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7 Digital Experience Principles to Transform Websites and Apps

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As more customers spend time on websites and apps, the digital experience principles you use to shape those online customer journeys now matter even more. 

While websites and apps have become fully ingrained into the heart of customer experience strategies, frustrating digital experiences are unfortunately still abundant. More than half of consumers believe the customer experience provided by most companies needs improvement. And to take advantage of this opportunity, brands and business leaders must adopt reliable and sustainable methods for improving digital experiences on-site or in-app.  

There’s no one way to approach transforming websites and apps. However, certain digital experience principles have emerged as foundational for meeting customer expectations through these channels. And as more and more customers spend their time online, these digital experience principles will matter even more moving forward.

1. Prioritize experience over transactions

It’s easy for marketers and analysts to get caught up in results of web and app metrics that impact the business’ bottom line. But obsessing over transactions and using old-school conversion optimization methods can quickly undermine the quality of digital experience. And you can’t afford to put the customer’s experience at risk, as roughly one in three customers will leave a brand they love after just one bad interaction. 

The most sustainable, customer-centric way to shore up online sales and revenue starts with improving the digital experience on websites and apps. In fact, 8 out of 10 customers would pay more for a better experience, and those improved digital experiences can ultimately improve conversion rates by up to 400%. To do this successfully, it comes down to avoiding taking shortcuts. Focus on making every web page or app screen, and every step in the online journey, as user-friendly as possible — don’t try to force transactions early.

2. Focus on the online customer journey

Leaving the online customer journey up to chance is a surefire way to lose current customers or deter potential ones. But it’s also far too common for digital teams to plan the “ideal” web or app journey just for customers to take a completely different path to achieve their goal. The challenge here is for businesses to adopt a journey-based approach, which recognizes and caters to the journeys customers actually take.

With a journey-based approach, the digital team doesn’t try to artificially alter journeys to cater to business goals, but rather optimizes them based on customer goals and experiences. They commit to monitoring, analyzing, and optimizing the online customer journey based on the actual paths customers take on websites and apps. Make it easier for customers to take the steps that are intuitive to them based on path data, which you can collect via journey visualization tools.

3. Personalize experiences as much as possible

Personalized experiences simply shouldn’t be treated as optional, as more customers expect them now. A convincing 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences than one that didn’t. It’s clear that learning your customer’s behaviors, preferences, and tendencies online is pivotal for improving their experiences and earning their business.

While it’s wise to personalize across every digital channel where you engage customers, doing so on websites and apps directly shapes the buying experience online. To capitalize on customers visiting your website or app, it’s best to customize engagements and content as much as possible. Consider using personalized homepages and landing pages, interest-based offers in key moments, timely proactive customer support — however, avoid spamming and overwhelming customers. 

4. Track all types of digital feedback and customer signals

In order to be truly customer-centric in your approach to digital experience, you must be paying attention and listening to customers across every journey on your website or app. And this includes not just the things they say, but the things they do. Research shows that businesses leveraging behavioral data to generate insights outperform peers by 85% in sales growth and more than 25% in gross margin

To gain a complete view of how customers feel about their digital experiences, you should collect data from an array of sources, including both direct feedback from the customer that’s more explicit and indirect behavioral feedback that’s based on digital body language. It’s best to combine insights from pulse and post-purchase surveys, online reviews, along with behavioral data from on-screen interactions like clicks/taps and cursor movements.

5. Aim to resolve known or predictable online pain points

For digital teams, it can be tempting to search for unknown issues, which may or may not exist, that could impact high-profile metrics like revenue or conversion. In short, this is an inefficient business-centric mindset that can drag the digital experience, turn off customers, and ultimately hurt those key metrics in the long run. It may sound rather intuitive, but keep your focus on removing and fixing pain points in the online customer journey that you can actually identify. 

It’s best to use web and app analytics data as guiding indicators of potentially poor digital experiences — changes like a spike in abandonment or drop-off in engagement are clear calls to action. With an apparent issue out in the open, investigating it by using actionable insights from direct feedback, experience analytics, and digital tools can help you get more granular and pinpoint the actual issue impacting those metrics.

6. Align teams on specific goals and metrics

Perhaps one of the most underrated or overlooked aspects of improving digital experience is alignment across business units. But it’s actually a business critical step, as well-aligned companies churn 36% fewer customers each year, and those that regularly exceeded revenue goals were 2.3 times more likely to report high levels of alignment.

When it comes to improving digital experiences and removing customer pain points, typically a few teams or business units play a hand in transformation efforts. But if team alignment across the project goes overlooked, it can foster a dysfunctional effort that ends up creating more issues than it resolves. It’s best to get every team involved on the same page by establishing clear-cut business goals, project deliverables, and key metrics for each group.

7. Unify insights with practical tech stack integrations

Data in businesses is like gold, and most businesses rely on a wide array of analytics and tools across business units to help collect that highly valuable data. While data-driven solutions may provide useful insights on their own, it can be challenging to track and cross compare those insights from every individual source.

To extract even more value and more actionable insights from each solution you deploy, it’s becoming increasingly important to integrate analytics and tools. When integrated with each other, you can create more context and purpose around each data point, ultimately making it easier to guide transformation efforts across digital experiences. Some of the most practical integrations in your stack will include web/app analytics, voice-of-customer analytics, digital experience analytics, A/B testing and personalization tools, along with session replays and heatmaps. 


Download Digital Experience & Conversion: Industry Benchmarks for 2022 to discover the latest digital experience trends and understand why personalizing the digital experience is so important today.