4 Tips for Maximizing Engagement & ROI on 2019 Holiday Gift Guides

Wondering how best to set up your digital gift guides in time for the holidays? Follow these four tips to make sure your website is making the most out of its “featured gift” products, and is helping users navigate through the 2019 holiday season chaos with much-needed ease.

1. Avoid using content blocks that take up the entire length of a screen.

Steer clear of what we in UI call the “false bottom” — the illusion that a page has ended when it hasn’t. This UX misstep could stop your visitors from scrolling further down the page, and may restrict their exposure to content. Instead, let your visitors know there is more to see — the more categories they see, the more likely they are to find the one that is relevant to them.

Check which categories have the highest purchase conversion or conversion rate per click and prioritize these. It is possible that some categories drive higher engagement, but record lower conversions. This points to frustration and confusion, intel you can use to optimize a particular site element. 

2. Be specific with gift guide categories.

Your gift guide categories should be as specific as possible. It is harder for users to narrow down a large product catalog on a product landing page (PLP), than to click into a category that already has a narrower scope. 

It should be clear before users choose a gift guide that they will find on the gift guide list page. Is the category based on price, interests, demographic information..? Find out what’s most important to your visitors, and wherever you can, personalize suggestions based on these needs. 

Also keep in mind that in gift guides, users are likely to be shopping for somebody else, so recommending repeat purchases based on past sales isn’t always relevant.

3. Ensure that your filter and sort function on your gift guide PLPs are optimized and easy to use.

The more difficult your filter and sort function are to use, the more frustrated users will become when trying to find the most appropriate product on a gift guide list page. Avoid adding frustration to the already overwhelming task of sifting through hundreds or thousands of products. 

4. Provide a seamless way to access various categories from the gift list page.

Displaying shortcuts to other gift categories on the list page can help reduce navigation friction. Visitors shouldn’t have to go back to the homepage, main gift guide page, or use the global navigation to quickly access other gift options.


Examples of Online Gift Guides with Great UX

Here are some great examples of online gift guides:

J.Crew

On the homepage, the gift guide category features an eye-catching GIF that plays automatically. On the gift guide list page, there is a category dropdown that helps users jump to different gift categories. Users can also easily narrow down listings using categorization buttons like “Best Selling” and “Gifts under $25 

Madewell

In this example, at least 3 categories are visible on the homepage without the need for scrolling. Once the user clicks to the gift guide list page, they can also use a category dropdown to jump to more specific gift guide categories.

Macy’s 

Gift guide categories are specific and speak to users’ personalities. Above these categories, there are also categories based on price.

 

Hero Image via Adobe Slack, by Nnudoo

Dreamforce 2019: What We Learned at one of Tech’s Biggest Events

In retrospect, my first time at Dreamforce —  a summit for innovation and cutting-edge technology —  was much how I imagined it would be: a three-day techy delight party. Within an hour of landing, I noticed the groundswell badge-carrying, intentional session trekkers and got to key-note crashing. 

Salesforce knows how to set a conference vibe with the ukulele opening performance, with horn shell blowing duos wishing attendees “a wonderful and blessed Dreamforce event.” 

Salesforce Product Previews 

Amid the sensory overload of DJspinning, Obama-stanning, and expo hall cacophony were some of the most exciting Salesforce product previews I’ve seen to date. Starting with enhanced capabilities to Einstein, a service cloud, the A.I. algorithm is now powering customer call centers with natural language processing to understand the context of the conversation, and surface the most relevant knowledge-article for the associate. 

The pain this solves is reducing the hold time and consumer policy referencing, which enables Einstein to close customer cases 31% times faster. This cuts out 10 minutes in operation, making for workflow efficiency and overall better and faster work. 

I was left most curious about the future of Salesforce’s new, custom-built, multi-channel CMS, as it highlights agility for digital teams to organize and sustain every aspect of their asset creation. This allows them to hone in on their viable potential to tailor connector integrations to bolster their capabilities. 

Also exciting was the news rollout from Salesforce B2C Commerce LINK Marketplace,  confirming that LINKpartners like Contentsquare would be transitioning to the AppExchange, an online marketplace for Salesforce apps, components and services that connects customers with a business’s solutions. 

This will enable a deeper, more seamless deployment for customers, including ours. It is well in line with the Customer 360 mission, and underscores the substantial partner ecosystem investment they’ve made this year. 

3 Tips for Future Dreamforce Attendees

Interested in attending Dreamforce? Here are the three  tips I would give to Dreamforce novices moving forward to maximize time and energy onsite:

  1. Map your business and product objectives to the right internal Salesforce teams, stakeholders and sessions. There’s an app for that, which was fairly effortless to navigate and use to schedule meetups 4-6 weeks prior to attending. San Francisco has phenomenal eateries and coffee shops; take advantage of the opportunity to treat stakeholders for 30-minute syncs away from the pandemonium.
  2. (Dual) partner up: connect with mutual partner customer success teams to align on scaling integrations and for the best ways to measure and amplify results with joint-compelling narratives.
  3. Double down: Salesforce soldiers and their respective trailblazers are in full-effect at Dreamforce. Therefore,  the best way to gain face time and address challenges live and direct is during the event where they are projecting motivation and building new-year momentum. 

All in all, I left Dreamforce too blessed to be stressed, and easily more informed on how Contentsquare can extend the value of Salesforce solutions than when I arrived.

 

Digital CX We’re Thankful for: UX Lessons for Thanksgiving & Beyond

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and as we near this precious time of family reunions, hearty meals and giving thanks for all of life’s blessings, we thought it would be fitting to call out another source of our gratitude: good digital customer experience (CX). 

While gathering data is crucial to building a good UX — and we’re chock full of it — we thought it would be pertinent to get direct feedback from our lovely cadre of UX-perts through a VoC approach.

As such, we surveyed our own team members on some of the best digital experiences they’ve had and they responded with the websites and site features that they’re thankful for. 

Let’s read about the kind of user experience that completes our Thanksgiving, and our daily lives. 

What sites do you like to visit and are thankful for?

“I go to TechCrunch a lot. The way the site is designed and presented is easy to digest and view, as opposed to a regular news site. TheAwesomer is also a great site, not great-looking, but it curates cool stuff from across the internet, like news articles, product finds, Kickstarter projects, videos and more. Unlike Reddit, it’s not user submitted, so the quality is better. It’s filled with thumbnails.”
Greg Tessitore, Director of Digital Experience in Marketing


“Target, it’s super convenient and there are two stores that are in my path when heading home from work. ASOS has affordable clothes that are pretty diverse in the section. From beachwear to wedding attire, you can find it on ASOS.Nordstrom Rack has great sales on designer clothes. And when you order online or via the app, they often give you an additional 15% off
already discounted items.”
Ebony Hester, Director of Demand Generation


“I’m thankful for Zara, Nordstrom Rack and Amazon, as they make shopping online rather easy, and I don’t feel the necessity to have to go in person to any store if I’m feeling lazy. I know what will fit me the majority of the time and the return policy/process isn’t an inconvenience.”
Ashley Ygarza, Sales Development Representative  


“YouTube – I’m thankful for the beauty bloggers’ recommendations!”
Emily Cawse, Strategic Consultant in Global Services


“ESPN, Foot Locker, CNN. For content sites, I like to be able to understand headlines quickly and dive in quick. For retail sites, I want to be able to either locate what I want asap or have appropriate browsing options.”
Joseph Schaefer, SDR Manager


“Twitter. It’s
easy to navigate and I love the content.”
Tito Javier, Sales Development Representative

What subscription sites do you like and why?

