Customer loyalty is hard to come by, and it’s even harder to keep. The two things consumers want most—omnichannel consistency and an effortless customer experience—are moving targets. Constant innovation is a brand’s best hope for survival and growth.
This explains the meteoric rise of the mobile app—the newest loyalty- and revenue-driving vehicle that enables shopping, self-service, and easy payment from any location.
- Across the retail industry, mobile app purchases have 40% higher order values, and conversion rates are 3X higher than those of mobile websites.
- For Quick Service Restaurants (QSR), mobile order-ahead will result in $38 billion in sales in 2020 (10.7% of total sales).
- By enabling customers to preorder and prepay by phone, Starbucks has streamlined the in-store experience and seen sales climb year over year. As of Q3 2017, 30% of the company’s transactions involved mobile payments.
Of course, given the high volume of online product searches, ecommerce websites aren’t going away anytime soon. Both established brands and startups continue to invest in making their sites more mobile friendly (layout design, navigation, voice search, etc.) and smoothing the path to purchase.
All of these initiatives can help fortify and grow a brand’s customer base. But if testing isn’t done properly—across all channels and touchpoints—brands could easily miss big problems and forfeit greater returns.
User Experience and Customer Experience: It Pays to Measure Both
Before they roll out new apps and website enhancements, many brands rely on usability testing to gauge ease of use and effectiveness at helping users meet their goals. For example, how easy is it to set up an account? Search for a particular product? Customize an order?
Usability testing plays a crucial role. But even the most extensive usability tests won’t tell you what customers experience in store after placing a mobile order. Nor will they reveal how the mobile or cross-channel buying process stacks up against your competitors’.
These are huge missing pieces.
To fill in the gaps, retailers and QSRs must take testing a step further. Holistic testing that combines digital, in store, and competitive benchmarking bridges the gap between UX and CX. The results
can be used to inform multiple stakeholders across the organization and align your teams—thus ensuring you’re delivering the right experience across all channels.
Become an Omnichannel Leader: 3 Keys to Success
To create a seamless, frictionless, effortless experience for your customers, you need to know how they experience your brand as a whole—and as one among many.
1. Think beyond your brand
Consumers don’t engage with you in a vacuum. They’ll hold you to a certain standard based on past experiences with other brands. Benchmark usability studies can help you understand how your app or website compares on any number of measures, from downloading speeds to ease of completing transactions.
2. Think beyond app/website functionality
Even if your platform is a breeze to use, there may be other (major) sources of friction. Is there conflicting or missing information that could impede sales? Are there gaps and/or redundancies in the buying process? Even the subtlest inconveniences and problems could drive customers away for good.
3. Think through the customer journey
A customer has placed a mobile order or found a certain product on the website. What happens next?
- When mobile order-ahead customers arrive at the restaurant, is it clear where orders can be picked up? How long is the wait? Is the order ready? Is it correct?
- Once it appears in search results, is the desired product in stock and competitively priced? Do customers have everything they need to make informed buying decisions? How quickly and how well are customer service agents responding?
From digital platform design, employee training, and store layout to policies and procedures, inventory, and order fulfillment, every facet of the customer journey requires careful consideration and regular testing.
How to Get the Answers You Need
To get a clear, holistic view of the omnichannel customer journey, you’ll need three things: 1) usability testing for apps and ecommerce; 2) a network of experienced, well-vetted mystery shoppers completing transactions; and 3) an experienced provider that can make sense of the results.
With the proper insights, you’ll know where critical improvements are needed today—and where the biggest opportunities for innovation lie ahead.
We’ve partnered with many companies to measure the UX/CX and help take their brands to the next level. Click here to learn more about how the process works.