Growth despite deficits in customer experience – eCommerce magazine

  • A new study by Bloomreach and Forrester examined what was important to decision-makers and consumers before the pandemic and what is important to them now.
  • 50 percent of customers suffered during the Covid 19 pandemic have for the first time ordered products on the Internet that they had never bought online before, such as groceries or household goods.
  • 38 percent of the e-commerce decision-makers surveyed register an increased search volume on their online channels and 34 percent an increased online order volume.

For the study commissioned by Bloomreach The State of Commerce Experience Forrester Consulting worldwide asked decision-makers from B2C and B2B companies as well as consumers about what was important to them before the pandemic in online trading and what has become important to them now. The study results show that the restrictions during the corona pandemic have changed buying behavior significantly:

  • 50 percent of customers ordered products onlinethat they had never bought online before. This affects food, household goods and toys most often.
  • 70 percent have more overall bought as usual.
  • More than 90 percent said they avoided stationary shopsto postpone unnecessary purchases and to buy as much – or even exclusively – online as possible.

Changing conditions in online trading

These observations are reflected on the part of the companies that had to react quickly to the changed conditions in online trading:

  • At 46 percent of brands the digital business has grown.
  • 38 percent of the e-commerce decision-makers surveyed have an increased search volume on their online channels, 36 percent more online traffic and 34 percent see more online orders.
  • 32 percent increasingly rely on marketplaces like Amazonto quickly increase their online sales.
  • 32 percent also watch the digital channels as critical to the survival of your business.
Online trade
Question: Which of these skills are part of your e-commerce strategy? (Graphic: Forrester Consulting)

Deficits in customer experience in Germany

The assessments of German B2C and B2B customers as part of the survey also show that the digital shopping experience often leaves something to be desired:

  • 72 percent of German customers had difficultieswhen they wanted to research and order goods online: from unsatisfactory search results to missing information – such as product images, product data, ratings or delivery details – to goods that were not in stock.
  • The last online experience was less than 20 percent fully personalized.
  • While 47 percent of all customers purchase satisfied in an online marketplace, this only applies to 30 percent of customers for branded websites and only 24 percent for branded mobile apps.

The inadequate customer experience results, among other things, from the fact that companies value other aspects of online trading than their customers:

  • 82 percent of B2C consumers want search results that show them the right products. But only 45 percent of companies offer the option of filtering the search results by categories such as price, brand, style, etc.
  • 80 percent of customers expect detailed product information, but only 24 percent of retailers have this item on their agenda.
  • A simple navigation in the web shop is for 76 percent of customers is an important criterion, while only 46 percent of retailers strive to do so.

Online trading: companies adapt digital strategy

The study shows that within a few months, Covid-19 has profoundly changed stationary and digital retailing and accelerated developments. Large brands and manufacturers from B2B and B2C had to adapt their digital strategy quickly due to closed shops and overloaded supply chains. Many small retailers have sold their goods for the first time via digital channels.

German companies plan to increase investments in the following areas in the next twelve months:

  • Commerce technology and tools (68 percent)
  • Services from service providers to use commerce technology (64 percent)
  • Market research / data services (52 percent)
  • Fulfillment (50 percent)
  • Content (49 percent)

Before the pandemic, almost half of the world’s companies planned to invest more in their brick-and-mortar businesses. This proportion has now halved. Instead, companies now want to increase investments in online channels such as their own website (64 percent), their own mobile app (58 percent), social media (52 percent) and online marketplaces (46 percent).

Online trade
Question: What impact does Covid-19 have on your investments in technology and operations? (Graphic: Forrester Consulting)

Improve customer experience measures

The shift from offline to online trading should give companies an opportunity to rethink their customer experience measures. The study makes it clear that the most important thing for customers is that the basics of the digital shopping experience are right. You want to find your way around intuitively on the website or in the app and quickly find the right product.

In addition, all relevant information about the article as well as payment and delivery should be visible at a glance. New technologies such as AI or virtual reality are also relevant, but not a must from the customer’s perspective. Before companies deal with this, they should identify and remedy existing deficits. It is important to offer all customers a smooth, personalized and inspiring shopping experience – for this, brands and retailers have to think of their commerce strategy consistently from the customer, instead of simply accepting orders.

Bloomreach Walker
Brian Walker is Chief Strategy Officer at Bloomreach.

“The study is a must-read for any company that wants to find its way under the current market conditions and wants to define medium to long-term strategies in a dynamic economic environment,” said Brian Walker, Chief Strategy Officer at Bloomreach, convinced. “Together with Forrester, we wanted to get a comprehensive overview of digital trade between consumers, B2B buyers and companies. With the present study, this was more than successful. We look forward to sharing the results with anyone who wants to better understand the impact of changing customer behavior. ”

The methodology of the study: A total of 640 consumers and B2B customers, as well as 320 marketing and e-commerce decision-makers from B2C and B2B companies that sell in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany through their own online channels, participated in the study. Forrester collected the data in March 2020. In April, when the Covid-19 pandemic became an acute problem, Forrester contacted 315 consumers and B2B customers, as well as 50 companies that sold products online and participated in the first survey. She asked Forrester about changes in her behavior and priorities. Sponsors of the study “The State of Commerce Experience“Include Accenture Interactive, the Gorilla Group – a company of Wunderman Thompson, Diva-e and Mindcurv.

Also read: Digital Experience: Why customer relationships are burdened by the Corona crisis