Why do we shop online? Convenience.
Let’s take the example of Amazon. For the convenience of its users, it does a lot of things – personalized product suggestions, discounts, tons of brands, 2-hour shipping, easy return policy, and so much more.
If buying stuff from Amazon wasn’t as easy as it is today, would it have become the biggest E-commerce website in the world? Probably not.
So, what do you get if you summarize all of it? To put it simply – e-commerce customer experience.
But, the question is, is it worth investing your business’ time and money on improving your customers’ experience if the sales are totally fine? Yes. Here’s why.
Why Does E-commerce Customer Experience Matter?
Customer experience can be simply defined as a quality relationship between the business and the customer. There are multiple studies to prove its benefits and importance.
For instance, a report by Oracle on customer relations shows that 86 % of customers are willing to pay more for a better experience, and 89 % are willing to move to the competitor due to poor customer experience.
Another survey by HubSpot shows that 80 % of the respondents said they’d stopped doing business with a company because of poor E-Commerce customer experience.
Those numbers are too big to be ignored. Still, if you don’t find the data compelling enough, let’s talk common sense.
1. Retention And Loyalty
Happy customers are recurring customers.
Every business takes care of the basics. What sets apart a company from the other is how good they treat their customers. If you make sure that your customers are happy, they are likely to stick to your brand instead of looking for an alternative. After all, an exceptional experience is what creates brand loyalty.
Moreover, retaining existing customers is more economical than acquiring new ones.
2. Free Promotion
According to research by thinkJar, 13% of consumers share their unhappy experiences with at least 15 people. On the other hand, 72% of consumers will share a positive experience with 6 or more people.
People like to share information. If we are unhappy, we complain. If we are happy, we praise. By keeping your customers happy, you are indirectly advertising your brand for free; and, in turn, acquiring potential new customers. It’s simple, isn’t it?
Now, the question is how to keep your e-commerce customers happy? Here’s the answer.
Tips For Improving E-commerce Customer Experience
1. User-friendly Website Structure
It’s 2020, and our attention span has taken a serious hit. If things take too long, we’ll probably give up and look for a better alternative. The same holds for shopping online. If your e-commerce store isn’t user friendly, you lose customers.
By user-friendly, I mean a website that loads quickly, is easy to navigate, and puts your products forward without cluttering up the screen with unnecessary information. Your products must be appropriately categorized and should be accessible in just a few clicks.
You can also make use of proper filters and a visible search bar to make the overall process of finding products easier.
There are a lot of e-commerce stores that follow this strategy. One of my favorite examples is Nordstrom. What I like about their website is that there’s so much information there, and yet everything is so neatly organized that you just don’t feel cluttered.
2. Optimize Your Store For Mobile
It’s a fact that mobile searches are taking over desktop searches.
Did you know that, according to Adobe, during Cyber Monday 2019, more than half of the online shopping searches came from mobile devices, and sales via mobile alone accounted for $2 billion?
People are constantly using smartphones; now more than ever. That’s why the responsiveness of a website is extremely important. Make sure the website looks and functions appropriately on smartphones.
If your e-commerce store isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you’re losing a lot of potential customers.
3. Create Gripping Product Pages
How you design your product pages can make or break your e-commerce store. After all, this is where the visitors decide whether or not they like your product.
Make sure that every product page has a compelling description, multiple high-quality images, tutorials on how to use the product (if required), prices, etc.
Add reviews and testimonials from other buyers and tell a story about the product. If you feel like you don’t have the necessary skills, take the help of professional copywriters.
Once the user is done reading the information, they must be enticed to buy the product. If your page isn’t able to convert visitors into customers, you need to redesign it.
Product pages by Away are a perfect example of how to provide all the necessary information to consumers before making a purchase. They use short and crisp descriptions, high-quality images, personalized suggestions, a dedicated section on why you need their product, and honest reviews by real people.
