Perfecting the Customer Journey During Peak Traffic

high trafficBy Camilla Ley Valentin

Successful online retailers are looking after their customers’ experience on a regular basis. Being prepared and planning ahead for optimizing their shopper’s journey can make life so much easier. Most companies are reasonably good at gathering data on their customers, but data often fails to communicate the elations and frustrations of customers during their shopping experience.

A first step to figuring out what you’re missing is to take a walk in your customer’s shoes to understand what the experience really is on a day when a popular online sale happens. During busy campaign days, there are basic expectations, not necessarily related to your product or service that need to be met. Even in this age of high-speed technology, there are times when things can go wrong, but you can takes steps to minimize any problems that may occur. The key is prevention and communication.

Getting beyond the hype:  Create engagement, maintain interest and build trust

For competitive retailers, it is paramount to provide customers with an engaging journey across multiple devices during top sales events of the year. During high-traffic events, many online retailers handle overflow web traffic by placing customers in a virtual waiting room. In this type of environment, customers wait to make their purchase among other interested customers. The hype that is created during these events brings along interest and engagement in the short term, which in the long term develops into trust. While customers are waiting to make their purchase, retailers can smooth the situation by providing as much information as possible, such as how long they have to wait and how many products are left in stock.

While customers are waiting, online retailers should also have a social integration system in place so shoppers can see others interacting with your brand. This social proof brings legitimacy and excitement to the interaction. By adopting this strategy, retailers establish trust through creating engagement and maintaining interest throughout their customer’s journey, while making shopping easy and providing the right information along the way.

Though the purpose of sales and email campaigns is to crush sales goals, prioritizing the customer journey will help earn repeat customers. The sales performance of your individual campaign is important, but executing a seamless customer journey will build trust that will carry sales throughout the year. 

The destination can be as important as the journey

When the customer finally decides to make her purchase online, getting her across the finish line is a crucial part of the journey, and is a major indicator of whether she will return to your site. Imagine this scenario: a shopper accesses an online store and spends half an hour browsing the site only to have the website go down at checkout, thanks to an ancient payment gateway.

In this situation, even if the customer ends up purchasing their desired item, they will think twice before returning to this online store — especially when there are other online retailers who offer smoother checkout experiences.

Leading retailers use a variety of technologies to avoid a poor checkout experience. Systems like virtual waiting rooms help ensure customers are kept informed, that they end their journey on a positive note and that customers can expect a seamlessly smooth experience when they shop your online store.

Investing time into understanding the customer journey and going through the process of mapping customer interactions when they purchase online will help you see where you can make improvements and create a positive customer experience for each individual. Taking the time to evaluate your customer journey and implement systems to prevent site crashes and keep shoppers informed and engaged will benefit you on peak sale days and beyond, and will help to foster customer loyalty.