UXPin, an open-source code forum, where you can submit pins — a pivot point/starting point on a development project, that’s in code like CSS or Javascript. Users can get involved in a project and put their own spin on it.  I’m subscribed to the newsletter and it’s all in code. It’s basically a digital sandbox that people build stuff in.”
Greg Tessitore


“Freshly.com — used the service and the ability to select meals, edit cart and pause the subscription, which was very intuitive and executable in a click or two.”
Marc Blum, Sales Director


“Birchbox + Careof. Prior to committing to either box, you have to fill out a questionnaire about your concerns and what you would like to implement in your self-care regimen that I truly like. The questions are well thought out and it makes you feel that the items you are getting are truly crafted for you. The packaging as well is very personable and I look forward to receiving them, let it be monthly (Birchbox) or when I finish my current supply (Care/of).”
Ebony Hester


“Curology; it’s easy to get around.”
Ashley Ygarza


“Spotify, because of its seamless experience across all my devices and more music than I could ever listen to!”
Emily Cawse

Adobe Stock, VIa Hurca!

 

What brands do you think have mastered good CX and why?

“It seems like Amazon already has an idea of my preferences based on the product suggestions I get recommended to me on the homepage. Sometimes I end up adding unnecessary items simply because it’s within the category that I’m already purchasing and looks kind of cool /have not thought about buying it before. <span

I also enjoy how easy it is to get to their review section and depend on those heavily if I’m buying an unfamiliar product. Sometimes I go on and buy stuff just bc I’m in the mood to shop and they have everything – they make shopping kind of addicting.”
Ashley Ygarza  


“Lush — I like the easy navigation and the ability to search box spend. Casper is just a clean layout. I like the social media UGC feed and that the pop up for additional offers is delayed just the right amount that you don’t feel bombarded.”
Ebony Hester


“Apple — you get what you pay for!”
Emily Cawse


“Foot Locker. I like the blend of lifestyle content and product pushes/CTAs.”
Joseph Schaefer


“Godaddy, because of the incredible customer support.”
Avi Mash

Can you give us an example of a UX function or individual site element that provided a great experience for you? One that helped you or left you in awe?

“The Digital Panda, a DX agency. They built out cool animated bits on their “what they do” section of their homepage. Instead of having the title of each service and a small paragraph alone, they’re topped with an animation of pandas doing what the services offer — they’re animated descriptions. So I don’t even have to read what they do if I don’t have time; looking at these animations lets me know in a unique way.”
Greg Tessitore


“Wayfair’s app lets you see their furniture in your own space with a 3D camera. It really helped when I redecorated my apartment last year, I had a graph paper floor plan with proper measurements but seeing how the furniture spacing would work in real life was awesome.”
Meredith Golden, Sales Director


“The filtering capability. Being able to drill down into exactly what I’m looking for without having to filter and then do an exhaustive manual search on top of it.”
Joseph Schaefer


“When Google populated my calendar appointments on to Maps.”
Emily Cawse


“Rio2rome.com. I like the functionality and predictability of being able to connect my travel journeys through a variety of transportation options.”
Ebony Hester 

“I didn’t know what size bag to get, but the site offered a great comparison guide.”
Marc Blum


“The Delta app is really clean and easy to use.”
Avi Mash


“Paypal and Apple Pay, because of their rapid loads and mobile checkout capabilities.”
Harold Padilla Villa, Product Experience Manager

Do you know what you want to buy on Black Friday? What sites will you go to?

Adobe Stock, via Estheroon


“I don’t really buy on Black Friday, it’s more of taking advantage of any sale. I’ll be on
Wayfair, seeing if any of the couches go down in price. The couch I want is saved in my cart; it would be nice if they sent an email about this if there is a price drop, to show they’re paying attention.”
Greg Tessitore


“Electronics from Best Buy, because of the name recognition and comfort with the brand.”
Joseph Schaefer


“Yes, luggage. Have been on Monos.com a lot and will buy from them. I really like their UX.”
Marc Blum


“Definitely cleaning supplies or certain types of tech gadgets. Most likely Target and Amazon.”
Allison Choi


“A Lumie sunrise alarm clock — I’ll be checking Amazon of course.”
Emily Cawse


“Yes, for Black Friday, looking to purchase a TV and possibly an instapot. I start my Black Friday shopping with a direct mail piece. Target is now taking over as the big gift guide book since the end of Toy R Us. After that I view the website to gather more details about the Black Friday Preview sales. I’m more looking forward to Cyber Monday for flight deals.”
Ebony Hester


“I’ll probably buy some flights.”
Avi Mash

What We Learned from 110 Million Visitor Sessions During Black Friday & Cyber Monday

We’re entering the most hectic time of the year again — and it’s not even (officially) the holiday season. That’s because the holiday season doesn’t formally start until the holy grail of retail events. We’re of course alluding to Black Friday, the crème de la crème for boosting revenue.

Our globally-extracted data attests to the weight this pre-holiday season event holds. (Have you seen the stampedes and clashes over commonplace items on this day?) With strong expectations of drawing in higher volumes of customers who purchase, now is the time to make sure your digital CX is spot on. 

We analyzed 110 million visitor sessions and inspected the performance of 600 million pages during the 2018 Black Friday season, stretching from November 11th to November 27th. 

Our data validates the expectations of higher sales and shopping carts surrounding these retail affairs (in most cases). There was also less site abandonment — in some countries. Let’s look at some of the key insights we gleaned from those numbers.

Big Wins in the USA — Cyber Monday Rules

Black Friday — historically a brick-and-mortar affair — is today a major digital sales event. In 2018, Black Friday digital sales reached record highs, generating $6.22 billion in revenue. Cyber Monday, as its name suggests, has always been about promotions in the digital space, i.e, eCommerce.

The United States followed this rationale, as its largest sales were chalked up to Cyber Monday last year. Black Friday sales saw a 17% hike in conversions, but Cyber Monday sales trounced these, with conversion increases of 60%.

