Enhancing Your eCommerce: 4 Benefits of Customer Development

Sep 1, 2020

The unprecedented last few months have been a challenge during which many have become more reliant on their digital presence. Many businesses are now taking the time to evaluate their eCommerce platforms to improve their customers’ experience and maximize their conversions. 

In doing so, many sites are taking the risk of becoming customer-centric experiences. Today, we’ll take a deeper look at the business model that supports this strategy and how eCommerce sites can benefit from implementing the model long term.

Where does this strategy come from? 

Being customer-centric is the cornerstone of the Customer Development methodology, the lean business model first introduced by American entrepreneur Steve Blank.  It focuses on applying agile engineering or the scientific method to validate your business ideas, instead of making assumptions about what the right product, ideal features, services, etc. are for your customer.  The method will reduce the risk of mistakes and missed market opportunities by analyzing customer behavior towards your product or service.  

Businesses that have implemented a Customer Development model focus on all things that the client demands and needs, marketing their value offer around that. They create relationships instead of sales and spend time analyzing in detail ways to improve the customer experience. They carefully study and plan their business decisions with a customer-centric approach.

How can it apply to my eCommerce site? 

1. Optimize your existing resources 

Setting up your site and its operations correctly are necessary in order to ensure customer fulfillment is at its best. For this, sites should start by identifying and eliminating unnecessary expenses and leaks in your budget.  An example of the latter can be spending too much time on inhouse development for your site. True to the lean mentality, expenses should only be on those tools which seamlessly run the site and provide access to efficient and affordable solutions.

2. Get out of the building

This technique follows the idea that inside the building one is filled with assumptions and fantasies. In order to face the facts that will lead to better business decisions, one must “Get out of the building” and talk to potential customers before you roll anything out. 

In these uncertain times especially it has become rather difficult to understand what customers are thinking about and what drives them to purchase or not, collecting reviews, conducting surveys among site prospects, and initiating one-on-one conversations with your customers easy and powerful ways to go about getting out of the building. 

3. Take control of your testing

At  Resolve Digital, one of our top priorities for eCommerce sites is making sure they are set up correctly. Part of what this means is that you are able to visualize a comprehensive customer journey from your site, with insightful data that can help you get a clear picture of your customer touchpoints and habits. There is no magic formula to figure out a customers’ preferences and behaviors thoroughly, however, conducting A/B testing and long term marketing campaigns based on data from your live customer journey, you can gradually understand what customers really desire from your brand. 

4. Improving is also changing

Over this period of time, we have seen many household brands constantly reinvent themselves, to keep up with the fast-paced changes in customer needs. However, we can learn from them that there is no need to start from scratch and build something new if we already have something going. The lean method is all about using what you have available and improving on it, which also applies to your customer journey. Instead of trying to build out new untested strategies, sites should look to incrementally build up their experience based on customer feedback and prospect responses. Updating your site’s design can be cool, but will it improve your sales? What customer pain points are these website updates actually improving? Those are the hard questions that sites eCommerce platforms need to be focused on in order to maximize their conversions.

There is no doubt that customer experience is a leading factor to eCommerce success. As we have seen, becoming customer-centric will force you to continuously evaluate your site and its conversions. Because the future, much like the present, is still uncertain it’s better to be prepared and build your site correctly now, rather than later. 

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