When you sell photo products on the internet, your primary intuition is to focus on marketing activities, products, and prices. This is in fact a natural route to follow for every online store. But even if you have invested truckloads of money in the best digital printing machines the market can offer and your price is competitive, that’s not the end of the road.
The quality of the product is very important, but there’s something less tangible happening from the moment customers get to know your brand to the point at which a photobook or some other custom keepsake finds its way to the customer’s shelf. It’s called customer experience (CX) and this blog post will illustrate why your photo products business should become more CX-centric.
What is customer experience?
Personalized photo products are closely related to people’s memories and emotions. And experiences.
Customer experience is the sum of all the customer’s perceptions of the brand developed through interactions at every touchpoint. Touchpoint is the place where the customer and the company meet (Facebook Ad, scrolling through the website, creating a photo product, customer support, payment, delivery etc.). All touchpoints can be visualized on a customer journey map. Creating a map of all the possible interactions is of help when designing the experience, but before the new experience is designed, you’ve got to assess your current activities in that department. There may be a pain point somewhere (the touchpoint customers have negative opinion of) which radically reduces conversion rates. Identifying and improving it will boost your sales.
Experiences can be analyzed from two main angles – website-related and organizational. What are the attributes of a good CX?
Fast – people don’t have time for long interactions with your brand
Customers want to buy things quickly.
When it comes to website-related issues, usually there are several main factors involved, one of them is page load times. Don’t bloat your webpage, make it light, your bounce rates will be lower. Make sure customers upload their photos quickly, good hosting is crucial here. Your payment gateway has to offer high processing speed or else customers will be abandoning their carts.
The organization itself has lots of things to do as well to satisfy ever increasing expectations. Your customer support has to be up to par – days where customers were willing to wait 36 hours for an email reply are long gone. Same day delivery is hardly possible in the business, but higher than expected delivery times increase friction.
Effortless – effort reduces possibility of shoppers returning to your website
The famous Gartner research on loyalty can be boiled down to one quote:
Make life easy for your customers and they are more likely to stay and buy again
That research sparked long conversations about customer effort. Demanding effort on the part of your customer is all right when you sell highly sought-after, luxury, limited edition products. In other cases, customers want to be free of any additional thinking, they just want to move on with their buying process.
As far as website-related issues go, your customer has got to be able to start a project on mobile and finish it on desktop and vice versa. Option to create and order a photo book without a painful registration process is a must. Attribute changes should be applicable at any time without losing the project’s content. All of this saves time and thus requires less effort.
But outside the photo book creation process, you’ve got to make it easy for your customers as well. The whole organization needs to become more customer-centric. Provide all the necessary information in all the marketing materials and update it frequently (your customer support team is the best source of insight, they know exactly what bothers customers and what information is hard to find). Online shoppers should be able to interact with customer support whenever they like it. It’s impossible to arrive at 100% effortless experience, problems sooner or later pop up and how they are solved will have a big impact on the overall experience. If you are interested in KPIs, you can measure effort thanks to Customer Effort Score.
Personalized – every online buyer wants to feel unique
People who buy personalized photo products need personalized experiences too. You are not able to offer custom, tailor-made experiences at every touchpoint (imagine trying that with a Google Ad, every marketer’s happy when an add is displayed to the right group of people, a single person as an ad target just does not happen in B2C marketing). You won’t be able to come up with a different version of your website for your every visitor (you can display product recommendations at best).
On an organizational level, though, marketing and customer support can team up to provide truly personalized experiences.
First of all, customers want to be recognized by name. Marketing automation software will take care of that as far as all your mailings go, omnichannel customer support platforms can easily identify return customers as well.
Buyers also want you to know their purchase history, and if your customer support software is integrated with your e-commerce platform, your support team has all the required data at their fingertips.
Customers love to be presently surprised, so here’s a chance for your marketing team to shine. Identify a touchpoint at which you could make your customer smile or simply feel great (pro tip: emails and packaging are good for a start) and create something special for them. People will remember the pleasant feeling and will associate it with your brand.
3 tips to improve your photo products customer experience right now:
- Try to come up with one memorable thing that will become your brand’s differentiator. Maybe particularly cute order confirmation messages? Maybe your packaging can be turned into something completely else? Maybe a personalized thank you sticker with one of the photos uploaded by the customer? Then test your idea out.
- Install a Messenger (or chat) widget on your website. It’s the fastest and easiest way of having conversations with online shoppers.
- If you haven’t done that for a while, do a speed test of all your important pages/apps and draw conclusions.