How are online brands planning to drive sales in 2013? According to an Econsultancy report released on March 13, the majority of digital and e-commerce professionals agree that customer experience is the focus of sales strategies.
The User Experience Survey Report is based on a survey of more than 1,400 professionals in the digital world, 74 percent of whom agreed that a better customer experience was the key to conversion. The vast majority believed that user experience was key to increasing sales and motivating customers. A similar number — 72 percent — believed that a strong experience would also increase customer satisfaction. Many also said that long-term customer loyalty would get a boost.
The professionals appeared to believe that building a positive online experience takes a lot of time and money — “reducing costs” showed the least connection with a strong user experience. While the survey covered all kinds of online businesses, this admission has particular importance for mobile businesses and companies working on their mobile strategies. Creating a unique user experience takes significant investment but does little to lower long-term costs, which could be a reason many firms balk at implementing separate strategies for mobile experiences and instead port general websites.
Customers, however, respond much more strongly when the mobile experience has been built from the ground up. This typically shows in navigability, with simplified interfaces based on intuitive searches and fewer, more streamlined pages. It can also show up in how information is delivered to users. The strongest mobile experiences tend to deliver data in small, readily assimilated packages instead of blocks of text or small images that users must enlarge and readjust to use.
Fortunately, the Econsultancy survey showed that online businesses are also willing to take a customer’s word about these things. According to the report, user testing was typically linked with improved decision making and a far more accurate website design process.
Around 42 percent of the agency respondents said that they tested their smartphone-optimized sites with users, while only 28 percent of “client-side” respondents (the brands themselves, as opposed to consultants and agencies) conducted such testing. The numbers were similar for tablet-optimized sites, showing that today’s marketing agencies and designers are especially well-versed in reaching out to users and testing for the best experience.
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