And conversions weren’t the only thing on the rise — in the US, average carts increased during Black Friday by 12%

These heightened conversions were made possible owing to the checkout in particular. This was the case for not solely the US, but also in the UK. Let’s look at the stats we crunched on the checkout portion of the customer journey.

Adobe Stock, via Ivan

 

The Checkout: Higher Conversions, Lower Bounce Rates & Less Logins 

The conversion rate among visitors who reached the checkout funnel was 25% higher during both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Pre-holiday shoppers who reached the checkout appeared to be more inclined to go through all the steps necessary to complete their purchase, from selecting a product to entering their shipping address. 

The checkout page spurred lower bounce rates in both the US and UK. In the US, the checkout bounce rate went down by 28.3%, and in the UK, it decreased by 32%. 

In the US, the checkout bounce rate went slightly up again on Cyber Monday, but was still lower than the bounce rate in the lead-up to the holiday shopping weekend.

Despite the good performance of the checkout page, it also incurred some engagement issues. Retailers in the UK saw half the checkout logins during Black Friday, and in the US, the logging in rate was 61% lower.

It could be that Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers are in a rush to complete their purchase, or that they are already logged into their account. 

In any case, optimizing the checkout step with a quick and easy login process (think one-click, social login, etc) will only encourage more sign-ins. Encouraging guest users to create an account after they convert is another long term marketing opportunity.

Adobe Stock, Via AlexanderNovikov

 

The Search Bar & Category Pages: Higher Global Usage, Yet Higher Frustration 

In all the countries we analyzed, search bar usage saw a stark increase on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. US shoppers browsing retail tech sites drove a 31% increase to the click rate on the search bar. 

In the UK, specifically in the retail apparel sector, the search bar garnered a 3.16% click rate increase on Black Friday alone. The click rate rose to 10.01% on Cyber Monday. 

Visitors also browsed fewer category pages in general — 5% fewer in the US and 27% fewer in the UK — confirming the theory that, by the time Black Friday rolls around, shoppers have a good idea of what they’re looking for. 

The kickoff to holiday shopping season isn’t a time for idle window shopping, so brands should put their best offers on display well in advance of the big day.

Despite the seemingly good engagement coming from the click rate of the search bar, it can also be a source of frustration, as it drew in higher click recurrences across the board.

With an average of 2 clicks on the homepage search bar during Black Friday, the US felt the most acute wrath in high click recurrence. The UK followed suit, particularly in the fashion sector, where the search bar sustained a monumental 2,000% rise in click recurrence, from 0.08 to 1.78 clicks.

So while the search bar is a necessary element for possible conversions, it may not be very intuitive. It could be drawing up the wrong results or not pulling in products close to what users are typing in automatically.

Bad UX on the Add to Cart Button Globally

The search bar wasn’t the only element to incur a high click recurrence, as the add to cart button was racked by a similar fate. 

In France, particularly in the apparel sector, the add to cart button suffered a click recurrence increase of 5.85%.

It was slightly bigger in the UK apparel sector, having risen by 8%. Most notably, in the UK tech sector, it shot up by 62%.

The US was dealt the biggest blow on add to cart buttons, as they racked up a heaping 50% in click recurrence increases.

The root of this international UX trouble-maker could be error messages springing up when users clicked on the button, either due to a technical error or issues with inventory. 

The lessons to glean from this is to optimize the add to cart button and make sure you don’t run out of products. Pay special attention to best sellers and other popular items.

An Eclectic Set of Acquisition Sources

Traffic from emails was higher by a hulking 79% during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, compared with the prior period. 

Contrary to the US, UK brands received a higher-than-average visitor flow during this season. On Black Friday, organic traffic, or traffic from SEO, was 33% higher, and direct traffic also increased by 24%.

Cyber Monday did not follow suit in the UK. Instead, brands piqued the interest of incoming visitors through paid sources and CRM. Email-based traffic was 160% higher, while social media garnered a king-size 310% increase in traffic.

Whether your brand uses paid sources or goes the organic route, make sure your copy is compelling. Add your best deals to captivate more interest. 

And when creating SEA or paid social ads, make sure your landing pages are consistent with the messaging and offers mentioned in your ads. 

Capitalizing on Black Friday & Cyber Monday in 2019 & Beyond

As the drivers of major retail events, it is incumbent upon brands to create good experiences — digital and otherwise — to attract customers’ attention and most importantly, retain them. As our data shows, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are key forces for higher revenue streams and fewer bounces. However, there is plenty brands can do to improve the UX, reduce frustration, and engage higher add to carts.

For example, product and CTA findability carries a great deal of weight in user experience. As do elements that appear to be clickable, but turn out not to be. 

Read more about how The North Face leveraged granular customer data to optimize their gift guide

Luckily, you can refer to a slew of hard data, including industry benchmarks and see how to improve your digital experience for this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But it doesn’t end here. 

You’ll need a continuous stream of data to refer to — and we’re not only referencing industry criteria. You’ll need to have a sturdy set of data on your customers’ behavior. That way, you can determine where customers are struggling and where they’re having a good UX. Once you’re equipped with this data, you can proactively make optimizations so that for your customers, Black Friday and the holiday season will truly be times of giving, i.e., buying.

Phygital CX: The Changing Face of Omnichannel Retail

Not to be outdone by the wordsmiths of this world, the retail industry recently came up with its own neologism, coining the term “phygital” to describe a new form of commerce — one that blends the best of offline and online experiences for an elevated customer experience (CX). 

It may be early days in the world of “phygital” CX, but brands are experimenting away, and coming up with innovative solutions to fit the needs of today’s omnichannel customer.

But how do you build links between a digital platform and physical store? What experience transfers are already proving successful in terms of engagement and conversions? And how do you make digital features work in the physical world, and vice versa?

What’s certain is that the line between eCommerce and brick-and-mortar is more blurry than ever. The reality is that digital has transformed everyday life. Many of our daily activities — work, communication and of course, consumption — play out in the digital realm. 

In fact, we have fully become phygital beings, and retailers are racing to adapt the customer experience to reflect our evolving needs and expectations. 

THE CUSTOMER IS KING

Consumers today expect seamless omnichannel journeys. But that’s not all they are looking for — they also want choice, and they want to feel special. And VIPs love nothing more than customized product or services!  

Digital has unlocked new opportunities for retailers, but has also made things slightly more complicated. Consumers are no longer looking for the cheapest product or best customer assistance — they seek excellence throughout the customer experience.

“Today we’re seeing a real convergence between online and offline, with many advantages for consumers,” explains Jérôme Malzac, Innovation Officer at Wide Agency. 

“On the eCommerce front: easy search, time-saving, the ability to order wherever, whenever… When it comes to local shopping, the human and physical dimensions are incredibly important, as well as contact between the retailer and the customer — advice, service, getting more info on a product and how quickly it can be purchased.”

