10 Priorities to Finish 2023 Strong

Searchspring Webinar: 10 Priorities to Finish 2023 Strong

With only 6 weeks left in 2023, CQL partner Searchspring joined Sara Pereda, Sr. Partner Manager at Yotpo, Kait Stephens, CEO & Co-Founder at Brij, and Sue Hunter, VP of Strategy at CQL in an engaging panel discussion regarding the top 10 priorities to close out the year. Below are the top recommendations to drive the ultimate customer experience in the critical several weeks ahead.

These 3 priorities didn’t make the Top 10, but the panelists felt they were important to touch on:

13. Filtering Capabilities

Filters are a key component to getting users to conversions much faster, and it’s critical to help shoppers get to your PDP pages.

Filtering capabilities can be very helpful for shoppers, but can also be overwhelming. How do you optimize your filtering?

  • Use heat maps and analytics tagging to see user behavior and prioritize filters.
  • There is no a one size fits all approach to filters; different collection pages may need different filters.
  • Make sure your data is clean and normalized to make your filters the most effective.
  • Make sure options and results are in the right order, for example Apparel (Small to Large) or Shoes (Size 5-12).
  • Brands should use filters to help shoppers find the right product, allowing filters such as height, build, weight.
  • Brands with a lot of reviews should leverage filters, so users can sort and filter by top ratings.

12. Customer Loyalty Programs 

Brands that don’t have a loyalty program should be exploring it for 2024.  Loyalty programs are table stakes in 2023, and they help brands drive repeat business and shift away from discounting. How do you optimize your loyalty program?

  • Clearly define goals and objectives by knowing your target audience.
  • Know what user behaviors your brand wants to incentivize and what channels you want to sell through (in-store, social, etc).
  • Use tools like SMS and Email that automate triggers to engage users. Be sure to segment loyalty members to personalize messages.
  • Keep iterating and optimizing. Try new “perks” for loyalty programs, such as early access to purchasing products and rewarding users for sharing socially. Survey VIPs regarding what is most important in your program. Incentivize multiple touch points – in-store, on line, social following, reviews, etc.

11. Social Commerce Integration 

There is a lack of trust by consumers when buying through social integrations. Shoppers are wondering if the advertised retailer is a real brand or drop-shipper. How do you optimize your social integrations?

  • Have your reviews syndicating, including both positive and negative reviews. Unfiltered reviews can build trust.
  • Shoppers can see your resolution to bad reviews. Make sure customer support is active in addressing reviews, so users can see that they will be taken care of if they buy from your brand.
  • Own your own data, especially when it comes to Meta. You can then continue to engage with social users outside of social media.

And now, the Top 10 Priorities to Finished 2023 Strong…

10. Search Experience Quality

The larger the amount of products you have, the more important search and filtering will be for the brand. Search converts 4-5x higher than non-search shoppers, as customers are looking for something specific. How do you optimize your search experience?

  • Check your global campaign rules – are your top products showing up? Are your merchandising boosts appearing?
  • Look at your zero results paths. Leverage search synonyms and search redirects – not just to other products, but to all areas of your website (such as return policy, shipping rates, and more).

9. Mobile-First Experience

A mobile optimized experience is also table stakes in 2023. In fact, many retailers are seeing up to 70-80% of total traffic can be mobile.

  • Have your team test with their iPhones and androids, and look at the user experience to find any issues.
  • Mobile is core to building omni-channel solutions – from QR codes in store, to social, etc. Make sure you leverage mobile experiences at each touchpoint to make shopping seamless.
  • Make sure designs are optimized for mobile. This includes looking at spacing, making sure tap targets are large enough, ensuring scrolling is optimized, and confirming forms are laid out appropriately.

8. Customer Reviews & Social Proof

Yotpo brands see 3x higher ROI on SMS & emails flows when they leverage social proof, and 161% higher onsite conversion rate when customers engage with reviews.

  • Syndicate your customer reviews with social media.
  • Send emails to shoppers to capture reviews
  • If you’re an Amazon seller, ensure a high quality post-purchase experience by setting up videos, sharing helpful content, and capturing reviews with QR codes.

7. Streamlined Checkout Process

While making changes to streamline checkout is critical, it is not recommended to change anything at this time in 2023. Look into checkout enhancements for 2024 priority. Here are a few tips for next year:

  • Some commerce platforms are optimizing checkouts. Brands need to plan to ensure they get those optimized experiences (it doesn’t happen automatically)
  • Build loyalty programs into your checkout and allow users to redeem rewards/points.
  • Create a frictionless, on-site option for loyalty and payment options.

6. Personalized Email/SMS Recommendations

Personalized emails stand out in the inbox. How do you optimize them?

  • Third party cookies are sunsetting. It’s critically important to have your own data set, first-party or zero-party data for emails and SMS.
  • Segment beyond the welcome flow. Look at loyalty, surveys, frequency/recency, and capturing reviews.
  • Make sure email and SMS content matches subscriber preferences.

5. AI-Powered Customer Support

AI can provide great support 24×7 and generate higher customer satisfaction. A few tips include:

  • Leverage modern platforms as most are integrating AI to build an more personalized customer experience and tailored responses.
  • Look at common use cases, such as “where’s my order?” so customers can get immediate answers without waiting for customer service to type an answer. Look to AI to   bridge any gaps in technology to address your brand’s common use cases.

4. Effective Merchandising

Your holiday merchandising should be driven by a combination of data insights and your brand’s experiences. Here are a few tips to move more products at holiday:

  • AI-powered solutions can show cross-sell flows and predictive analytics. Analyze and use the data to personalize journey and recommend products (as well as avoid products that cause customer churn)
  • Effective merchandising is a mix of art and science – data can tell you what to sell, but brands can tell a story. Look to gift guides, “get the look” bundles, or holiday collections.
  • Pin the brand’s top products in categories and searches.
  • Make sure products recommended are available and in-stock. Only push products that customers can buy.

3. Personalization & Recommendations

Personalization is going omni-channel and offered at mass scale. Here are some tips to start determining how to make your shopping experiences more personalized:

  • Use chat-bots to answer tailored questions for products
  • Leverage AI and tagging to personalize content

2. Page Speed Optimization

Page speed optimization should be an ongoing program. What are a few quick optimization wins?

  • Optimize & compress image and video assets. It is easy to add oversized images and videos, especially during the holiday crunch, that take longer to load and slow your site.
  • Remove any third party scripts that don’t have to run. Use GTM hygiene manager to clean up dead weight, like heat maps or data session recording if you don’t need it tracked in Q4.

1. User-Centric Design

The design of your site should be focused around your users and their behaviors. Here are a few tips:

  • Brands should know that ~50% of purchase should be from repeat purchasers. If you’re not seeing this metric, it could be a good indicator of design gaps.
  • Look at success metrics beyond conversion rate. Did someone sign up or create an account? What is the product view rate? What is the product add-to-cart rate? This helps find where we can make design enhancements.

Best of luck with the remaining 2023 holiday season!

To view the entire webinar, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wT45jwcoBcw