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Customer-centric UX design

The birth of the Internet has meant that consumer expectations have risen considerably. A phone call is no longer required, as customers can openly communicate with a business via its social networking page, contact page and live chat. Technology has set a precedent for how customers interact with businesses, and customers move at their own pace. For an online retail business to be successful, it is important to know how to keep up with this pace and to continuously strive for a customer-centric user experience.

Understanding customer-centric journeys

The modern customer expects access to a number of services via their desktop or mobile device as well as a bricks-and-mortar store. In order to truly embrace this customer demographic, a business needs to understand the journey the customer takes while on the company’s website.

Some of the most common customer journeys within online retail are: browsing for something shoppers want to buy for themselves during the first visit to an online store, browsing for something shoppers need to buy for themselves during a follow up visit, searching for a gift for someone else, returning an item, checking previous order history and searching for information to become more informed. Understanding these journeys can help a business remove obstacles within these journeys that make them hard to complete ensuring a more customer-centric path.

Businesses can also anticipate any queries a customer may have. For example, a number of customers may be looking to purchase the same product, so the stock runs out for a short amount of time. Many looking for the same product may look elsewhere, unless there is some information available that could persuade them otherwise.

Having information ready that advises the customers about how long it will be before the item is back in stock can help retain a customer, while securing a more personal relationship. A business should consider such factors, and look at what can be included on the site to create a truly customer-centric journey.

Providing information at the right time

Ensuring that information is available at the right moment in time is also a key part of customer-centric user experience design. Offline, this manifests itself through store staff interjecting at the point at which a customer needs help, not before, not after. Or signage which provides information about items and their location in store. Store staff can also be given access to CRM platforms via mobile devices. In-store returns can then be dealt with in a more positive manner. Enquiries can be made as to why the item is being returned, and this data can be used to forward the customer vouchers and promotions based on products important to them.

Online this can manifest itself through welcome or follow up emails, which contains information and answers to frequently asked questions. Another example is a live chat box, which appears after a certain amount of time has been spent on specific pages, asking if they would like any help. A joined up CRM system that links customer purchase history, recommendations, predicted future customer value and the likelihood of the customer to lapse can also enable customer service teams to respond more relevantly. This has the power to turn inbound enquiries and complaints into sales opportunities.

Not only does this potentially retain a customer, but it also shows that the business has taken the customer’s concerns on board, and created a solution.

Overall, a retail businesses needs to open up communications with customers on an expansive cross-channel level. And it’s not just how a business communicates with a customer, but also how quick, that can be the deciding factor as to whether a customer returns or not.