LEVERAGING CUSTOMER INTELLIGENCE FOR A SUPERIOR CX

One of the main challenges for brands today is delivering intelligent customer journeys that are adapted to every customer. Collecting and aggregating customer behavior data can help brands identify pain points along the customer journey (both online and offline). But it doesn’t stop there, as a granular data collection allows brands to effectively personalize the experience and services. 

“Thanks to data, we can follow our customers along their journey both on and offline, and suggest relevant products to them. For example, a woman who has just purchased newborn clothes will get suggestions for baby shoes,” explains Vanessa Guignoux, head of digital and eCommerce at Gémo.

Integrating mobile app localization can also help brands deliver useful information to customers at the right time, and make their store visit more efficient. Brands can optimize a store visit based on a digital shopping list, for example. And understanding app behavior allows teams to maximize the role of smartphones in facilitating a great CX at every touchpoint.

“Digital makes omnichannel possible, and allows access to things that were only possible in the physical world, removing obstacles to purchase, understanding, sharing and knowledge. In the other direction, from digital to physical, we see gains on the human, emotional front,” explains Yann Carré, head of the marketing communication cycle for Decathlon. 

“But you need to maximize this potential. The most important thing is to have a completely responsive website, one that can be browsed and visited from any device, be it desktop, tablet or smartphone. To illustrate this, for over a year now, more people visit the Decathlon site on a smartphone than a desktop. All of our content (image, text, video, comparison tools, 3D) are conceived to be accessible digitally and to complete the offline and in-store experience.”

With consumer needs and expectations evolving fast, agility and continuous monitoring of customer behavior have never been more important. Digital teams need to analyze the way customers interact with their digital properties as part of their daily workflow. And adopting a design thinking approach and test & learn strategy allows teams to react quickly and keep up with customer expectations.

THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

Armed with a better understanding of their customers, digital retailers and brick-and-mortar stores have started to adopt a phygital CX strategy. Drive-throughs, in-store lockers, click & collect and online reservation are just some of the ways brands have integrated offline and online to improve omnichannel CX. 

Brands have also been exploring the benefits of expanding the reliance on digital in-store, removing typical customer frustrations prevalent in physical stores such as: low inventory, or a certain size not being available. Sales assistants now use tablets to help customers complete an in-store purchase online. Some brands even mix in-store help with added online services to offer product personalization, for example.

“Our sales assistants and department managers have access to the same information as our customers via smartphone, tablet or interactive in-store touch-screens. But they’re also able to analyze buyer behavior from a mobile number or email address. By checking their information system, they can view the purchase history and searches, and engage Mr. D with advice, product suggestions, etc,” said Yann Carré. 

“And each department manager also has all the information that will allow them to make pricing, inventory and merchandising decisions. For example, if a competitor is offering a more competitive price on a particular item, they are empowered to change the price of this particular model to match or to offer a more competitive price. They can predict how this will impact sales either positively or negatively. They have all the intelligence they need to make important decisions completely autonomously.” 

Phygital logic also drives a store’s merchandising strategy. For example, if an item gets anything less than a 3 out of 5 customer score, it is removed from both the online and offline store in order to be improved.

There are many other innovations on the horizon. Monoprix, for example, is hoping to speed up in-store checkout with its Monop’Easy solution. It’s simple: customers scan their items via the mobile app, pay, and receive their receipt by email. 

Sephora also offers a mobile app that blends digital and physical realities, allowing users to test out makeup thanks to AR, and delivering info and advice to in-store customers as they are browsing the physical aisles. And beauty brand Passion Beauté has been inviting social media influencers into their stores.

Pure players have also been playing the phygital game, coming up with concept stores that allow them to get closer to their customers. In New York, you can rent pajamas and a book a bed for a 45-minute nap at Casper’s Dreamery. 

Sezane, which started off as a pure player, has opened showrooms it calls “apartments,” where shoppers can browse exclusive designs and new releases in a cozy, trendy setting. 

Brands are constantly coming up with unique ways to explore the transitions between digital and physical, and elevate the click-and-mortar experience. “We want to be (to sports) what Airbnb is to accommodation and travel,” says Yann Carré. “We want to offer more than just the value of the product and create value around sports, too. 

The more people do sports, the more opportunities there will be for us to connect with them, and sometimes, even if not always, that will transform into a purchase.”

 

3 Travel UX Must-Dos for Your Travel Booking Website

Travel UI design can be a hard nut to crack, especially when it comes to conversions. Our recent analysis of 2,100 Million visitor sessions across several verticals found that travel and tourism has one of the lowest mobile conversion rates of all sectors (0.90% average).

Desktop reigns over mobile within this sector on every performance metric, touting higher conversion rates: 2.90% vs 0.90% on mobile, and average cart values $1,860 vs. $1,790 on mobile.

Visitors spend almost double the amount of time on desktop as they do on mobile sites — 6 minutes 4 seconds on average, suggesting a less than optimized experience. The bounce rate appears to confirm this story, with a considerably higher rate of bounces on mobile than on desktop visitors bounce less, bearing a bounce rate of 39.80% (45.70% versus 39.80%). 

It is clear that even in this mobile-first age, booking an international flight or a train ticket on your smartphone phone may still be far from being user-friendly, let alone instinctive. Since travelers are largely defined by their mobility, developing headache-free solutions is paramount. Take advantage of the following tips to optimize your site for mobile users.

Make it Easy to Navigate Your Site

Whether you provide a multitude of transportation options or accommodation around the world, it’s imperative to optimize your website or app for booking on-the-go.

The best way to achieve this end is by ensuring your users can easily find what they are looking for on your site or app. 

That’s where the navigation menu comes in handy. By providing a clear navigation menu, visitors can quickly navigate the myriad of information and deals you have on offer. The more frustrated visitors become trying to navigate your site, the more likely they will bounce or exit without having converted.

Make sure that the most important parent categories are visible upon reaching the site. Avoid using ambiguous wording for navigation links so that hesitation times remain low, especially for featured content, offers, or features. Don’t leave users guessing what kind of content they’ll be directed to before clicking on something.

In addition to a clean navigation, use category or product pushes throughout the site in relevant areas so users don’t always have to rely on the global navigation (especially if it isn’t sticky to the page.) This can help keep your users engaged even after they’ve found what they’ve been looking for.                                          

An example of good travel UI design: On JetBlue’s homepage, the focus is solely on searching for flights, vacations, hotels, or cars. However, upon opening the menu, users are presented with key categories and CTAs dedicated to booking, managing, or exploring travel options. Categories and subcategories are written in large text and use helpful icons. The contrast in the background of the sub-categories makes it easier to read.

Create Seamless Experiences between Mobile, Web and Mobile Apps.

Many travel apps, especially those for booking transportation and accommodation, require specific functions and features that use the native capabilities of mobile phones.

