Why Customer Experience Optimisation Matters – Kevin Dean, E-commerce Experience Manager at Darn Tough Vermont 

Why Customer Experience Optimisation Matters – Kevin Dean, E-commerce Experience Manager at Darn Tough Vermont 

Reading time: 5 minutes approximately

E-commerce CX Optimisation

In the digital age, where competition explodes online daily, an e-commerce platform’s lifeblood is an optimised Customer Experience (CX). This experience, spanning every touchpoint – from browsing to post-purchase – dictates loyalty, brand advocacy, and ultimately, profits. 

Source: darntough.com/

We spoke to Kevin Dean, Ecomm Experience Manager at Darn Tough Vermont (one of the fastest-growing American manufacturers of performance outdoor and lifestyle socks) to understand how they optimise the e-commerce customer experience. He listed three important aspects to focus on when trying to optimise the e-commerce customer experience – A comprehensive approach to data and analytics, gathering insights about user experience, and personalisation. 

Why Customer Experience Optimisation Matters

Optimising customer experience is crucial for e-commerce businesses as it directly impacts their bottom line and customer loyalty. Here are some key statistics that highlight the importance of customer experience:

Source: https://hillanddaleoutdoors.co.uk/products/darn-tough-1903-womens-hiker-micro-crew-midweight-hiking-sock-plum-health
  • 86% of consumers would leave a brand after as few as two poor experiences*
  • 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience, with the price premium increasing to 13% for luxury items ^
  • Typically, businesses that invest effort in enhancing customer experience witness a 42% boost in customer retention, a 33% rise in customer satisfaction, and a 32% uptick in cross-selling and up-selling opportunities.**
  • McKinsey research reveals that improving the customer experience has increased sales revenues by 2%-7% and profitability by 1%-2%. Additionally, the overall shareholder return has increased by 7%-10%. ^^
Source: https://keap.com/business-success-blog/customer-service/customer-experience/improving-customer-experience

A Data-driven Strategy for E-commerce Customer Experience Optimisation

Kevin explained that selling niche products like socks involves understanding the diverse needs of customers. Thus, Darn Tough’s meticulous journey in enhancing e-commerce customer experience involves a data-driven strategy. Kevin and his team employ a multifaceted approach, leveraging analytics tools, customer insights, and a commitment to personalisation, demonstrating their dedication to delivering seamless and tailored experiences for online shoppers. He elaborated on Darn Tough’s efforts towards e-commerce customer experience optimisation.

Source: Based on the interview with Kevin Dean
A Comprehensive Approach to Data and Analytics

At Darn Tough, the journey of optimising the e-commerce customer experience begins with a comprehensive approach to data and insights. Kevin and his team leverage a variety of tools, including Google Analytics, Shopify reporting platforms, and Monetate for AB testing. Further, the use of a Customer Data Platform (CDP) and Glassbox for heat mapping allows them to dive deep into customer behaviour, identifying potential areas of struggle and optimising for a seamless user experience.

Source: https://darntough.com/

Analytics play a pivotal role in Darn Tough’s continuous efforts to enhance the customer experience. They closely monitor conversion rates, analyse customer segments, and differentiate between new and returning customers.

Gathering Insights about User Experience

A critical aspect of Darn Tough’s e-commerce customer experience optimisation strategy involves gathering insights from various sources. Their customer service team serves as frontline observers, providing valuable feedback on customer issues and concerns. Complementing this, heat mapping tools offer a visual representation of user interactions on the website. For instance, understanding the engagement around product imagery on a page guides them in refining the presentation of crucial details.

Personalisation for User-centric Solutions

Kevin emphasised that at Darn Tough, their goal is not just to sell socks but to offer solutions aligned with what the customers are seeking. Hence, personalisation is key, and they explore lead-scoring elements to tailor experiences for potential customers, emphasising unique selling points like their lifetime product guarantee and the benefits of Merino wool.

