How the Quest for a Winning Customer Experience is Transforming Web Application Development

There’s a reason why Amazon is the eCommerce giant it is and it’s not the unrivaled product portfolio. Amazon has always been laser-focused on what the customer wants. Amazon’s strong growth outlook has started with a focus on delivering an unmatched customer experience.

  • Companies that earn $1 billion annually can expect to earn, on average, an additional $700 million within 3 years of investing in customer experience – Source
  • By the end of 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator – Source
  • More than two-thirds of companies now compete primarily on customer experience – up from only 36% in 2010 – Source
  • Experience-led companies have 1.6x higher brand awareness, 1.5x higher employee satisfaction, and 1.9x higher average order value. Experience-led businesses also have 1.7x higher customer retention, 1.9x return on spend, and 1.6x higher customer satisfaction rates – Source
  • Customers who have had an unpleasant experience on a brand website are 88% less likely to return – Source

Clearly, there’s enough research to show that companies focused on customer experience outperform their competitors. So much so that customer experience has now become a top priority for businesses.

With that, it is no surprise that organizations are clamoring to improve the customer experience they provide. However, given how steeped we are in the digital world, this also is a wakeup call for all software development companies who feel that development and customer experience are not connected. Driven by the need to provide elevated online experiences, web application development has also evolved.

Here’s a look at how customer experience is transforming web application development.

 A Heavier Focus on UI and UX

Research shows that you only have 8 seconds to capture the attention of your user and give them a compelling reason to stay on your application. Owing to this, having a simple and customer-oriented web application design is a no-brainer.

Complicated UI and UX fail to put the brand’s value front and center. A cluttered and clunky application experience does nothing for the user and your brand. The simplest and the smallest of UI and UX elements such as intuitiveness of navigation, responsiveness, easy to read effective and bold fonts, multimedia elements, eye-catching images, etc. contribute to creating a flawless experience which keeps your customers from visiting your competitors.

Application Performance

In 2018, one-third of all holiday purchases were made on smartphones. Research showed that 53% of people will abandon a mobile site if it takes longer than three seconds to load. 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. A 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1-second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year.

Clearly, application performance has a direct impact on customer experience and it also directly impacts your business. If your application performance makes it hard for the customer to navigate, buy or use the product then you not only have a technical problem but also a business problem. Today customers are conditioned to have applications respond to them in seconds. So, a slow application is almost like a broken application.

Today, we need to think about application performance before we even start developing the application. It is imperative to have good application development practices in place to eliminate performance issues. Such issues emerge out of unoptimized databases, poorly written code, ineffective load distribution, troublesome third-party services, etc. Employing a content distribution network (CDN) has also risen in prominence to navigate the performance conundrum to ensure that no queuing and wait times for downloading images, files, texts, videos, etc.

Security

Security might seem like an unlikely factor in boosting customer experience but it really won’t matter how great your application is if you cannot provide a secure browsing experience to your customers. Research shows that 85% of clients surveyed in the US will leave a site if they know it does not provide SSL encryption and isn’t secure. Research also shows that 92% of web applications with security flaws or weaknesses that can be exploited.

Customer experience is not just about the cosmetic look and feel of the application. Customer experience is also about how confidently a customer can use the application.

Web application development, thus, has to focus heavily on elements of application security such as safety of user data, access management, databases. We now also ensure that the application is coded carefully factoring in safety concerns such as Session Hijacking, Phishing, SQL Injection, Buffer Overflow, etc. All these must be points of consideration during development.

Scalability

Keeping customer experience in mind, web application development has to be done with an eye on evolution. For this, web application development must keep scalability in mind. What is scalability in this context? It is the ability of your application to manage a growing number of customers, clients and/or users. Given the dynamic customer needs, you also need to have the capability to add necessary additional features with flexible coding to keep your application performance optimal. You also need to ensure that the application can scale easily to handle heavy workloads while avoiding costly glitches. Scalable applications contribute to customer experience as it improves user experience and minimizes downtime. And much like everything else, this work also must be done at the drawing board stage.

We like this quote on customer experience that goes, “Building a good customer experience does not happen by accident. It happens by design.” Not so long ago, business success on the internet was all about product and price. But with the dawn of the experience economy, this dynamic has changed. The writing is on the wall – Customer Experience is the new battlefront and only those who consciously build CX into every aspect of their business will be successful.



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