For example, users are able to add their boarding passes, pull up their tickets or even track their baggage through mobile apps. Are travel brands replicating these essential features for their mobile websites? If not, they’re missing out on key mobile UX improvements. That’s because equipping users with access to the same types of features across platforms is key to providing a seamless travel UX. 

Surface Upsells and Cross-Sells When it’s Relevant

Users are easily overwhelmed when presented with too many options to choose from or multiple tasks to complete. Focusing the user on the most important task, such as booking a flight, is much harder when users are bombarded with a variety of extras or promotions they are encouraged to take advantage of. 

You wouldn’t put every checkout step on one page; the booking process should take a similar approach. It should be spread out across several steps to make it more easily digestible. 

The same goes for any upsells or cross-sells. Options should be progressively surfaced during different stages of the journey and in places where they are most relevant. 

When a flight is selected, the users are immediately provided an option to upgrade their seat. It clearly lists the benefits and price to upgrade. Bold colors that pop from the screen are used to indicate these special options.

That Does it for Travel UX 

Overall, your travel website should make any booking or research process as easy as possible. With mobile users increasingly on the move, any process should be made simple and easy to understand. That includes reimagining and optimizing crucial features so they take into account the context and goals of distinct audience segments. Learn what works best by studying your users’ behaviors and putting customer intelligence at the heart of your experience decisions. 

The Digital Happiness Index: Quantifying Your Customer Experience

Although conversions are the desired outcome of a good customer experience, they are not the end-all be-all for brands. A happy customer may make a purchase, but more importantly, a happy customer will return.

But how exactly do you define customer happiness? How do you understand the nuances of customer frustration and pinpoint what exactly fosters engagement? And how do you turn all this intelligence into an effective retention strategy and greater customer lifetime value? 

There are plenty of systems designed to measure user experience; these primarily and, for the most part, deal with the locations users visit on your site, conversions and the oft-cited biggest UX failure: bounces. 

But a basic set of analyses on user experience won’t cut it, and certainly won’t glean any discernment on the nuances of users’ digital happiness. The good news is that, for brands interested in quantifying the user experience as a whole, there’s a metric that does exactly that.

Calculated from several other behavioral metrics and consolidated into one mega metric, the Digital Happiness Index (DHI) is a unique measure of visitor satisfaction, providing an objective view of whether or not your overall experience is hitting the right notes.

 


What Is Digital Happiness And How Can You Achieve It?

Before we delve into the DHI, let’s focus on digital happiness. A rather simple concept, it denotes the convenience, satisfaction and even the pleasure of interacting with a website or online interface such as a search engine results page (SERP). 

As a feeling, it is incidentally difficult to pin down, even in the digital realm. But with the new, futuristic metric that is the DHI, you can determine how happy your site visitors are, based on their experience with your site or app. 

The first of its kind, the DHI combines KPIs from the 5 key strands that contribute to overall customer satisfaction:

Is navigation seamless and friction-free? Is your content proving effective to helping visitors reach their goals? Are visitors coming back to your site? Are they exiting early or completing their journeys? And finally, are they finding what they’re looking for — be that information or products?

By quantifying these various strands of experience, and combining metrics into one score, the DHI provides brands with an objective grasp of whether or not visitors are enjoying a positive experience.

Calculating the DHI: the 5 Dimensions of Digital Experience 

Here is a look at what comprises the Digital Happiness Index and what makes it tick.

Using behavioral data from our tool, the DHI separates the data into 5 dimensions to filter the numbers into intelligible concepts behind visitors’ digital happiness. Our clients get a comparison to industry standards, and every score represents an aggregate of every session on the website.

As we mentioned earlier, the DHI has 5 components, aka the 5 dimensions that make up its final score, a number out of 100, which is the average of the 5 scores of each dimension. To come up with this rating, we consider the following five dimensions:

Each of these 5 individual scores is determined by its own calculations, based on metrics like time spent on site, time spent engaging with pages/elements, bounce rates, and more. 

It also takes into account if users have reached their destinations and the way they’ve done so. It captures whether users ran into UX issues like non-intuitive navigation — clicks on non-clickable content, misleading clicks, et al.

Making Sense of the Digital Happiness Index

Innovations in SaaS and marketing have led to more avant-garde methods of measuring digital customer experience and benchmarking customer satisfaction. 

Although the complex, 5-tier system of our mega metric is supplemental, it is very much in line with our granular approach to behavioral analytics. 

The fact that the 5 dimensions deal with different occurrences in the UX means the DHI is casting as wide a net as possible to capture your customer’s mindset. Based on this score, you can shine light on areas of friction and other obstacles in the customer decision journey

Customers today will not hesitate to review a poor UX or give one star for a session that doesn’t meet their expectations. But they are also giving you continuous feedback on your site or app through their interactions — with every tap, click, scroll or hover, they are voicing their feelings about your CX. 

Here at Contentsquare, we’ve got a horde of people dedicated to helping you hear and understand what your customers feel and want — in fact, we’ve got 170 people in R&D and innovation alone. 

Happiness of any kind is difficult to pin down to a numerical format. With a consolidation of 5 distinct aspects of the UX, you will come as close as possible to determining how digitally happy your visitors are with your content.

 

Boo! 5 Examples of Scary UX to Avoid on Halloween — and Always

Halloween is creeping in on us as the October days tail off. But that doesn’t mean your user experience (UX) should be frightening. While frights are fun for haunted houses and other ghoulish festivities, they shouldn’t trickle into your customer experience. 

Alas, as our clients can attest, bad UX has reared its head like a zombie rearing out of a tomb many a time.

Scary. We know. That’s why we’ve compiled a horrifying list of poor UX design examples and ghastly digital experiences, right before Halloween, so you don’t scare off your potential customers. 

Even your most loyal customers will be put off by a bad digital experience. Sometimes, this bad UX arises out of something seemingly minor — a missing image, unclear text, an element located a little further down the fold… That’s what makes bad design particularly scary, in that what seems trivial and inconsequential gives rise to dire consequences.

But fear not! Our 5 scary examples of poor user experiences include very specific cases of how simple elements can go awry. Let’s see what scariness our clients underwent. (SPOILER ALERT: although these real-life UX horror stories seem grim, they all have a happy, data-driven ending). 

Unclear Filters Dampening Sales 

Clicks are great, right? So naturally, a hearty dosage of clicks should be a good thing, shouldn’t it? At face value, it may seem so, as when a zone or an element on a webpage receives a lot of clicks, it signifies ample interaction.

But as our client learned the hard way, click activity, or the study thereof, is not enough when UX is concerned. Studying clicks is crucial, don’t get us wrong. But it offers only a faint glimpse of the overall portrait of your UX.

Our client, a purveyor of men’s fashions, had recently developed a new mega menu. So when it recorded high click activity on the menu, this appeared to be nothing but positive. But it was bearing something sinister; the client noticed a major discrepancy on their site regarding attitudes towards clicks: when clicks increased, sales slumped. 

