By focusing on customer experience through the entire web shopping process retailers can increase the level of customer confidence. Some examples of this are:
- Using good quality product photos and photos from multiple angles
- Including product videos to make the website feel more interactive
- Customer product reviews and ratings - this social currency will help enforce the quality of your brand and products
- Using personalisation technology to cross sell and upsell relevant products
- Properly secure your customer data and show third party certifications to educate your customers
- Utilise Responsive Web Design to provide the best user experience across multiple devices
When you provide this rich customer experience to the user, it is important to remember that part of that experience is speed. 52 percent of smartphone and 47 percent of desktop users expect a page to load in two seconds or less. Long page load times will cause your site to have a high bounce rates as users lose patience and leave.
This is where Akamai works closely with retailers to help optimise their online presence. For example, by utilising dynamic image compression which involves resizing images based on the target device and the network connectivity, image size can be decreased by 60-80 percent a huge performance boost. When you add in other features like dynamic page caching and front end optimization, retailers are able to offer a very rich customer experience without sacrificing performance.
Once you have gained a loyal customer it's imperative that you safeguard their personal information. This requires that you follow Payment Card Industry (PCI) guidelines and protect your IT infrastructure. There are both internal security controls and external that need to be applied to keep your customers trust.
Following PCI guidelines in the handling of card data and ideally completely tokenising this data will help protect you from losing any of this valuable customer data. Customer trust is also shaken if your site is unavailable, as we have seen with the rise of DDoS attacks. Many customers can't distinguish the difference from your internal systems being compromised by an actual hacking event or your site being defaced or knocked offline via DNS or DDoS attacks. That is why it's necessary to incorporate a layered security approach to mitigate this attack traffic at a cloud level and allow your loyal customers to continue to shop uninterrupted.
Omnichannel seems to be the buzzword in the retail space lately. Can you tell me more about it?
Retailers are responding to changes in consumer behavior by expanding their reach through launching interactive online sites and mobile apps on top of redefining their in-store experience to ensure a seamless, consistent experience, better known as omnichannel retailing.
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