4 Customer Experience Tactics Publishers Should Steal from Ecommerce
Everything is convenient these days. I noticed the other day that my kiddo had a hole in his shoe, so while I was sitting in line at the dry cleaners, I opened the Zappos app and ordered my son a new pair of the same shoes (one size up, of course). It took 3 minutes, start to finish. When I was growing up, my mom was forced to go to the store.
Lately it seems that I have one skin care company after another courting me on social media. They are barking up the right tree though, so props to them. And of course, every so often I cave and try something new. And when I run out of my tried-and-true products, I hop on over to sephora.com to place a reorder. Much like my experience with Zappos — it takes less than 3 minutes.
Nothing quite kicks my brand loyalty up a few points like a seamless and easy consumer experience. It really is a thing of beauty. I do probably 70% of my product consumption online and I’m not even a millennial.
So, why does it seem like publishers can’t seem to make the customer experience that simple? Just as I have suggested that publishers have a lot to learn from politicians when it comes to audience engagement, I’m going to say there’s a lot publishers can learn from ecommerce companies when it comes to selling their wares. It shouldn’t be harder for me to order a subscription to Vogue than it is for me to impulse buy a $100 face cream. Online orders are the new impulse buy, much like newsstand sales were at grocery stores across the country. My Instagram feed is now the equivalent of the check-out counter, but with much higher priced impulse buys jumping out at me.
I’m cautiously optimistic about the subscription options that the duopoly et al. are bringing to the table, but it also makes me very nervous we’re surrendering control of our audiences once again.
So, how can publishers reduce consumer friction, maintain the relationship with the customer and decrease cart abandonment rates? Watch ecommerce.
4 Ecommerce Ideas Worth Stealing
1. Decrease Friction
Experiment with online commerce companies Shopify or Woocommerce and embed subscription pages right into your site. Keeping the consumer on your site allows you to easily track and retarget their behavior. This will also allow you to experiment accepting payments with Paypal, Amazon Pay, or Apple Pay.
2. Measure Purchase Behavior
Add a plug-in to your ESP or DMP so that you can capture and categorize the consumer data and keep track of their status as a subscriber. This can be accomplished between just about any ESP and any ecommerce software by using an integration tool like Zapier.
3. Retarget on Social
Add your social media tracking pixels to your subscription landing pages that will allow you to retarget any cart abandoners on social media. Recently, Jeff Levy of Harvard Business Review spoke to publishers and audience development professionals at the City and Regional Magazine Association. He said that social media, search advertising, and retargeting have completely replaced the need for direct mail (the source that just two years ago accounted for 95% of HBR’s new subscriptions sold).
4. Automate Email Offers
Trigger automated welcome and subscription status emails. Don’t you love when Nordstrom tells you that your package is on the way? Provide that same level of connection and excitement from your consumer by keeping them up-to-date about the arrival of their first issue.
Publishers should be excited about all of the flashy tools available in the ecommerce space. Connecting and transacting with the consumer has never been easier. Look for examples on your social feed. Pay attention to how easy it is to order your morning coffee or re-order your laundry detergent from Amazon. Do a quick search for some of the best examples of ecommerce sites. Inspiration is just a click away.
Melissa Chowning is the CEO of Twenty-First Digital, where she guides her clients’ digital strategies and audience development efforts to drive traffic, engagement, and retention. Formerly the Audience Development Director of D Magazine, Portland Monthly and Seattle Met, Melissa understands that the key to audience growth is also monetization. When she’s not immersed in the digital world, you’ll likely find her reading, listening to podcasts, and keeping busy with her two children, both under the age of 6.