The (Rick) Role of Customer Experience in the Ecommerce Success

I’m no stranger to Customer Experience. I’ve been helping companies improve their relationships with their customers for 10 years now. And every time, I see ecommerce operations view their business as fragmented marketing tactics instead of appreciating the holistic buyer’s journey.  The key to success is in cultivating a relationship with your customers and, just like with a romantic partner, recognizing that this relationship is built on countless emotional touchpoints. These interactions build a sense of security and loyalty, both on a subconscious and conscious level, which are crucial not only for the initial purchase but for encouraging repeat business. 

To maintain and enhance this relationship, continuous effort is a must! Think of it as evolving from a casual date into a long-term partnership. And who better to take inspiration from than the master of commitment himself, Rick Astley? 

Who knew that this whole time what  Rick Astely was ACTUALLY singing about was nurturing an ecommerce customer through their buyer’s journey? Rick knows what a customer truly needs. Each line of Never Gonna Give You Up’s infamous chorus offers ties to a pillar of the customer experience sage advice for ecommerce stores aiming to foster enduring customer relationships. Let’s dive into these lyrics a little deeper: 

“Never gonna give you up” – Remarketing, Personalization and Email/SMS

Your customer wants to feel special and they want reminders that you exist. There is definitely a balance here because, just like in a normal relationship, you don’t want to spam them at 4am leaving 45 voicemails about how much you are thinking of them (believe me, they don’t want that). But they do want to remember that you exist and with the right messaging and value, remarketing can play a powerful role in getting someone back to your website. Email/SMS can be a helpful strategy in providing exclusive offers tailored to the customer. Once they’ve hit the website, you really want to personalize the experience to their specific needs. They don’t want to feel like they are just another money sack in your vault. You want to keep your customers interested with recommendations tailored to their interests and purchase history. These strategies ensure that your customers feel valued and understood.

“Never gonna let you down”  – Seamless Online Shopping Experience

Imagine a customer walks into your physical store, and then the product they want is on the top shelf and they need to get a staff member to help them reach it. You are putting major friction there, which may cause that customer to just give up. Though, with a physical store, there is a lot of effort in giving up and having to drive to a competitor. Online, however, competitors are a click away and if you let down your customers by causing friction points along the way, you’re going to lose their business. Friction points come in all shapes and sizes, but one of them is definitely a poor website experience. A broken navigation, buttons that lead to nowhere, or a bad overall experience could deter a customer from carrying forward.  By optimizing your website’s UI, you are providing a smooth, intuitive navigation system that ensures customers find what they’re looking for without hassle.  An experimentation and implementation cycle helps ensure that you always provide the best possible experience for your customers. 

“Never gonna run around and desert you” – Excellent Customer Support

Do you know what one of the earliest points in a relationship is that establishes foundational positivity and is a stepping stone into a relationship? Hand-holding. This is no different with businesses. Hand-holding sometimes becomes necessary to answer questions and provide help when customers need it. With reliable, 24/7 customer service, a company can provide support to help users complete their purchases. Multiple channels, such as live chat, email, and phone, reassure customers that help is always at hand.

“Never gonna make you cry”  – Emotional Connection & Loyalty

Customers will continue to buy from you, not just because you have a good product, but also because they love your brand. The brand provides a value system that aligns with something more than just functionality, you are fostering an emotional connection to your business. You cultivate the brand response through messaging, social media & creative. That emotional connection will reinforce brand loyalty and encourage repeat business. Additionally, you can build loyalty by personalizing rewards, providing exclusive offers, and creating a points system that makes customers feel special and appreciated.

“Never gonna say goodbye”  – Transparent Communication

You will lose a repeat customer if the communication around that first purchase leaves a sour taste in their mouth. Good communication is a must. You need to keep your customers informed about every step of their purchase journey, from order confirmation to delivery updates. Transparent communication ensures that they always know what’s happening with their order.

“Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you”  – Building Trust & Social Proof

Trust is the single most important factor in any relationship. Many people love each other but if trust isn’t there, the relationship breaks down. With the customer experience, it’s the same way. If you break a customer’s trust, you may get a thank you letter in the mail from your competitor because sure as shit that customer is their customer now. All of those touchpoints that can do you favors in building trust can also be factors of losing trust. You need to pay attention to these different touchpoints ensuring that all product descriptions, images, and marketing materials are accurate and honest. Additionally, just as you probably wouldn’t date that guy who lives in that shady house on top of that tall hill that no one has ever seen come out of their home, you’ll want to build credibility with your audience by showcasing other’s customer’s satisfaction with your product and brand. Social proof can be a great way of saying “you can trust us because your friends do.”

Rick Astley is a Customer Experience legend that we can all learn from.While he may not have actually been singing about ecommerce (jury’s still out), his words resonate with timeless advice for creating memorable customer experiences. By adopting these strategies, your e-commerce store can transform a one-hit wonder into a forever customer.

For the full online course with a step-by-step guide on each of these concepts…click here.

Josh Silverbauer

 | March 13 ,2024

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