How was this possible? A UX analysis of in-page behavior presented some incongruity between the mega menu and search/category filters. While menu interactions were high, filter usage was stagnant. With unused filters, shoppers weren’t seeing all the products relevant to them, so sales took a tumble. It’s the stuff of nightmares.

Frightening Sliders Causing High Homepage Bounce Rate

Every mega menu — filled with panels, categories and text — ought to be complemented by visual elements. It would thereby seem natural to include sliders to accompany a mega menu, especially on the homepage, where such elements typically exist.

In the case of our beauty client, this placement wound up being a design fright, much to the detriment of their customers’ user experience, as the customers bounced.

Featuring a wealth of merchandise pushes, the homepage is the gateway to pique product awareness and interest for our client. But it was beset with high bounce rates. With a seemingly healthy swath of products on the homepage, the client was bewildered by what the UX culprit could be.

When analyzing the homepage, with special attention to the mega menu and sliders, the client found that the sliders were generating little to no engagement. Instead, these sliders overwhelmed the mega menu, leading many to bounce before engaging with either of these elements. Spooky.

Confusing Label on the Store Locator Causing Fewer Web-to-Store Visits

A store locator is a handy UI feature for click-and-mortar brands, especially those seeking to uplift web-to-store visits. After all, netizens won’t visit a physical store if they don’t know where it is. 

Instead of looking to Google, visitors ought to trust your brand enough to know that any useful location info exists on your own website. So when our client, a luxury click-and-mortar brand discovered high exits on their store locator, they were beside themselves.

Through granular analytics, they learned that for many site users, the store locator was the main reason behind their visit. Its button, however, had a ghastly label, one with even ghastlier results. It read “product search,” which befuddled users.

To the client, it appeared to be a nifty feature, an add-on to a traditional locator functionality. But it produced high hovers and low clicks, turning users away from the store locator, and as such, from completing their objective of a store visit. This worsened sales for items only available in-store. Creepers.

Disappearing Checkouts Angering Customers and Reducing Revenue

Conversions. Every brand wants them, but few products or even brands at large can trigger them. As such, users who reach the checkout — the final phase of both the customer journey and the sales funnel — signify a UX victory in itself.

Unfortunately, our retail apparel client was racked by bad UX on this holy grail of pages. Our VoC integration had gotten word of users’ ghostly experience when they reached the client’s checkout page.  In fact, a whopping 1,500 customers were afflicted by the ghostly checkout, leading them to complain via the call center, and as our UX analysis showed, leave the site.

When we say ghostly, we mean it. Session replay caught wind of the sudden onslaught of blank screens when users reached the checkout page. This, in turn, led users on the cusp of converting to abandon the checkout and the site, which reduced revenue for the clients. Yikes!

Simple Missing Image Impairing Conversion Rates

The above examples elucidated how site content led to a bad UX, with scary repercussions ensuing from each such case. But sometimes it’s the missing content that creates scary UX chaos.

In the case of our hospitality client, a missing image made all the difference for the conversion rates on their property pages. 

During a granular UX analysis, the client discovered high click rates on the links to property pages, i.e., pages with hotel offerings. The problem was, despite the clear interest in these hotel pages, users would abandon the site after landing on them.

This caused conversion rates to plummet and an addled brand, as it was unsure of the culprit behind the bad UX, since the images were crystal clear and the deals were showing.

A deeper UX analysis — one on journey analysis, revealed a major gap in the UX of these product pages. Visitors were looking for rooms that included a complimentary breakfast, commonplace in European hospitality, but were struggling to find this information. A simple image notifying free breakfast, even an icon of food would have prevented the loss of this conversion stream. The horror!

UX Analytics: The Bad UX Buster

Any brand can fall prey to scary bad UX. But bad UX need not uphold its reign of terror on your website; there is a solution.

This mighty antidote is granular user experience analytics, the kind of data that can back up the hidden trappings of customer frustration and its digital origins. Whether on its own or paired with VoC, granular data gives you indispensable knowledge on your UX.

The metrics and other capabilities (heatmaps with metric overlays, customer journey analysis) of these analytics do not merely point out the scary monsters causing a bad UX. They also deduce the changes and additions your website needs to rectify the issues caused by the poor UX and improve your sales figures. 

In short, a unique set of UX analytics combat these UX monsters so they can never rear their ugly heads again. Not even on Halloween.

 

How We’re Empowering Brands to Improve Lives Through Digital Experiences

By Lucie Buisson, VP of Product, Contentsquare

At Contentsquare, we envision a world where every digital interaction improves lives. As we spend more and more time online these days, it’s important to us that the experience is meaningful.
But today, the digital world is plagued by poor experiences. Brands have traditionally been unable to deliver the experiences customers want online because they haven’t been able to easily understand what their customers really want. It’s not just about making sure your customers can find the right product pages or the contact us page — it’s much more nuanced than that. Your customer’s changeable mindset and intent can completely change their behavior online, and most brands can’t tailor the experience needed on demand.

But we do believe that brands have the ability to improve people’s lives. Making the time you spend online more meaningful doesn’t have to be impossible — and so our strategy for achieving our vision has always been to empower brands with unique behavioral insights to create better experiences.
To that end, we took the strategic decision to acquire experience analytics company Clicktale in July 2019. While both Contentsquare and Clicktale are rooted in customer behavioral data and insights, Clicktale’s session replay and heatmaps complement Contentsquare’s page zoning and customer journeys capabilities. Today, just 90 days after that acquisition, we are releasing major new capabilities of the Contentsquare platform, which includes innovation driven by the combined R&D and product team of more than 170 innovators strong.

9 trillion reasons to use Contentsquare

Now, we can confidently offer the most complete experience analytics platform on the market. None of our competitors can give you the level of insight into your customer behavior we can thanks in part to the fact that our solution analyses 9 trillion digital interactions every day for each of our customers.
Now, the combined product is the only complete system of insight that offers brands the ability to do all of the following:

No other solution can give you a better level of insight to help you understand and create insight-driven innovation.

Into the future — where our product will sit within the customer touchpoints ecosystem

Improving any kind of digital experience, whether it’s on desktop, mobile or any other channel, starts with collecting the right kind of behavioral data. Customers behave differently depending on the touchpoint you interact with them on, and so it’s important to measure precisely how those customers are using your channels so you can tailor the experience accordingly.

And behaviors won’t necessarily stay the same over time, either, so simply analyzing behavior just once won’t be enough. You need to continuously measure behavior over time so you can tailor your experience to whatever nuanced behavioral changes your customers portray.

But the touchpoints themselves are starting to evolve. In the next three years or so, we’re going to see a shift in the types of interactions between brands and customers. By 2021, experiences will be more conversational, mobile, personalized, social and immersive. All these trends are going to transform the customer touchpoints ecosystem, whether it’s the brand’s own digital channels, physical channels, third-party channels or marketplaces.

