The User Experience Pillar: A Digital Maturity Series

The user experience you create is the greatest competitive differentiator in the digital age for your customers. With 61% of US online adults stating they are unlikely to return to a website that does not provide a satisfactory experience¹ and the growing statistics in both B2B and B2C about the amount of people using digital commerce and preferring screens to calling or in-person conversation, the user experience can not simply be putting features, tools, and capabilities in a neatly packaged site anymore. In both B2B and B2C commerce, user experience is about focusing on the individual person to ensure they stay your customer.

Our user experience pillar in the Digital Journey Maturity Model serves to look holistically at everything involved with creating a successful multi-channel experience for your customers. Echidna’s  principal leadership comes from guiding digital commerce businesses like Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Lexmark, Dell, National Instruments, and Teleflora, along with technology solution leaders like ATG, Oracle, and Demandware. They know, from experience, that digital commerce is meant to integrate, support and complement other channels of your business. You’re likely to have customers who cross over between self-serving online and working with a sales representative.

By reviewing the six core areas of user experience within the Digital Journey Maturity Model, you will be able to create and execute a plan to add value throughout your customers interactions with your company.

  1. Information Architecture: Having a well defined site structure with products well categorized with a robust taxonomy, attribution and meta-data definitions are instrumental in being able to provide a value-add experience amongst your digital channels. Reviewing your processes for defining catalog taxonomy, information architecture, and general organization/groupings of your internal and external facing experiences to ensure they are streamlined and correct, along with making sure you have a current sitemap and wireframe of your digital experiences will all fall under this topic.
  2. Channel Integration: Your customers are using additional channels to interact with your brand besides your website or app, so it is imperative to understand and update experiences to ensure a seamless journey of your brand across all interactions, from screen to phone call to brick and mortar. By  reviewing user personas and user journeys across multiple channels through the Digital Journey Maturity Model and ensuring user data is unified, you will then have a clear view of your customers.
  3. User Engagement: It doesn’t matter if you are B2B, B2C, or a combination a both. Customers engage and advocate for brands that connect with them digitally. Users can interact with your company in numerous ways (social media, chat, reviews, email, etc.), so it is important to understand which ones to focus on to allow you to meet your goals. Also utilizing tools to interact and gain insight on your users so you can continually be improving upon this facet of the user experience pillar is extremely helpful.
  4. User Research & Usability: As your company digitally matures, it is important to research and analyze your customers’ digital needs to help build your strategy and add value. By regularly conducting user research and usability studies of site features, operations, shopping habits, likes and dislikes, and driving compliance with usability and accessibility best practices, your company will be able to create more hyper-personalized and superior experiences.
  5. Interactive Usability: This is the specific design focus of the interaction users have with their devices and the environment they are using it in. By being able to understand the goals and motivations your customers have in mind when they are using your website or app and design it accordingly, you will be differentiating your brand’s customer experience in today’s digital markets.
  6. Visual Design: It is critical to follow your user engagement, market trends, and business strategy to regularly refresh the visual design aspects of your digital experience. This is a combination of functional use and artistic design which is used to influence behavior and reflect the brand. Connecting online and offline materials and having a digital visual strategy guide are good starting points and also ensuring your teams are aligned in user experience related decisions  (this can be marketing, merchandising, or IT in most cases).

Ultimately, experiences should be personalized to meet the needs of the buyer, seller, company, channel and all the various support roles involved in the buying cycle.  There is no such thing as a finished product in this case - instead, continual, dynamic improvements must be made to evolve with your visitors needs. This can sound complex, but done successfully by utilizing customer data and partnering with the right team of experts you can break down barriers, align your internal teams, and continually create new customer centric experiences that keep them coming back. Even a small lift in your conversion rate can have significant impact on your revenue.

Does your company understand its customer journey and create a seamless online and offline experience? At Echidna, we can help you find out and walk with you every step of the way.

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End notes:

  1. Source: Forrester Data Consumer Technographics North American Retail And Travel Customer Life Cycle Survey, Q1 2017 (US)