion of consumer spend is transient. Only 25% of consumers define themselves as very loyal to brands and 25% have no brand loyalty whatsoever. This pervasive and increasing disloyalty creates opportunity for massive disruption, which we see everyday in the ecommerce world.

This lack of loyalty comes in large part because customers have more choice than they ever have. Unprecedented choice demands that every ecommerce company face this market fact: You need your customers more than they need you.

With choice creating commoditization, the importance of creating the right customer experience has never been more important. It’s one of the key reasons online brands like Bonobos and Warby Parker are disrupting their categories. They are passionate about customer experience.

Helping merchants create a better customer experience is a fundamental reason we are building the CRM for Commerce, OroCRM. Creating the right customer experience will be the major thrust of competitive advantage for merchants past 2013. For companies that are playing catch up or just getting started, let us offer three initial suggestions.

Understand Your Customer Journey

Understanding the current flow of your customer interactions is a powerful starting point to delivering a better customer experience. How do customers find you, evaluate your product, access it, get help along the way and reengage after purchase? Understanding the journey can help you discover drop off and friction points customers face. Once you discover interactions from the point of view of your customer, you will be able to understand their challenges and fix problem areas in the customer journey.

Create a Cohesive Customer Experience

Customers want a cohesive brand experience. Not having it across marketing, sales and customer support can create major dissatisfaction, not to mention cause major misses in opportunities for upsell and cross sell. The biggest winners of 2014 and beyond will invest in capturing a single view of their customers across channels and use that data to create a cohesive customer experience. At Oro, we are thinking about this more than anything else. The ability to create a single customer experience across multiple marketing and sales channels will be a headline benefit of OroCRM.

Empower Employees to Do the Right Thing

We have all had that experience where something downright wrong happened to us in a buying experience and there was no resolution to the problem. Ten years ago this may have been an isolated issue with minimal repercussions. With the proliferation of social channels, every customer has a microphone to tell the world about their experience with your company. Empowering employees to do the right thing on behalf of the customer will repay merchants in spades in an era of data democratization. Besides, doing the right thing is the way our mothers raised us.

We know taking in-depth measures to improve customer experience is not easy and the solves aren’t uniform. Over the few weeks we will be sharing more details about our roadmap and you will see how we intend to help merchants create the right customer experience in a way that is flexible to your business! In the meantime, we will continue to offer ideas we hope will help along the way.