Getting It Right
Regardless of industry, a brand’s online presence will hold much sway over its success in the digital era. As eCommerce takes up a progressively larger share of revenue, marketers can no longer afford to build webpages merely for product display – the end goal of any good website should be conversion to a sale.
That’s where Brand.com comes in. In addition to setting up a digital storefront on marketplace platforms such as Shopee or Lazada, marketers need to ensure their own websites are optimised for turning web traffic into satisfied customers.
But the fact remains that selling on Brand.com differs operationally and strategically from selling on marketplace platforms. For one, transactions on Brand.com result in the collection of first-party data. Furthermore, there’s an added opportunity for personalisation with existing customers based on their past interactions. Customers are also likely to have varying levels of purchase intent and motivations when visiting a brand’s website vis-à-vis a marketplace.
How marketers choose to treat that difference matters. To that end, brands should leverage on marketing technology (MarTech) to enhance the end-to-end customer journey.
There are five obstacles marketers face when trying to establish an effective Brand.com:
The average web visitor spends less than a minute per page, due largely to the lack of user-friendliness in the pages they land on. Moreover, Accenture found 44% of customers are dissatisfied with companies that don’t provide personalised shopping experiences, while 41% switch to other brands due to lack of personalisation. A study comparing the top 10,000 eCommerce sites found smaller players to have, on average, a 3x higher bounce rate than top performers. Over the long-term, a high bounce rate also worsens a brand’s search rankings.
Shopping cart abandonment rates in eCommerce are soaring. The global average stood at 71% as of July 2021, but for Asia Pacific that figure was 79% – the highest in the region. The reasons for that range from lengthy registration, checkout, and payment processes to unexpected fees such as shipping costs. But without visibility on how customers feel at each touchpoint, brands are missing out on valuable insight into how they can turn around a negative experience.
An inconsistent customer experience can throw brands off balance, especially when the messaging on a landing page doesn’t live up to the promise of its marketing campaign. A high bounce rate is also a strong indicator that the landing experience was incoherent, or that the web visitor’s needs were inadequately catered to. As long as those issues persist, the value of a Brand.com can’t be fully realised.
Customers divulge their personally-identifiable information when registering for an account or purchasing a product on Brand.com. That’s both an opportunity and a threat for brands, as they must figure out how to securely store and use first-party data while adhering to international privacy standards. Lax cybersecurity remains the leading cause of online hacking and theft of customer data. In addition to the reputational damage and ignominy of falling prey to a hack, brands can get hit by hefty fines for non-compliance with privacy regulations.
Web analytics can provide much-needed insight into how customers interact with a Brand.com, which is key to driving better performance online. But a survey by Gartner noted that although 66% of marketers understood the importance of data analysis, only 50% had experienced data analytics personnel within the organisation. The absence of internal talent can derail a strong Brand.com strategy in implementation.
Marketers can take control of their Brand.com through the effective use of MarTech and by employing an outcome-based approach to the obstacles above.
Serving up a user-friendly website is the first step towards converting web visitors into paying customers. Marketers can turn to WYSIWYG – short for “what you see is what you get” – MarTech tools such as content management software (CMS) to create webpages from the customer’s point of view. Drag-and-drop tools allow marketers to build a working online presence with fewer developer intervention and bottlenecks, and they also come with templates and content hierarchies that can be rolled out for specific products or campaigns.
By mapping out the various paths to purchase visitors can take on their website, a brand can surgically isolate and treat any broken touchpoints that lead to high abandoned carts or high bounce rates. The insights from a customer journey mapping exercise can also guide the use of MarTech tools. When a cart gets abandoned, customer relationship management (CRM) software can be triggered into an automated email workflow to keep customers engaged via promotions or reminders. As much as a third of clicks on emails sent post-abandonment have successfully led to a purchase.
A consistent on-site experience is the sum total of not only the customer’s current expectations, but also their previous interactions including visit patterns, engagement level, and transactions. Here, conversational commerce tools such as chatbots can facilitate engagement by learning from past behaviour and picking up where customers left off. For digitally-savvy brands, a Customer Data Platform (CDP) could help achieve personalisation at scale by consolidating data across multiple online-to-offline channels to create a single source of truth on the customer.
Marketers need to be able to offer personalisation on Brand.com while maintaining compliance with data privacy regulations and security standards. One way to do this is via Treasure Data’s Enterprise CDP, which allows personally-identifiable information to be safely stored and processed for audience segmentation and activation across all communication channels. The service also stores user consent centrally to ensure compliance across all connected downstream systems.
Google Analytics is the go-to platform for marketers when it comes to assessing their web performance. But brands can take it to the next level by leveraging on the combined capabilities of a CDP and a Data Management Platform (DMP). The latter works with third-party data and is designed to help brands advertise across the web. When a DMP is integrated with a CDP, marketers gain access to valuable first-party data. Working in tandem, DMPs can drive new leads via advertising while CDPs engage and nurture those leads for more effective conversion.
As the saying goes, it’s not about how fast you pick up the phone, but what you do after picking it up that counts. With the landscape for eCommerce getting increasingly competitive, brands have a chance to engage with customers directly on their own turf and convert casual visitors into paying customers. The right MarTech tools and strategy will be essential for marketers to turn the tide in their favour.
Our MarTech team is ready to partner with you to drive outcome-based growth with a clear ROI.