In 2022, customer experience and customer journey strategies became paramount for ecommerce brands. With customer retention becoming a major focus of businesses and new privacy regulations being introduced, understanding customer behavior became even more important.
Competition in the ecommerce industry has never been so fierce. Not only do customers have an overwhelming number of choices available, but they also expect fast delivery, competitive pricing, personalized recommendations, fast customer service response times, and more. For most ecommerce businesses, it’s hard to keep up with customers’ demands.
But all is not lost, and brands should continue to focus on improving the customer journey in 2023 if they want to reap the rewards. In this post, we’ll cover what brands can do to prepare for how the customer journey is going to be next year.
What changed for the ecommerce customer journey in 2022?
Customer retention was the big focus for brands
In 2022, customer retention became a major focus of ecommerce businesses. Companies developed customer loyalty programs that encouraged customers to come back and shop again. They also implemented AI-based personalization tools that offered customers tailored offers and rewards based on past purchases. These customer retention strategies proved successful and increased customer loyalty in 2022.
More privacy restrictions meant customer data had to be handled differently
Regulations like the European Union’s GDPR, California’s COPPA, and the iOS privacy update made customer data even more valuable and higher up on brands’ priorities list. Companies had to be more transparent about how customer data was collected, used, and stored. It also meant that customer consent had to be obtained before collecting customer data.
Retail made a strong comeback
While ecommerce experiences have become the norm for most customers in 2022, retail stores also made a strong comeback due to easing COVID restrictions. Brick-and-mortar stores had to offer unique customer experiences to compete with ecommerce shopping, and omnichannel customer journey strategies were developed to ensure that customers were getting the most out of their retail experience.
Facebook and Instagram took big advertising hits
Facebook and Instagram took big advertising hits in 2022. This was largely due to the privacy regulations put in place, as well as customer trust becoming a major factor in customer journey strategies. Companies had to be more creative regarding digital marketing and advertising, finding new ways to engage with customers without relying on large social media platforms.
Overnight and one-day delivery became much more common
Overnight and one-day delivery became much more common in 2022 as customers expected faster shipping times. Companies had to develop customer-centric strategies that focused on customer convenience and satisfaction. Delivery services like same-day delivery were also developed, allowing customers to get their orders within hours of ordering them.
Recession fears have started
Recession fears emerged in 2022, and companies had to focus on customer retention strategies and customer journey tactics to weather the economic storm. They also had to find ways to cut costs while still offering customers a comprehensive shopping experience.
TikTok solidified itself as an ecommerce juggernaut
TikTok solidified itself as an ecommerce juggernaut in 2022 as companies began to take advantage of the platform’s engagement capabilities. Brands developed customer journey strategies that focused on customer outreach and customer education through videos, stories and other forms of content. TikTok became a major influencer marketing platform, allowing companies to engage with customers through influencers and ambassadors.
More D2C brands switching to omnichannel
More direct-to-consumer brands in 2022 switched to an omnichannel customer journey approach as they realized the importance of customer experience. Brands developed customer journeys that put customer needs first, allowing them to provide a seamless shopping experience across all channels. They also focused on customer loyalty and retention by offering rewards and promotions for customers who shopped regularly – both in-store and online.
Customers increasingly expect an integrated shopping experience, where purchases can be made online or in-store and picked up. This is especially true for those who want to return items they have purchased online without paying for returns!
More brands are using mobile apps
More brands in 2022 began to use mobile apps as customer journey strategies developed. Mobile apps allowed customers to access their favorite brands with ease and convenience while also providing them with a personalized shopping experience. Companies used customer data collected through the app to develop customer segments, personalize product recommendations, and offer loyalty rewards.
How to adapt to the customer journey in 2023
As customer behavior and expectations evolve, so must the customer journey. In order to remain competitive in 2023 and beyond, businesses will need to adapt their customer journey to meet the changing needs of their customer base.
One of the biggest changes we anticipate is an increase in customer empowerment. Thanks to technological advances, customers have more information at their fingertips than ever before. They will be able to comparison shop in real-time, and they will expect businesses to provide a personalized experience that takes into account their specific needs and preferences.
To meet these challenges, businesses will need to focus on creating a customer journey that is customer-centric and data-driven. They will need to use customer data to create personalized experiences that meet customers where they are in their journey. Additionally, they will need to adopt new technologies like AI and chatbots to provide 24/7 assistance and support. By making these changes, businesses can ensure that they are providing the best possible customer experience in 2023 and beyond.
Be as consumer-friendly as possible
It was clear in 2022 that the customer journey had to be as consumer-friendly as possible, and this will continue well into 2023. Companies need to focus on customer engagement, customer loyalty, and customer convenience to ensure customer satisfaction and customer retention. Customers expect a personalized shopping experience, which companies should aim to provide through mobile apps, social media platforms, and other customer-facing channels.
