Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Putting the customer first in digital commerce

by Marie Koropisz, Midweight Strategist at Initials CX

Digital commerce is the world’s fastest-growing retail channel. It’s seen enormous change, growth and expansion, rising from £30bn worth of sales to £106bn in the past ten years.

Amid this rapid evolution, it’s difficult for brands to keep up with the ever-changing tide of trends. Rather than following the crowd, however, the most successful brands take a step back and adopt a more customer-centric approach to their digital commerce.

By putting their customer front and centre, these brands can meticulously map out the online path to purchase that their customers will take. From initial brand awareness to the final checkout, every stage is considered. 

Brands need to think about how they appear to the consumer and what they offer at every stage of purchase. In this way, you’ll ensure your customer journey is seamless and that your brand is meeting your customer’s needs.

Putting the customer first

To truly thrive, brands need to get under the skin of their customer. Conduct research to identify what channels they’re using; their online purchasing behaviours; how they buy from competitor brands; what problems they are looking to solve when they buy your product, and why they choose your product over someone else’s. 

Most importantly, consider what you can offer to better serve your customers and suit their needs. Rather than following the trends, establish your proposition and mould it your customer’s desires.

The rapid development of technology within digital commerce has transformed consumer habits and demands. 

Shoppers have become accustomed to getting what they want, when they want, how they want. Next-day delivery by 1pm or pick-up from the local newsagents. Pay now or pay in three monthly instalments. Buy from Instagram immediately or add to basket, compare options, and decide later.

The options are endless for the consumer and it’s difficult for brands to keep up with their demands.

Therefore, it’s vital to prioritise the needs and preferences of your customers. By doing so you build the trust, loyalty and positive reputation that is so integral to success. In an era when online reviews and social media amplify the voice of the consumer, putting the customer first isn’t just a strategy for success – it’s a necessity for survival.

By actively listening to and engaging with customer feedback, addressing concerns, and continuously improving their digital offerings, you can stay agile, adaptive, and truly responsive to the dynamic needs of their audience.

Becoming indispensable

Brands must look beyond merely satisfying customer needs. To become indispensable, they have to surpass customer expectations and create positive, memorable experiences that resonate long after the transaction.

Take contact lens company Vision Direct, for example. By autosaving customer prescription details and preferences, the brand streamlines the reordering process, enabling customers to effortlessly purchase the same lenses in less than three clicks, even if they previously ordered over a year ago. 

Not only does this ensure convenience for the customer, but it also cultivates a sense of trust and reliability. In turn, increasing the likelihood of consumers returning to the brand for their future needs as opposed to inputting their data and starting a fresh with a competitor.

Likewise, fashion giant ASOS enhances customer engagement by incorporating 360-degree videos of models showcasing their products. This immersive approach goes beyond the conventional 2D image, offering shoppers a comprehensive view of the items that interest them. 

By thoughtfully addressing and improving the customer experience on their digital platforms ASOS and Vision Direct underscore the importance of aligning technological innovations with the overarching goal of enhancing customer satisfaction. 

Rather than following the crowd and chasing the next trend, they have identified their customers’ needs and developed their digital commerce platforms to best accommodate them.

By following each and every trend, brands risk doing the opposite. They can place too much emphasis on new technology, channels and hopping onto the next big thing, at the detriment of improving their customer experience. This focus on technology and channel proliferation, without a customer-centric lens, risks diluting the impact of digital strategies.

As the future of digital commerce unfolds, with emerging trends like personalisation, AR, VR, and subscription services gaining momentum, brands must strike a balance. Successful navigation of the diverse digital commerce landscape requires a blend of innovation and an unwavering commitment to giving your customers what they want. 

Take a step back and ensure that your evolving digital commerce offering remains firmly grounded by your customer.