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Kitty Talks: Delivering Frictionless Ecommerce

Authored by Christina Daskajiannis
by Christina Daskajiannis

What brands can do to Delight Users and Combat Amazon.

On Wednesday 21st of July, Kitty Talks kicked off to tackle the conversation around creating a frictionless Ecommerce experience to combat Amazon. Panel compère Gareth Owen, Managing Director at TIPi Group, was joined by Ruby Mellor, CX Director at TIPi Group and Ian Scarr, Head of Sales, UK at Klevu. The trio discussed the pitfalls of trying to ‘beat’ Amazon, the importance of building your brand, and the pertinence of creating a frictionless Ecommerce experience that will delight users and have them abandoning Amazon for a rich and smooth user experience elsewhere.

A video of the session is available to watch here, and the key points are summarised below:

Gareth Owen: What does frictionless Ecommerce mean? Can you beat Amazon at it? And if you can, tell me how?

Ruby Mellor: Frictionless Ecommerce is all about using data and insight on customer behaviour and preferences to design simple and seamless buying experiences. The ultimate end goal is to allow users to buy your product or service with as few clicks as possible.

With the dominance of Amazon across the pandemic period, consumers have become accustomed to one-click, same-day delivery purchases. While Amazon has become the Ecommerce benchmark, brands such as BigCommerce and Shopify have boomed as they were able to provide the Ecommerce functionality out of the box that most consumers expect.

Importantly, non-Amazon brands are managing to compete and win in this space due to their own optimised user journeys and their capacity to innovate to create memorable experiences that act as a point of differentiation vis-a-vis their competitors.

Brands looking to tackle frictionless Ecommerce must understand where points of friction exist within their customer journeys, and further, look to new technologies and experience design to improve those journeys.

Emerging from the global pandemic, consumer behaviour and preferences will change, it’s an optimal time to pause, reflect and grasp where the opportunities may lie.

Ian Scarr: Klevu is a search discovery suite that enables brands to understand how their consumers are behaving and provide personalised, rich and engaging user experiences.

Having relevant products, and a rich personalised experience means that shoppers are 3 to 5 times more likely to purchase something that’s relevant. Amazon has given accessibility to many products and provides a reasonable user experience, but technology is enabling others to beat that.

Customers enjoy the breadth of products that Amazon provides, but are starting to go for brands that can provide a personal and rich user experience.

Ultimately, you’ll never be able to take Amazon on toe-to-toe because of the breadth of their offering, but you can emulate and beat them from an experience perspective.

Give your customers a really good and frictionless path to purchase, and take advantage of personalisation technologies that Klevu and others provide, and you’ll delight customers and have them returning.

A recent product discovery test we conducted as part of Klevu’s eCommerce Discovery Report demonstrated that 56% of all websites failed the product discovery test, representing lost opportunities for conversion.

GO: Looking at it from a brand’s perspective, you have to be a brand that consumers want to come to, that’s how you combat amazon. Combine this with a frictionless experience and you will also ensure consumers come back to you.

GO: Ian, looking at the cases of anti-trust in the landscape, when does personalisation work, and when doesn’t it work so well?

IS: At Klevu, we’ve found that personalisation does work. Our data demonstrates that when the personalisation engine is switched on, it tends to increase average order value by 50% and drives around 40% more revenue from each shopper session.

However, you can’t always trust the AI, it doesn’t always work. The optimal solution is to work in conjunction with it and the best solutions will always give you the ability to merchandise yourself. You understand your brand, what your customers are buying and therefore your input is important.

It’s all about getting that blend right, by allowing the technology to do 80% of the work, and your own merchandisers to do 20%.

RM: Consumer behaviour has changed a lot in the last year; consumers have who may have been slower to adopt new technology have grown more accustomed to shopping online. Meanwhile, privacy fears that were prevalent pre-pandemic have decreased, and consumers appear to be more comfortable with the data-value exchange. Ultimately, AI can work better when you’re collecting more data.

In terms of solutions and available options, we would always suggest that you start at the end and work backwards. Think about your experience design and review the available technology and the data you need to underpin this.