If you want to create a great overall experience for your customers, you can’t solely focus on your own digital channels like your desktop and mobile sites. You have to provide a consistent experience across all touchpoints, and do the marketing basics (like providing the right product at the right price) well. That’s why our vision for our product is to help you with a significant proportion of those touchpoints — beyond just digital.

Once you’re measuring all your channels though, the key, of course, is to unify all that data and product intuitive visualizations so even the non-digital business units in your organization can understand it and draw insights from it. Only then can we start to realize a vision where digital interactions improve lives — when the whole organization is on board.

Those organizations that lead on digital experience tend to see benefits of 3–5x on measures such as lead generation, conversion, price premiums and loyalty as a result of offering a great experience across the board. And customers are more likely to pay a premium price when they have a great experience versus a poor one.

At Contentsquare, we can help you to compete with the digital leaders, and help you gain an insight into your customers like never before. Request a demo to find out how.

NEWS: Contentsquare launches most complete experience analytics platform in industry

NEW YORKOct. 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Experience analytics leader Contentsquare today launches a major release of the most complete experience analytics platform on the market, helping brands to innovate based on customer behavior across digital channels.

Contentsquare now gives brands the ability to surface and quantify revenue-generating recommendations for experience improvements using artificial intelligence. Contentsquare customers can use these recommendations to immediately troubleshoot issues or innovate new ways to improve the experience. For example, teams can quickly understand the impact of changes to a web site or mobile app by comparing side-by-side the visitor experience over time or across split test versions.

This update to the platform is the work of a combined team of 170 innovators in R&D and product development who came together through the combination of Contentsquare and Clicktale, which was announced in July 2019. The teams have been working closely with customers to prioritize the use cases that drive the most return and upside for digital leaders across industries such as retail, travel, automotive, financial services and telecommunications.

The benefits to Contentsquare’s customers are huge. Armed with quantified alerts, the tool gives resource-stretched digital teams the ability to discover new growth opportunities to increase revenue, (worth up to nine times the revenue opportunity of fixing bugs). It also aligns the whole business around a single version of the truth with regards to digital customer behavior, with intuitive visualizations of macro behavior, and session replays for seeing behavior at the individual session level. As a result, teams can more quickly and confidently prioritize and execute on the experience changes that will mean the most for their business.

(PRNewsfoto/Contentsquare)

Feliz Papich, director of product management at Crocs, said: “Contentsquare aids our ability to innovate, giving us more room to do insight-driven experimentation with less risk. With the visualizations, we don’t have to make assumptions about the visitor experience, we can make enhancements based on tangible behavior. Contentsquare makes it easier for us to have the hard discussions about what to prioritize and implement to meet our big growth goals.”

Contentsquare’s new platform, available later this quarter, helps brands capitalize on the fact that consumers who receive a better customer experience spend up to 140% more than when they receive a poor experience (Harvard Business Review). It also helps brands operate more like best-in-class digital businesses, which can have 2-3x the lead generation and sales conversions versus the average according to Contentsquare insights.

Jonathan Cherki, founder and CEO, Contentsquare said: “At Contentsquare, we envision a world where every digital interaction is used to create better experiences and improve the quality of people’s lives. Traditionally, the barrier to turning that vision into a reality is that brands have been in the dark when it comes to understanding specifically how to design the experiences their customers will love and want to use again and again.

“With our technology, though, we are empowering brands with unique behavioral insights to create better experiences — and connecting those improvements more directly to the upside they drive for  their business and for their customers.”

Is Disruption Coming To The Auto Sector? We Quizzed Two Experts For Their Viewpoints

The end of dealerships, online vehicle shopping, pure players, smart cars… Has the auto sector been speeding down the digital transformation highway? We quizzed two digital auto experts to find out how disruptive the auto industry is about to get…

Our first interview is with Jérôme Jean, Digital & Regional Marketing Manager of Toyota in France. Interviewed by David Robin, Associate Director of Colombus Consulting, we learned about the automotive landscape in the digital space.

Colombus Consulting: Let’s dive straight in. What does a successful customer experience (CX) in the auto sector look like?

Jérôme Jean: It’s pretty simple: it’s an experience that is completely linear — from the search engine or website all the way to the dealership visit. These last few years, Toyota has focused heavily on digital to improve the customer journey. 

It was crucial for auto manufacturers, whose distribution network has not evolved in 30 years, to become more agile. The aim was to offer a renewed buying experience with a mainly digital pre-sale journey.

We thought about how we positioned our brand and our vehicles at every touchpoint. What experience do we want our customers to have in the dealership? And today we have a new challenge: customers show up very well informed and really challenge our salespeople…

Particularly nowadays, competition is so fierce…

Yes, that’s true of other manufacturers’ eCommerce platforms, but also with pure players who have a radically different approach. There is also one thing no competitor can get around: having actual dealerships so that customers can have a live experience and “feel” the product. 

So does that mean the auto sector is moving from hardware to software..?

Yes, absolutely. First of all because you need to add a digital dimension to the dealership experience, which requires having one single database — in our case, Salesforce.

The software is going to continue to evolve fast with smart cars. Tomorrow, diagnosis, preventive interventions, vehicle upgrades — all of those will happen remotely. The auto sector’s approach to marketing will shift increasingly to mobile. We will be able to offer new apps and services to make our customers’ lives easier. Manufacturers will finally connect with their customers on a daily basis.

“The auto sector’s approach to marketing will shift increasingly to mobile.”


Where are we at with online sales today?

The online retail market is gaining traction. All manufacturers, especially in England and Scandinavia, have been testing online sales of new vehicles. 2020 will be a pivotal year with the emergence of online sales platforms. The real question is: what is being sold? Selling new vehicles is the Holy Grail… except that today, the used vehicle market is much more mature. But will it work? I don’t think that online sales will dominate the market or spell the end of dealerships. In my opinion, digital will be one extra sales channel that will hopefully allow us to market to a younger customer base.

 

Next, our own Geoffrey Vion interviewed Brice Renvoizé, Digital & Experience Manager at SEAT Groupe Volkswagen on marketing, data and CX in the automotive sector.

Contentsquare: How did SEAT restructure to meet the digital challenges of a fast-evolving sector?

Brice Renvoizé: We transformed our digital marketing strategy 2 years ago, with a restructuring of teams based on data and customer experience. Today, our Influence division is responsible for increasing brand awareness and our Digital Customer Experience division is in charge of optimizing the customer journey. The customer journey is changing fast and we’re seeing a decline in dealership visits.

Has this changed your mission at all?

Our objective today is to prove the business value of digital, and to drive more traffic to our dealerships, which is where 100% of our sales still happen. Drive to Store is our main KPI and all our digital innovation takes into account the dealerships as a key part of the buyer journey.

