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Think about the last time you made a purchase. Where did you go first on your quest to buy that item? Based on the fact that over 3.2 billion people use the Internet, you probably took to the web or a mobile app, maybe to research before heading in-store, or maybe to buy. Shopping — be it for groceries or household supplies, to devices and software — has turned into a digital experience.

According to eMarketer, the number of consumers shopping online has grown by nearly 50 million in the last five years — that’s more than the amount of people living in the states of California, Oregon and Washington combined. And this number is sure to grow when you look at the consistent increase in overall Internet users from 738 million to 3.2 billion over the past 15 years.

Yet that upward trend will only affect those businesses that go above and beyond to craft their digital experiences as the competition for customer attention intensifies. Organizations risk losing influence if they don’t continually build and expand their presence on the web and re-evaluate their business strategies on a regular basis. 

Here are three ways organizations can go beyond the basics and assert themselves as leaders in customer experience — now and in the future.

Aim For Quality Over Quantity

Organizations overlook a vital first step when building their web presence: recognizing the value of each prospective customer and creating content and commerce opportunities for those who present the biggest market opportunity. Capture all valuable customer leads, but ask if each opportunity will benefit your company and result in an increase in sales or higher customer retention rate.

Analyze what these top-priority customers expect of your website and decide what successful engagement looks like from both a qualitative and quantitative standpoint. It may take some trial and error, but designing your site in a way that satisfies their needs is worth the effort. Your priority should be to attract people who will be longtime customers, are likely to develop a relationship with the brand, and may refer your product to their networks.

Continually assessing and optimizing your efforts to focus on these valuable shoppers — rather than a general audience — will have positive, long-term effects on the company. A sleek design may attract viewers, but a curated website will guide the right customers smoothly through the purchasing process. While aesthetics are important, customer relationship management (CRM) tools are equally necessary to ensure that each unique consumer can easily find their desired products. Along the way, use that customer data to personalize the site and consider the context of each customer’s shopping experience.

Empower and Inform Employees

Teaching everyone in the organization about the keys to customer engagement will help improve targeting efforts online, ultimately bringing in more valuable customers. To achieve this, create training and development programs to ensure that all employees are aware of available tools and technologies. Instead of focusing on just one aspect of the business, merge both technology and marketing into one program to create a strong core to the company.

When everyone across a CX-driven organization is exposed to the same information and education, employees can work together to build the best possible experiences for customers. Through company-wide collaboration, it becomes easier to seek the information that sets each customer apart and shape their experience accordingly.

Stay Up-to-Date

To stay ahead of competitors, organizations need to pay close attention to new marketing tools and continually evaluate progress so web strategies align with company goals and customer expectations. When assessing current technologies and considering new tools, strive to stay ahead of the curve in delivering customer experiences. Anticipate their needs before they even ask for them.

When deciding on new technologies, pay close attention to the value the tool will bring to the customer experience and how it will ultimately benefit the organization’s performance.

Doing this requires both market knowledge and customer data. Not every technology that comes along will remain popular. Choose those with lasting power.

Building a successful, unique and strategic company that creates top-of-the-line digital experiences requires careful decisions and actions. Always seek to go above and beyond for your customers, through internal organizational changes, web design, content curation and content creation. There’s a long road ahead for the web — build an organization that will be part of its future.

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