The global eCommerce market is huge. China’s market alone is estimated to bring in $2,779.31 billion by the end of 2021 according to Shopify. The United States with its $843.15 billion is smaller, but still presents an incredible opportunity for eCommerce brands.
The problem is competition. How do you stand out in an environment where any brand could potentially be a competitor? Well, a customer-centric approach to doing business might just be the solution for you, and we will walk you through why this is so.
What Is a Customer-Centric Approach?
First off, you need to understand what a customer-centric approach is. Just as the name suggests, it is an approach that prioritizes the customer experience. A customer-centric approach shifts from the typical profit-focused process that most businesses follow, and emphasizes how the customer experience can be improved.
Having gotten that out of the way, why would you need such an approach in your business? For that, it is best to look at the benefits that come with it, and the value that you, as a business owner, will draw from this approach.
When the customer comes first, everything else falls in place. A customer-centric approach opens your business to the following benefits:
Nothing appeals to a customer more than knowing that they are welcomed and feel appreciated. By being customer-centric, you get to win over your customers’ trust, and this leads to the next key benefit.
Winning over a new customer costs an average of five times more than retaining an existing one. Simply achieving a 5% customer retention for your business can increase your profits by 25-95%. In addition to that, you have a 60-70% success rate of selling to a customer you have already transacted with before.
All this is to say that with a customer-centric approach, you will get to build that much-needed healthy relationship between you and your customer. Ultimately, it will lead to more sales and more profits for your business.
In a Nielsen study conducted on 28,000 individuals in over 56 countries, it was established that 92% of customers trust the suggestions and recommendations that they get from family and friends more than they do advertising.
With a customer-centric approach, your existing customers will have many good things to say about your business to their friends and family. Word of mouth advertising has been regarded as the most effective form of promotion and is best leveraged by adopting a customer-centric approach.
According to Deloitte, companies that focus on being customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable compared to companies that are not focused on the customer. This is because customers are the backbone of any business. They are the foundation of even the most prominent enterprises. As such, focusing on the foundation and making it solid enough allows for the overall growth of the rest of the business. This is what a customer-centric approach facilitates. Concentrating on what is essential, so the company can grow, thrive, and become more competitive.
A conversion rate is when a given group of users complete a specific action. In eCommerce, this action can be checking out, signing up, or clicking on one particular product.
As mentioned earlier, a customer-centric approach is less about pushing a specific product and more about focusing on the customer, their needs and wants, and their experience while shopping. This reduces friction at the point of sale which why 73% of customers say it plays a role in their purchasing decisions.
In eCommerce, data is your greatest asset. You need to have as much data about your audience as you can. This means collecting insights from every platform thatyour customers or potential customers use.
You can also gain zero-data: some valuable insights into your customers’ tastes and preferences by conducting customer surveys. You can also run some focus groups or user testing to understand what they need or want, thereby allowing you to tailor your products and services based on that.
Between 2016 and 2020, mobile phone usage grew from 52.4% to 70.4%. It is further projected to grow to 72.9% by the end of 2021. According to Outer Box Design, 79% of smartphone users have made at least one purchase online using their mobile devices over the last six months. Almost 40% of all eCommerce purchases during the 2018 holiday season were all made on a smartphone.
More and more customers are making online purchases on their phones. You need to have that in mind and reflect it in how you develop your eCommerce platform.
Ensure that you build a layout that is just as good on a desktop as it is on a mobile phone.
Integrate simple conveniences such as signing in using social media or existing Google accounts and allow payments through mobile gateways. You can even go as far as building a mobile app for your customers; just make sure that they can conveniently and efficiently make purchases on their phones. That is how you win them over and how you will keep them for a long time to come.
While the customers are the backbone of the business, customer service is the heart. Getting this right allows your business to stand out from its competition. It can maintain a good reputation, even to future customers.
One way you can achieve this is by adding a live chat on your site’s chat widgets. You can even integrate chatbots that will take care of frequently asked questions and frequent issues that customers often run into.
You can also explore web or desktop email clients to handle your business email inquiries. With a good app, you can follow up on customer inquiries from social media apps and allow for timely responses and resolutions of issues that customers raise.
When drawing SMART goals, whether personal or for your business, one aspect that is factored in is “measurability.” When it comes to adopting a customer-centric approach to your eCommerce business, you can achieve this by measuring customer-centricity.
For starters, you can calculate your Customer Lifetime Value (LTV), their Repeat Purchase Rate (RPR). These will give you the metrics you need to gauge whether you are headed in the right direction or whether there are some areas that you would need to improve on.
A concern for many customers in 2021, is authenticity. Customers want to feel like they are being items from people and not from a faceless company. This can be a problem if most of your sales are online like in eCommerce.
One way to better promote authenticity is by incorporating user-generated content into your owned properties. Adding pictures, product testimonials, and user reviews to your website and social media channels is a great way to convey authenticity. It offers your brand a credibility boost in the eyes of those yet to try your products.
That boost can be significant, as much as 2.4 times greater than solely brand-led content.
As important as customer acquisition is, customer retention is arguably more important. According to Gartner Group, just 20% of your current customers will account for 80% of your future profits. And how do you ensure that happens? The answer is loyalty programs.
Loyalty programs that reward your customers for their trust and loyalty create a strong incentive for them to come back. It’s also a demonstration of how much you value them.
eCommerce is not the same today as it was ten or even five years ago. It won’t be the same either a year or two from now. Technology changes, customer preferences change, and the overall way of doing business changes as well. As such, there will always be ways to improve your brand. Be open to learning and unique experiences. That is how you will successfully implement a customer-centric approach into your enterprise.