By now, you’ve likely heard of the phrase “digital transformation” in business conversations and online content but might not be sure what it means.
So what is digital transformation? Deloitte neatly defines digital transformation as “all about becoming a digital enterprise—an organization that uses technology to continuously evolve all aspects of its business models (what it offers, how it interacts with customers and how it operates).”
In other words, digital transformation is how you future-proof your eCommerce business and keep it on track for continuous growth. Wondering how?
While there are numerous ways digital transformation can drive your eCommerce growth and optimize customer experience, here are the top five ways worth paying attention to.
1. Improves Your Internal Site Search Capability
Site search is pivotal to your store’s navigation.
Even so, as per Baymard Institute, 61% of eCommerce search implementations fail to return relevant results for product-type synonyms, requiring users to search using the same jargon as the site. Moreover, 27% don’t return useful results when users misspell just a single character in the product title.
So if a potential customer knows the exact product they want and vaguely knows its name, make, or model number, their purchase intent is high. And so, their odds of using the site search feature to find it are even higher.
But if your site search doesn’t yield useful results, you’ll essentially destroy buyer confidence, leading to a bounce.
Now, effective digital transformation means introducing digital tools that enhance how you deliver value to your customers. In this case, it means leveraging AI-powered semantic search, wherein your store’s search engine can determine the intent and contextual meaning behind the search query, improving the accuracy of the results delivered.
If, for instance, the product is out of stock, the engine can suggest super-relevant alternative products or content that helps retain those visitors and convert them into leads.
For example, Skinnydip London witnesses 30% of its revenue generated from on-site search, which is powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP).
2. Facilitates Building and Managing a Remote eCommerce Team
Remote work was already a fast-growing trend even before the COVID-19 pandemic shook the world and changed how teams operate. And now, remote work is pretty much the only viable way forward for most businesses.
That’s not bad considering the great benefits of remote work, such as major cost savings on office real estate, fuel, and other overheads, access to a global pool of talent, better work-life balance and productivity, and lower employee turnover and absenteeism.
However, building and managing a top-performing remote eCommerce team is a tall order.
Successful digital transformation is how you can thrive as a remote eCommerce business. By using talent-hiring platforms like AngelList and We Work Remotely, adopting quick communication and collaboration tools like Slack and Asana that have a fun vibe, while being feature-rich and cost-effective, and leveraging cloud-based storage services such as Google Drive and Dropbox to seamlessly share documents without sacrificing security — you can operate your eCommerce business smoothly while being fully remote.
3. Helps Automate Email Marketing Efforts
Email marketing is a powerful customer retention tool for businesses, especially for eCommerce brands.
Earning businesses an average of $38 for every $1 invested, email marketing generates the highest return on investment (ROI) amongst all digital marketing channels, according to a VentureBeat Insight study. The same study further suggests “84% of marketers believe email is important or critically important for customer loyalty.”
Thus, email marketing is a battle-tested way to motivate repeat purchases, helping you build your eCommerce business and win better customers who spend more on each purchase.
Digital transformation enables you to automate your email marketing activities. With so many amazing email marketing automation tools available, you only have to design your marketing campaign once — including the welcome email (see an example from Kate Spade below), abandoned cart email, product review email, etc. — and then you can put it on autopilot.
As customers go down the sales funnel, different emails will automatically trigger at the right touchpoints and keep your customers engaged with your brand.
Enhances Customer Service with Chatbots
Another notable way in which digital transformation translates to eCommerce growth is how it improves the speed and accuracy of customer service with chatbots.
As you know, the modern customer is an impatient one whose patience wears out in just 10 minutes. In fact, 90% of customers rate immediate response from businesses as “important” or “very important” when a customer service issue comes up.
While having live chat on your website is well and good, you can’t ensure immediate response every time as you can’t have a 24/7 customer service team behind the chatbox.
That’s where AI-powered chatbots help. Chatbots enhance customer service by providing swift answers to your customers’ commonly asked questions, so they don’t have to wait for an email reply from your support team, fill out a form, or create helpdesk tickets.
There are numerous benefits of using chatbots from the customer experience perspective. A chatbot:
- Makes your business approachable round the clock.
- Don’t get annoyed while interacting with grumpy customers.
- Provides instant and accurate answers without making human mistakes.
- Automates tedious aspects of customer service so your team can focus on solving complex customer issues and ensure a satisfactory experience.
- Can redirect customers to the right agent for the best support.
- Can sync your shipments with live delivery updates.
- Can point customers to different pages based on what they’re looking for.
An intelligent chatbot can also proactively engage website visitors who might otherwise leave. For example, Sephora’s Kik bot proactively opens with a quick quiz to learn about the prospect’s makeup preferences.
Digital transformation means augmenting your basic live chat to incorporate AI-powered chatbots, which improve your customer experience and, thus, the bottom line.
Enables On-Site Personalization
The modern customer not only desires personalization from businesses but actually expects it. Research shows that product recommendations account for up to 31% of eCommerce revenues. What’s more, implementing personalized product recommendations can improve the cart abandonment rate by up to 4.35%.
So the ability to serve personalized product and content recommendations can skyrocket your eCommerce user experience and, thus, business growth.
But implementing effective on-site personalization is tricky, and you can’t do so without company-wide digital transformation. This means getting executive buy-in to invest in personalization technology that shifts your conventional store into a customer-centric one.
With digital transformation, you can leverage AI-powered personalization tools (like Barilliance, Unbxd, etc.) that use predictive analytics to analyze past browsing behaviors, purchase history, and various other data points to automatically deliver dynamic on-site experiences and product recommendations that are most likely to engage individual customer segments.
For example, Billabong used Barilliance’s AI personalization capabilities to boost conversions across home, category, and product pages. The brand realized a 533% increase in conversion rates from product recommendations.
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For eCommerce businesses, effective digital transformation includes optimizing your website’s search engine with AI, automating and enhancing your email marketing and customer service, better managing your team, and fulfilling the modern customer’s need for personalization.
None of these five ways are new or unheard of, but to leverage these successfully for your eCommerce business, you must think of them from a holistic, digital transformation perspective — which is not just about technology and tools adoption but also includes change management, leadership buy-in, and employee engagement.
It is how you can enhance your eCommerce store’s customer experience, increase team productivity, and ultimately boost sales.
Written by our guest writer Lucy Manole, a creative content writer and strategist at Marketing Digest.
She specializes in writing about digital marketing, technology, entrepreneurship, and education. When she is not writing or editing, she spends time reading books, cooking, and traveling.