In the early days of ecommerce, finding an ecommerce agency was very much a matter of technology. The agency that knew the platform you had, the tools you wanted, or your preferred coding language, would often be the best choice.
But today, that has all changed. Finding an ecommerce agency partner today is a lot less about the technical aspects of ecommerce. Instead, it’s about choosing the agency that will help you build a seamless, engaging customer experience.
In this article, we’ll take a look at this change and what this shift in focus means for ecommerce businesses in need of expert consultation.
A Holistic and Customer-centric Approach
When looking for advice online about choosing the right ecommerce agency, you’ll find many articles talking about specialized technical expertise and experience. But while technical expertise is, of course, still necessary, it’s far from enough. Partnering up with an ecommerce agency that applies an exclusively technical perspective on your challenges will not get you to where you need to be in today’s competitive ecommerce landscape.
Ecommerce success today is not just about technology. Technology includes the tools, a means to an end. What you really need to nail is the customer experience: from online to offline, and back again. Regardless of what channel your customers opt for, a seamless, coherent, frictionless and enjoyable customer experience is the most critical differentiator for brands today, even more so than price.
People have also come to expect convenience from digital brands. And if your customer journey fails to deliver on that, it doesn’t matter what tech you’re using; your customers will soon be checking out their carts at competitive websites instead.
A Great Experience Through the Whole Customer Journey
So, it’s critical to make the experience your north star. One of the key mistakes many companies make when they look for an ecommerce agency is to confuse customer experience with the transactional part of purchasing on their website. But customer experience includes so much more than the actual purchase.
The customer experience includes every touchpoint that your customers have with your brand, from how they find you, to the very first ad they click and all the way to the support conversations, returns, and new orders they hopefully will place. According to research by Qualtrics XM Institute, 94% of American customers will recommend a company where they find the customer experience to be “very good.” But only 13% will recommend a company whose customer service they’ve rated as “very poor.”
This shows how important it is not to only focus on the purchase phase and instead create outstanding customer experiences through every step of the customer lifecycle. To do this, you need to work with an ecommerce agency that applies this perspective and knows how to help you be found, considered, selected, and become the preferred choice in the future. If not, you not only risk ending up with a fragmented experience where you lose conversions at every new phase, but you also will lose out to your competitors.
More specifically, in Vaimo’s blog post, 11 Tips for Choosing the Right Ecommerce Partner for Your Business, Brian Dearth, Head of Strategy and Growth, speaks about the importance of selecting a partner with omnichannel capabilities, “Today, you need to be present in every channel, and you need to make the transitions between channels seamless. From physical stores and apps to social media, customer service, and delivery tracking, you need a coherent and seamless solution. ”
You can read more about how to do this in Vaimo’s blog post titled: 5 Keys to Building an Exceptional Ecommerce Customer Experience.
Digital Experience: Your Competitive Edge
For years, consumers have grown increasingly accustomed to increasingly personalized digital experiences. Digital forerunners like Amazon and Netflix have taken personalization to an increasingly granular level, making interactions smooth, intuitive, and often “one-click.” And now, this is what we all expect, in all digital interactions. Ease-of-use, coherence, and personalization. And consequently, 73% of customers today say one extraordinary experience immediately raises their expectations of other companies’ service, which is understandable. After all, if one company can create a fantastic experience, why should we not expect that everywhere?
Brands are Taking Control of the Full Journey
One of the things that has enabled many brands to take full ownership of their customer experiences is the D2C trend (Direct-To-Consumer). Especially brands within fashion and FMCG have been doing this very well, venturing into D2C to cut out the middleman, instead creating fully branded and immersive journeys. D2C has allowed more and more brands to shape and elevate the whole customer journey, which has profoundly impacted the ecommerce landscape as a whole.
Related reading: What Is Social Commerce? Strategy and Tactics for 2022
Competition is Always Just One Click Away
In the digital world, competitors are always just a click away. This means it’s extremely easy for customers to compare different offers and vendors, not only product-wise but based on their digital customer experience. And especially in cases where products and prices are similar, the experience will often be the deciding factor. A well-designed, engaging, and personalized customer experience goes a long way when it comes to securing a sale.
Brands That Dare to Stand Out Gain Market Share
A challenge for brands today is not only to create a really great customer experience. But also to create one that stands out and is not just a copy of what everyone else is doing.
As most brands rely on similar or even the same tech platforms, the experience when buying a plane ticket or ordering food is becoming almost the same, regardless of vendor. And when that happens, brands go back to competing on price – which is rarely a great position to be in.
As companies develop customer experiences, branding those experiences will become increasingly important. Strong brands that have not only great products, but also great visual content and outstanding experiences, will be the winners in the future.
Related reading: The Ultimate Guide to Personalized Ecommerce
Brands Realize that the Digital Journey is Long
While the internet has admittedly enabled us to act on whims and seek immediate gratification on a whole new level, there’s also another side to the story. Not everything that happens in ecommerce is direct response. In fact, most of it isn’t.
That coveted conversion and checkout may happen with just one click, but it’s the last click in a long digital journey that may have started weeks or months earlier. It may have started with a display ad, leading to some browsing on the website, and then nurturing via a few retargeting ads – only to lead to the actual conversion via shoppable content on social media. The journeys are growing longer and increasingly complex, putting new demands on ecommerce merchants to keep up.
Engaging Digital Experiences Drive Conversions
According to research by Salesforce, 84% of customers say that the customer experience is as important as the products or services a company provides. Just think about that, as important! And the same report found that 40% of customers will not engage with and buy from businesses if they can’t use their preferred digital channels.
These numbers showcase the new digital landscape and the importance of top-notch omnichannel customer experiences. And one of the most striking results from Salesforce’s survey: a stunning 66% of customers are even willing to pay more for a great digital experience!
Related reading: Omnichannel B2B Ecommerce: The New Normal
How Vaimo Can Help
Vaimo is an ecommerce agency with a clear focus on digital experiences. We always apply a customer-centric approach and support our clients with a holistic way of working with the whole customer journey. On a daily basis we work with brands, retailers, and manufacturers worldwide to help them build winning omnichannel experiences.
We’d love to help you take your ecommerce business to the next level and build a customer experience that gives your brand a competitive edge. Get in touch with our team of experts to learn how we can help you optimize your ecommerce experiences and help you stand out from your competition.