When customers need help, the expectation is that they’ll get quick and friendly service. Most retailers now provide multiple ways for people to contact them, including phone support, social media, or on-site chat widgets. But despite best efforts, things can still go wrong sometimes – especially during hectic times such as the Christmas season – so brands should plan to ensure all bases are covered during the busiest periods.
Fast delivery options are a must – or offer premium delivery services as a perk for your most loyal customers
Fast delivery options were a must for customers in 2022. Customers wanted their orders as soon as possible, and companies responded by offering fast delivery or premium delivery services for their most loyal customers. This way, companies could reward customer loyalty while also providing customers with the convenience they desire.
To stay competitive in an ever-changing market, many online retailers have started offering same-day or next-day shipping. This is especially important for ecommerce sites that rely on customer satisfaction and loyalty to maintain their business model and should be carefully considered in the lead-up to busy periods like the holiday season when people are shopping more than usual!
If you want to offer fast delivery options in 2023, some strategies for improving shipping options include:
- Automating your fulfillment process
- Outsourcing fulfillment to an ecommerce-focused 3PL
- Grouping shipments together
- Setting up distributed warehouses worldwide
- Only offer fast delivery to your best customers
Create an optimized loyalty program
In 2023, ecommerce companies need to create optimized loyalty programs that reward customer loyalty while also providing customers with enticing incentives.
Loyal customers are the backbone of your company. They make up 20% of your customer base but drive 80% of your revenue, so it’s important to focus on building relationships with them and giving back in ways that inspire loyalty. Loyalty program members also have up to a 40% higher average annual spend than non-loyalty program members, so it’s really worth thinking about how you should be rewarding this customer segment in 2023.
This can include rewards such as discounts, free shipping, exclusive access to products and services, and more. By creating a customer-centric strategy with an optimized loyalty program, companies can increase customer satisfaction and customer retention in 2023.
While we’re biased toward the importance of loyalty programs, we can’t stress enough how much money your brand is leaving on the table by not having an optimized loyalty program.
Leverage customer data to level-up personalization
Companies are going to need to heavily leverage customer data to improve personalization capabilities in 2023. By collecting customer data, companies can segment and target customers based on their preferences and behaviors. Due to the abundance of business intelligence tools and their automation features, ecommerce merchants can now leverage data to keep up with enterprise giants like Amazon, Nike, Adidas, and others.
How customer data and loyalty work together
Brands shouldn’t be deterred by the limiting privacy updates we mentioned earlier, but instead should think about how they can acquire customer data while simultaneously building on the customer relationship. For example, offering customers loyalty points and a birthday gift in exchange for their birthday details.
Ecommerce companies should use the customer data they have to develop customer journey strategies that provide personalized product recommendations and targeted discounts and offers. One example is sending loyalty program members ‘points balance’ reminder emails along with suggested products (based on previous purchases or website behavior) that they could spend their points on.
By providing customers with incentives such as birthday gifts, discounts, and exclusive access to products and services, companies can reward customer loyalty while also collecting customer data. This customer data could then be used to create customer-centric customer journeys, resulting in increased customer satisfaction and customer retention.
Engage with your community
In 2023, customer engagement should be a major focus of the customer journey. Companies have to engage with their customer community to increase loyalty, and this can be done through customer surveys, customer service initiatives, and social media campaigns.
For example, TikTok has become a valuable channel for ecommerce brands to connect with customers like never before. By responding to customers directly on TikTok, brands can build a community where customers are more likely to view the brand as a “friend.” Commenting on posts, creating videos in response to specific comments, and creating engaging content are a great way to build on customer relationships.
One engagement tactic we expect to gain traction in 2023 is offering loyalty points for user-generated content (UGC) from your customers. By having customers provide reviews, pictures, videos, and more, brands can reward customers with loyalty points to encourage engagement and build a stronger community.
Optimize your website for mobile (and make sure it’s fast)
In 2023, optimizing websites for mobile is vital. Companies need to ensure their websites are fast and user-friendly, in order to provide customers with a seamless customer experience on all devices.
Make the checkout process as easy as possible
In 2023, ecommerce companies should aim to make the checkout process as easy and efficient as possible. This includes implementing features such as one-click purchasing, saved customer information, and secure payment options. By making the checkout process streamlined and stress-free, companies can increase customer satisfaction and retention.
For brands that sell in-store and online, it’s doubly important to get the checkout process right as it ties into your loyalty program. This means your loyalty program has to work both online and in-store, allowing customers to enjoy the same benefits regardless of where they shop. By offering a seamless customer experience across all channels, companies can increase customer satisfaction and customer retention.
What’s next for the ecommerce customer journey?
The customer journey for ecommerce customers has never been more vital going into 2023. Brands should start preparing now to improve the customer experience so that customers are more loyal and less likely to jump ship to a competitor.
To learn more about how LoyaltyLion improves the customer journey, schedule a demo with our team.