During the 2023 Omnichannel Retail Index benchmarking, one area that stood out as a missed opportunity for many retailers and brands was Account Centers. Account Centers on ecommerce sites are not new, but if implemented with a customer-centric approach, they can have a significant impact on the overall experience. Account pages are not typically a part of the purchase funnel, but they can contribute to a seamless checkout, support many post-order interactions, and create opportunities for personalization and improved loyalty.
Only 25% of brands and retailers currently allow shoppers to create an account during or after the checkout process if they check out as a guest, according to the Index. Customers who create accounts are more engaged, so it is essential to communicate the benefits to encourage account activation. The Account Center should include standard sections such as the user profile, ordering information, and order history. But the key is understanding how your customer will interact with this section to determine the functionality needed.
Here are just a few of the sections and opportunities for a customer-centric Account Center:
Order Tracking - Verte research reveals that 90% of consumers actively track their packages, 39% track them once a day, and 19% of Americans track their packages multiple times each day. Many customers will track orders directly from their account, and providing a seamless method will result in high satisfaction and a reduced service center contact rate. Allow the customer to easily link from the order and provide the detailed status on the page. While retailers are dependent on delivery partners for on-time delivery, the retailer must own the communication and ease of tracking.
Returns Management - Shoppers are making buying decisions based on retailers’ return rel="noopener noreferrer" policies, according to a recent consumer research study. It is critical to clearly state the policy and make it easy for the customer to initiate a return directly from the Account Center, but it should not stop there. Apply the same transparency as with order shipments to the returns process by updating your customer with the return status and include a self-service function in the Account Center.
Wishlist and Favorites - Customers invest time in finding the right products and may not be ready to convert immediately for various reasons. Providing access to their list from their Account Center is a convenient way for customers to easily manage those products. This also presents an opportunity for retailers to communicate with the customer in a personalized way by letting them know if the item has limited availability, has been reduced in price or by recommending comparable products. As more retailers and brands create quizzes to help customers find the right products, only 30% save quiz or guide results in a shopper’s account for future access, the 2023 Index indicates.Home Depot allows multiple list management with sharing options and “add to cart” functionality.
Preference Centers - Understanding customer preferences can help the retailer provide a personalized experience, and zero-party data is a great way to gather this information. Many brands already know this, as 66% of those surveyed in the 2023 Omnichannel Retail Index have adopted best practices in the Account & Preferences category. Customers have become more willing to share data to improve their experience as they expect relevancy at every touchpoint in their journey. Adding this data to their profile enables customers to manage their information and instills trust in the retailer.
Allowing customers to select method, frequency, and type of communication can improve performance and lower opt-out rates. The 2023 Index reveals that 58% of brands and retailers allow customers to select their method of communication—an increase from the previous year’s 36%.Levi’s Account Center includes a quiz for personalized emails.
Customer feedback provides insights into what customers like, friction points and how to improve the experience. Not only does this help the company prioritize actions that align with customer needs, but it also demonstrates they value their customer’s opinion.Nordstrom’s Account Center provides a quiz to determine personal style, and they ask for feedback about recent updates to their account pages.
Loyalty Programs - Retailers are rapidly enhancing loyalty programs with new features and benefits to build retention. The Account Center is the customer hub where programs are accessed, leading to more usage of the account pages. This section should clearly list the benefits and provide a points tracker and relevant content to this highly engaged segment.H&M calls out specific rewards with a sense of urgency.
Retailers are updating their account centers with different tactics but share a common goal to improve the overall customer experience. Implementing a robust Account Center establishes a good foundation to build features that provide value to the customer for improved engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty.
Want to read the 2023 Omnichannel Retail Index Executive Summary? Access the report.
Anne is an accomplished ecommerce executive and digital marketing expert who has driven digital transformation for many brands. She is skilled at creating innovative customer experiences and leveraging data to drive digital commerce strategies.