Source: https://darntough.com/

Kevin further highlighted that while true one-to-one personalisation remains a goal, they’ve made strides in segmentation. Tailored experiences for new and returning customers, along with recommended products based on past purchases, are all part of their personalisation strategy. 

Testing different homepage experiences tied to customer preferences allows them to strike a balance between customisation and operational efficiency. As they continue to refine their approach, automation becomes integral in delivering meaningful experiences to a broader audience, Kevin stated.

Crafting Exceptional E-commerce Experiences 

With a customer-centric approach fuelled by data-driven insights and personalised experiences, e-commerce platforms can transform interactions into relationships paving the way for sustainable e-commerce success. Here is how you can craft exceptional e-commerce experiences.

Source: Massive Rocket Insights

Firstly, understand your audience. Analyse their journey, identifying pain points and delights. Is checkout a labyrinth or a breeze? Do product descriptions inform or bewilder? Use this data to craft a user-friendly interface, intuitive navigation, and search functions that anticipate needs.

Next, personalise the experience. Recommend products based on browsing history or past purchases. Offer targeted discounts and promotions, making customers feel valued and understood. 

Transparency is key. Provide clear pricing, accurate shipping timelines, and real-time order updates. Proactive communication, be it order confirmations or delay notifications, builds trust and reduces anxiety. Offer multiple communication channels – email, live chat, or social media – ensuring customers can reach you when they need it most.

Source: https://darntough.com/

Remember, the journey doesn’t end with a purchase. Delight customers with post-purchase interactions. Send personalised thank-you notes, request feedback, and offer relevant post-sale services like returns or warranty options. A seamless and supportive after-care process fosters repeat business and positive word-of-mouth.

Source: https://darntough.com/

About Darn Tough Vermont

Darn Tough Vermont is one of the fastest-growing American manufacturers of performance outdoor and lifestyle socks. Darn Tough socks are made in Vermont, America, by a family-owned company that has been in the hosiery business since 1978. They are only interested in making the best possible socks the world has to offer. Darn Tough are so confident in who they are and what they do they provide their socks with an unconditional lifetime guarantee.

Kevin’s Career Journey

Kevin’s career journey highlights his passion for e-commerce and the outdoor industry. Beginning in Bozeman, Montana, he managed the website for a local retail shop specialising in outdoor gear, laying the foundation for his expertise. His pivotal role at Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply in 2013 marked the launch of their e-commerce venture, where Kevin’s experience played a crucial role in managing a diverse range of products.  

Source: www.linkedin.com/in/kevinandrewdean/

Transitioning into consulting, he worked with prominent brands nationwide, including the Grand Ole Opry, Simms Fishing Products, and the National Outdoor Leadership School. Returning in-house, Kevin contributed to the growth of West Paw, a small pet brand in Bozeman before relocating to Vermont where he joined Darn Tough. 

At Darn Tough, a brand he has admired for years, Kevin applies his skills to enhance the customer experience and user interface. Leading a dynamic e-commerce experience team within the larger Omni Channel team, Kevin has been significantly contributing to Darn Tough’s massive growth in the last few years.

Final Thoughts 

Kevin advises marketers to prioritise simplicity and maintain a customer-first mentality to enhance the e-commerce customer experience. He emphasises the importance of identifying and eliminating friction points that customers may encounter and encourages finding ways to simplify processes to make the interactions easier for the customer. 

Key Takeaways

  • Optimising customer experience is crucial for e-commerce businesses as it directly impacts their bottom line and customer loyalty.
  • Three important aspects for optimising the e-commerce customer experience are data and analytics, insights about user experience, and personalisation. 
  • Understanding your audience, personalising the experience, transparent communication and post-purchase interactions are key to crafting exceptional e-commerce experiences.

How to get started? 

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Danielle Atkinson
Danielle Atkinson

Partner Manager Extensive experience in SaaS customer success, social media marketing, client development, retention and project delivery. Expertise: Project management - Account management - Strategic planning - Client relations & negotiations (B2C & B2B) - Collaborative working across multi functional teams.

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