The top brands in the world strive to deliver more of what their customers want in the most convenient and delightful way possible. L’Oreal is relaunching 600 of their 3,000 different websites in just 3 years to impress their customers with a more personalized shopping experience, including AI-powered shopping assistants and color-matching.

In this post, we introduce you to the tools that top retail brands are using to meet their digital experience objectives.

But first, let’s dive into the key factors of delivering an incredible online retail experience to help you determine which tools can best shore up your company’s weak spots.

The top factors in an amazing online retail experience

Before the pandemic, over three-quarters of American adults shopped online, and in October of 2020, 68% of consumers surveyed by Salesforce said that COVID-19 increased their expectations of companies’ digital capabilities and experiences.

But what contributes to a great online experience for shoppers?

Let’s take a look at the top factors. These will help you determine your organization’s strengths and weaknesses to better inform your tech stack decisions.

  • Personalization – Customers want to see suggestions for products and digital experiences based on their needs. The best personalized experiences don’t feel creepy or invasive (such as “because you viewed…”), but are more natural and organic.
  • Omnichannel – An omnichannel experience takes into consideration the customer’s activity across your entire digital presence, from social to mobile to web, and back again.
  • Functionality – Is your online shopping experience easy to use? Can shoppers find what they need? Do product categories make sense? Are the menus, product pages, and buttons streamlined? Simple and intuitive functionality is a must.
  • Convenience – People who shop online are looking for supreme convenience. This should affect the navigation of your online shopping experience, the free shipping requirements, the checkout flow, the return process, and many other cross-departmental offers and decisions.
  • Enjoyment – The little things matter. Customers want the shopping experience to match the feelings they have about the brand. Humor, sensuality, relaxation, or other elements and emotions can all come into play with site design, AI-driven buying suggestions, microcopy, and more.
  • Support – After one bad mobile experience, online customers are 62% less likely to make a repeat purchase. Excellent customer support can help save the sale and the experience before it’s too late. While phone and email are still common, today’s online shoppers are increasingly turning to instant live chat.
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5 tools for improving the online retail experience

All of these recommended tools can be used to improve more than one of the above factors. Based on what areas you need to strengthen, you can mix and match these tools to build an amazing online retail experience for your shoppers.

1. FullStory

Best for improving personalization and functionality

FullStory is a digital experience analytics tool that can help you identify opportunities to fix revenue leaks. The app analyzes revenue and digital data to deliver AI-powered opportunities that are ranked by potential impact. Use it to discover conversion drop-offs and shopping experience issues, then A/B test your fixes.

Common elements that digital teams can improve with FullStory include search functionality, product listing, site navigation, checkout process, and personalized suggestions.

2. Testlio

Best for improving functionality, convenience, and enjoyment

Testlio is a networked testing company that provides digital teams with expert testers from around the world who can quickly join up to test new releases.

Widely used among top retail and media brands, the company also offers a test management platform for your internal QA team and your Testlio testers. Consolidating testing efforts leads to smarter collaboration and better utilization of test cycle data.

During the US holiday season, desktop sites enjoy more than double the conversion rate of mobile sites (6.2% versus 2.7%, according to Statista). While this could be partly due to shoppers being in more of a decision making mood when on desktop devices, ecommerce and e-tail industry experts also recognize that most mobile sites aren’t truly as optimized as brands’ digital experience managers would like to believe. Testlio testers are experts in helping brands optimize their mobile experiences to local expectations and real device types.

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3. Hotjar

Best for improving functionality and support

Hotjar is a well-known tool for its visual customer feedback and digital analytics. With its visual focus, the tool is great for gaining a deeper understanding of website issues than what traditional numbers-based analytics provides.

Its top features include heatmaps that show popular and underutilized site features and buttons, session recordings to watch the activity of real online shoppers, contextualized user feedback on pages and site elements, and user surveys to collect insights on new features and fixes.

The company’s target users are ecommerce stores and online retailers, so you can rest assured that its features are tailored to your needs as a revenue-driving digital experience creator.

4. Freshchat

Best for improving support and convenience

While there are many options for providing live chat to online shoppers, few software options are as fully featured and enterprise ready as Freshchat, which is offered by customer engagement platform Freshworks.

Freshchat comes loaded with several amazing features to online retailers who won’t settle for anything but the highest rates of customer satisfaction:

  • AI-powered chatbots that can resolve issues and connect customers with live chat agents
  • Proactive chat prompts sent to individual site users based on their individual website activity
  • Contactless retail including management of pickup orders and communication on customer-favorite channels such as WhatsApp
  • Automation of repetitive and transactional chat and SMS messages
  • Centralized management of all communication channels including website chat, SMS, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, email, and phone calls

5. Sitecore

Best for improving personalization, omnichannel efforts, and convenience

Sitecore’s Experience Platform is used by top global brands like L’Oreal, Subway, Nestlé, and Proctor & Gamble to produce omnichannel digital experiences that are hyper-personalized. The platform can be used to deliver the right content to the right customers across all channels. It’s also a top option for analyzing and testing digital experiences.

Retailers primarily employ Sitecore to personalize their digital storefronts, automate marketing messages and promotions to unique audience segments, and truly optimize mobile shopping.

The brands with the best online retail experiences experience higher revenue than their competitors and are better suited to grow in the future. With these tools, you can improve the top factors that customers care about and exceed their expectations.

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Testlio offers burstable teams of expert mobile and web testers alongside its test management platform. Learn more.

Dayana is a QA engineer turned technology writer living in Milan, Italy. She's always down for a smoothie.