There are many solutions on the market that can help you tailor and personalise user experience; Search and product personalisation (Klevu), AI and CRM (Salesforce), attribution modelling (ROAST) are some examples.

The key takeaway for deploying AI is that you need to test, learn and optimise.

The better you can plan out the testing, the better your results will be. Allow the AI to prove or disprove your theories, and start with a proof of concept if it’s easier to win hearts and minds and continually measure the incremental impact of everything so you can tie it back to results down the line.

GO: Consumer behaviours have changed across the past year, and we can attribute this to both the pandemic and the acceleration of changes. A key issue moving forward will be cross-device UX. As consumers look to have the same experience on their mobile, in-store and at home, how can brands maintain a user journey that is smooth and accurate?

RM: At the start of the pandemic, a lot of brands had to pivot and adapt to new consumer behaviours, leaving little time to think about experience design.

Simultaneously, device usage shifted, with the advent of working from home, journeys have become increasingly dynamic; starting at the tablet, possibly moving through a smart TV or voice assistant and then onto desktop.

For brands looking forward from a journey optimisation perspective, one of the most important tactics they should employ is to review and refresh their cross-device journeys and work to really understand any points of friction within them.

Then you’ll want to start testing and measuring against the basic principles of UX. We always suggest taking an ‘always on’ approach to A/B testing, through CRO to test small incremental changes or standalone UX/UI design sprints for example.

It’s critical to measure, assess, understand and plan ahead before jumping into re-designing your Ecommerce experience. This will ensure you take away the guesswork from the process and the results will be more impactful.

IS: Leaning on a more recent example, Klevu worked with the luxury brand Toteme who wanted to retain the look and feel of their luxury experience. We were able to create a headless approach for the brand, working flexibly with them to ensure they maintained control of their user experience.

This allowed them to maintain ownership of the brand, and to ensure the brand experience was consistent across all devices and channels. Ultimately, brand consistency and the return of relevant results is imperative.

GO: Turning to future-gazing, how can we understand what channels people are using and leverage these to capture hearts and minds?

Brands such as Heal’s, a premium luxury provider, speak not only of Brand but of quality of Product.

From Augmented Reality (AR) to Virtual Reality (VR), brands are starting to lean into the virtual space to demonstrate their products and provide a higher level of customer service.

GO: With VR comes endless products and possibilities for personalisation, Ian, what elements does search have to navigate this?

IS: The growing popularity of voice and image search signal the increase in interest in a virtual experience such as creating a virtual showroom. But how do you get that product there in the first place? It comes back to product discovery and search, can you find the product you want within with a few clicks or words? Search will remain the first touchpoint, especially for users with any level of intent, who want to find exactly what they are looking for.

You need to have good CX and great immersive and beautiful designs that give consumers the ability to visualise the product in the environment they are buying for. Consumers want relevancy, efficient product discovery and a rich brand experience otherwise they will be looking to a competitor.

GO: Ruby, what does it mean for brands who don’t want to overwhelm consumers with AI and personalisation?

RM: We will see a more human element to digital CX. The luxury sector has forged ahead in this respect, where they’ve brought the physical world to the digital world, creating rich experiences where you can browse in-store from the comfort of your own home.

Customers will want to interact more with brands over time, expecting even more convenience, ease and speed with a human touch still integral. I think we’ll start to see the ability to browse and interact with brands through voice a lot more, as well as the trend of conversational commerce coming to a head.

Ultimately, technology will lead to support these hybrid online-offline shopping experiences.

RM: Gareth do you have any closing thoughts?

GO: Of course: build your own brand, be inspired by Amazon rather than compete with them and critically, create frictionless journeys that ensure users can have a smooth experience on your website.

Thanks for reading the Kitty Talks round up! Head to Klevu to discover more information on personalization and grab a free audit, and head over to ROAST to find out more about CX. If you’re interested in chatting to Kitty about how we can help you improve your digital experience, get in touch now.

Authored by Christina Daskajiannis

Christina Daskajiannis