20 Years Of E-Commerce, Yet We’re Still Stuck In The Past

The main predictor of whether visitors will return to our website and become long-term customers is not conversion but experience—in other words, how it makes them feel about our brand.

20 Years Of E-Commerce, Yet We’re Still Stuck In The Past

by Geoff Galat

Posted on 10-21-2017

E-commerce has reached a turning point. Whether we’re looking at groceries, insurance, or holidays, our customers are coming to us through digital means. Despite the progress the digital industry has made in the past two decades—from paid search to affiliate marketing, and more recently the demand for multichannel and the growing sophistication of marketing technology—performance metrics have remained largely unchanged, with online retailers still fixated on conversion.

But shouldn’t KPIs have evolved in the same way that digital channels, customer behavior, shopping trends, and habits did?

The fact that conversion rates have remained static at 3% for 20 years should be enough of an indicator that the focus for metrics is on the wrong thing. The truth is conversion itself doesn’t help us understand whether our customers have had a positive or negative experience while interacting with our brand. This is why we need to start thinking about conversion differently. The main predictor of whether visitors will return to our website and become long-term customers is not conversion but experience—in other words, how it makes them feel about our brand.

The industry has long been trying to understand customer experience through past behaviors or purchases. Most of the time, these assumptions lack context. Just because the user bought a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates on their last visit doesn’t mean they’ll do the same this time. Instead of making assumptions based on past behaviors, we need to remember that there’s already a comprehensive and rich data set detailing what our customers are doing on our website just waiting to be discovered and acted on.

What Is Digital Body Language?

Studies show that at least 70% of what is really being communicated between people is done nonverbally. When interacting with other people, we receive and analyze a huge amount of information by observing their body language and non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions, gestures, tone of voice, stance, and eye contact.

In a physical store, customer behavior is easy to see and interpret. A customer might be wandering aimlessly, staring in confusion or walking determinedly to a specific part of the store. A good salesperson can readily work out what to offer or suggest to a customer based on his or her body language.

The same level of interaction and interpretation is achievable in the digital world. Digital body language is your subconscious online behavior. Every mouse move, hover, scroll, tap, and pinch can be interpreted to determine customers’ digital body language and mindset and is a must-have standard for the next wave of digital commerce.

By using experience analytics that combines data and cognitive intelligence, we can gather rich insight into customers’ digital body language and behavior, and by measuring and evaluating this behavior, we can determine their mindset.

The 5 Mindsets Of Visitor Behavioral Patterns

A visitor’s interaction with a website is a dynamic process, and a customer’s mindset can be influenced by different touch points along the journey. Clicktale has identified five mindsets:

1. Disoriented: These visitors are confused and have lost their sense of direction on the page.

2. Lack of interest: These visitors have a lack of motivation to keep exploring the page or content.

3. Exploring: These visitors zero in-and narrow down their options by investigating the different choices the page has to offer.

4. Mindful: These visitors take time to make decisions, invest cognitive resources, pay attention to details, and are deeply engaged.

5. Focused: These are mature visitors who have been to the website before and have pre-filled form details. They’re ready to buy.

It’s important to remember that some mindsets will be purchase ready and result in an immediate conversion, but many won’t. When a visitor’s dominant mindset is disoriented, conversion rates are 40% lower than average (similarly for visitors with lack of interest as the dominant mindset). However, when a visitor’s dominant mindset is focused, conversion rates are 50% higher than average.

But it’s only by understanding this human insight layer that we’re able to deliver superior digital experiences and better business outcomes.

Topics: Insights & Inspiration, Experience Cloud, Digital Transformation, Insights Inspiration, Digital Foundation, Analytics, Trends & Research, Marketing, CMO by Adobe

Products: Experience Cloud, Analytics