The SEAT ID is an example of how our digital strategy is evolving. This unique client/prospect identifier will remove all barriers between our digital interfaces, dealerships and smart cars. It guarantees a friction-free experience in both the physical and digital world — it’s the ability to keep members in our ecosystem, which includes offering new services.

New services?

Yes, third-party services (music streaming, paying for gas…) are included in a monthly payment thanks to the connectivity revolution in the auto sector. 

On the product side, we’ve already disrupted the status quo by launching a “no strings attached” car. A Netflix-type subscription where you can return/exchange your car and change your mileage — all this in an easy way, with no fees. Every last obstacle in the experience has been removed! With this level of service, we’re answering the needs of the new generation, who is more interested in usage than ownership.

Will people be buying their car online anytime soon?

No, not yet. We all still need contact with a product that remains a unique type of purchase. But digital can simplify the process: online deals with financing offers, estimates for a trade-in…

So it’s not the end of dealerships just yet… But how do they connect to digital?

We can remove the barriers between the two. We measure showroom visits that come from mobile traffic. The information shared during the experience on seat.fr. makes it easier for the vendor to understand the client. 

The experience both online and offline still needs to improve thanks to considerable personalization. The key to personalization will be customer ID and data.  

Can you describe your data strategy?

It helps us save on acquisition and focus instead on conversions. How? By personalizing messages depending on profiles and segments, by way of optimizing touchpoints to increase conversions. Ads we will go even further with the SEAT ID and the smart car. Today, data is used for marketing, tomorrow it will be used for business and service. 

 

Hero image credit: SergeyBitos, Adobe Stock

CX Day 2019: Spreading Digital Happiness In The Age Of Experience

Remember not so long ago, experts predicted that by 2020, customer experience (CX) would become the main differentiator for brands, outweighing both product and price? Well, we’ve arrived. The world has changed. Customers have changed. Has the way you understand and serve those customers really changed? Have you changed the way you work, how you invest, and how you define great experiences? 

According to CapGemini, while three-quarters of businesses today consider themselves to be customer-centric, only 30% of customers agree. So, what gives? 

The long and short of it is that delivering on customer expectations is proving harder than expected for brands. And with plummeting tolerance for a poor CX, and consumers less and less willing to give second chances, getting it wrong is a costly affair. 

And this isn’t a problem that acquisition alone can fix. First off, it’s more costly to attract new customers than to retain them. Second, it’s not a viable business strategy, because all evidence points to the fact that delivering a spot-on CX gives a business at least 3X the conversion rate and revenue growth over its competitors which provides an advantage no short-term spend or price drop can catch.

So how exactly do you go about tackling the growing CX crisis, and shrink the experience gap for a better, healthier digital future?

A Zero Waste Approach To Data

Too much of consumers’ online activity ends up unused — sure, this beauty brand knows it’s your birthday, but do they know how annoying it was to click on that lipstick three times and still not land on the product page? Do they know you want to see how it looks on your face with other makeup? Well, they certainly should.

Brands today have access to the tools they need to make every single second of digital activity (or inactivity) meaningful, and leverage this meaning to improve the experience for customers. Think of digital browsing as an insightful type of Voice of the Customer — every scroll, tap, hover and click tells the story of your customers’ intent and challenges, satisfaction and frustration. 

This ongoing digital feedback is fuel for insights that generate new opportunities, innovation and competitive advantage.

So if digital customer signals are all there for the understanding, why are so many businesses still only scratching the surface of the possibilities of data? And how can you drive maximum impact from customer data?

If you haven’t already, now is the time to adopt a zero-waste approach to data processing: collect only the data you need, analyze that data to extract relevant insights, and make it easy for everyone on the team to act on every piece of customer intelligence. 

Digital leaders who adhere to zero waste push their teams and their vendors to insist on solutions and services that go well beyond the confines of click stream analytics. They ensure transparent data collection and usage practices. They create data-driven cultures and processes, including analytics, as integral parts of business discussions and decisions rather than a separate function. 

At Contentsquare, everything we do starts with the data we collect, with the most comprehensive set of meaningful digital signals available. We take this responsibility seriously. We turn the trillions of behaviors into useful and quantifiable recommendations, making it easy for brands to act on those signals and give customers what they are loudly — even silently — asking for.

Balancing Troubleshooting With Innovation

Digital teams regularly use insights to improve their site and app experience in two ways: to troubleshoot issues (recover from errors fast) and grow through innovation (uncover hidden opportunities). 

Brands are always going to have to do all three, but in order to maintain their competitive advantage, they need to be able to tackle each of these strands as part of one holistic approach to experience-building. They need to quantify the strategic and numeric impact of each potential improvement, and prioritize the investments that will add up to the biggest total impact.

Because a reactive experience strategy won’t keep pace with the fluctuating nature of customer behavior, or the fluid essence of experience design. Just like your GPS is constantly learning from historic locations to predict future trajectories, experience builders should leverage behavioral data to anticipate customer mindsets and preferences.

Insights For All

Probably the biggest inhibitor to innovation and impact right now is the inability of teams to act, or act in time, on insights that matter. A lot of customer analyses happen separate from the experience execution owners. The limited access to analytics tools and the lag time inherent in the cycle of question-answer-follow up, question-answer creates lag time and inhibits customer understanding across teams.  

One thing we know about the outperformers is that they put the data directly into the hands of those tasked with ideating and executing the changes to the CX. Without widespread access to customer intelligence, there is no scalability and ultimately, no digital transformation.  

The ability to understand, and increasingly predict the needs, desires and preferences of digital audiences should belong to everyone who has a stake in CX — from acquisition marketers to content producers to eMerchanders to UX designers to product owners.  

Empowering teams around a common language for customer behavior and enabling them to watch firsthand as it evolves, is the only way to guarantee every one of them will be able to design the best possible experiences for your customers. 

The Experiences We Deserve

There are no best practices when it comes to experience — there is only what is best for your brand and for your customers right now. Because just as there isn’t one sole way of being convenient, there is no single gold standard for digital customer experience. What customers seek from you is different than what they seek from another company. You have a unique brand value to offer and your experience should reflect the specific relationship you want to cultivate with your customers.    

In addition, the perfect customer experience is not a monolithic thing — the perfect experience is the right experience for a given customer at a given time in a given context.  

People deserve experiences that reflect their nuances, that are reliably excellent, and that adapt to their fluid context and needs. They deserve experiences that recognize what they need from your company. If you keep that in mind, your team will be able to design experiences that are innovative rather than copycat and that is how you solve for the customer experience gap.

Turning customer experience into an advantage is now critical for business survival. You can step up and do things differently with the help of teams, partners and technology ready to support you. Together, if we listen to the digital signals our customers are sending and empower everyone to act them, we can close the CX gap, and unleash the potential of experience innovation to set up the digital future we really want. 

Where there’s a will, there’s a way!