Customer Relationship Management

Why customer experience will be the key differentiator in 2015

The world of ecommerce is evolving fast. No longer are price and product enough to protect your market share. Today's buyers are used to getting what they want at the right price. So you have to find new ways to differentiate yourself in a market of near endless choice. The iPhone is the classic example of how experience trumps features in maintaining customer loyalty. It may not have the fastest processor, the longest battery life or the best camera. But Apple devotees will queue all night to get the latest model. As Mercedes Benz CEO Steve Cannon put it, "Customer experience is the new marketing."

Why customer experience is the new battleground

Multiple trends are now all compounding to make exceptional customer experience the key way to win customers:

Leveling of the playing field

Access to Chinese manufacturing via Alibaba, 3D printing for product design, and fulfillment centers are removing the barriers to entry for retailers of all sizes. Higher quality competition makes it harder to compete on price and product alone.

Buyer empowerment

Customers have near limitless choice and have more ways of researching their choices. They are now buying from retailers offering the best experience, and not just the lowest price.

Rise of m-commerce

A third of website visits are often on a mobile device. Your mobile experience needs to be smooth and friction free to keep them coming back. Up to 43% of consumers will switch to your competitors if it's bad. These trends are no longer predictions. They are impacting ecommerce right now:

  • Forrester Research found that customer experience is now a more powerful driver than the price/value proposition.

  • According to Gartner's 2015 Marketing Spending Survey, by 2016 89% of companies expect to compete based on customer experience. In 2010 it was just 36%.

  • 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated - McKinsey.

  • Price is not the main reason for customer churn, it is due to poor customer service - Accenture Global Customer Satisfaction Survey

The evidence is clear - delivering an experience that not only satisfies but delights customers will decide ecommerce's winners and strugglers, now and into the future. ? For tips on how to engage with your customers, have a look at our guide.

How you can use SMS to deliver exceptional experiences

After many false dawns, the mobile era is here. Today's demanding buyer wants information literally at their fingertips. They want to be able to get instant answers to questions, product advice and get delivery updates all on their mobile phone. The snail pace of email makes it a poor option for engaging with customers.

It takes 90 minutes on average for people to read your emails, and that's of the 17.35% of people that opens them. Mobile SMS, on the other hand, has a near perfect open rate of 98%. What's more, messages are read in a mere 90 seconds. This makes SMS a clear winner for prompt, responsive customer service.. SMS is multifunctional too. It can be used for two way conversations, for updating account options and getting product setup advice. We cover 101 more uses of SMS in this free guide. If you'd like to find out more about the link between exceptional customer experiences and SMS, we've put together a new white paper which explains how. It covers how SMS can be used to address today's top 5 ecommerce challenges and will give you the edge in the war for customer loyalty. Download it now.

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