Get my point? People don’t want to spend money; you have to make them buy your product by showing how it will benefit them.
4. Effective Customer Support
Providing your customer with effective support is a no brainer. People sometimes want to know more about the product before making a purchase. Or, they want to complain about a faulty product. Whatever the reason may be, you can help them if there’s a way your customers can communicate with you in real-time.
Going above and beyond in helping them will only improve your brand’s goodwill; if not, they might bad mouth you among their friends.
Businesses shouldn’t try cost-cutting when it comes to customer service.
Take advantage of live chats, use chatbots, or create a consumer forum. The point is, if you can’t answer their questions, people will start looking for better options.
5. Streamline The Checkout Process
Another simple thing you can do to improve your e-commerce customer experience is to keep your checkout process simple.
According to Splitit, 87% of online shoppers will abandon their cart if the checkout process is lengthy or complicated.
For starters, the cart should be accessible from every page. Next, make sure to provide multiple secure payment methods – debit card, credit card, net banking, PayPal, etc.
You don’t want the customers to reach the final step of making a purchase, only to find that you don’t support their desired payment option. That’s only going to lead them to abandon the cart and move on.
Guest checkout is another essential feature that you must provide. It simply means letting the customers place the order without the need to create an account and store all their information (username, email, payment credentials, etc.) on your website.
Once they are done making the purchase, you can entice them for creating an account by providing compelling reasons like quick checkouts and promotional emails.
6. Post-purchase Engagement
Your responsibility as a brand is not limited to ensuring sales. It entails much more than that.
After the sale, communicate with your customers. If they have any queries, solve them. Accidentally sent a defective product? Offer a hassle-free replacement.
Offer fast shipping. Ask them to write reviews. Engage with them on social media. Include feedback surveys or email them asking for feedback after the purchase. Send them thank-you notes.
If possible, reward them for being loyal to your brand by offering discount codes or free goodies from time to time. Some brands even go one step further and ask their customers for feedback on regular intervals.
All these little things can lead to tons of free advertising via word-of-mouth.
7. Take Advantage of the Internet
Everyone’s on social media these days. That’s why you should be too.
People love sharing their opinions about stuff (like your product), and multiple social media platforms have given them the option to be heard.
Facebook and Twitter are great for real-time communication. Instagram is the preferred choice for showcasing your product as well as the brand. And, on YouTube, you can share information, tutorials, and get personal with the help of videos.
By strategizing your social media game, you can create invaluable social proof. Which, in turn, builds trust for the brand.
With the help of social media, you can build a loyal community and engage with them. Moreover, you can tell the stories that make your brand unique.
And, you are not limited to only social media. Find out the websites and forums (like Reddit) where your target audience likes to hang out. Talk to them, discuss their problem, and offer them solutions in the form of your product.
You can also contact multiple influencers as well as review websites that write in-depth guides to promote your products to their reader base.
8. Produce High-Quality Content
It is something that not enough e-commerce stores take advantage of – blogs.
One of the easiest ways to bring people to your website is by regularly posting high-quality informational content.
It could be anything as long as it’s relevant to your product and niche.
Let’s say you sell T-shirts. Now, there are only limited ways you can bring traffic to your product pages. But, if you have lots of informative blogs on your website, you can easily redirect the readers to your product pages without much effort.
Adding a blog to your e-commerce store is one of the best (and cheap) marketing investments you can make, and, sooner or later, it will bring in positive results.
As far as ideas for content goes, there are no limits. You can talk about the types of t-shirts, the best t-shirts for different weathers, etc. Moreover, you’re not limited to t-shirts only; you can easily talk about fashion as well.
Lastly, if you find maintaining and running a blog troublesome, you can always hire content writers or content marketers for a fee to do the job.
Wrapping Things Up
As more and more people are buying stuff on the internet, providing exceptional e-commerce customer support should be a priority for any business. We discussed how you could do so, but this is not a definitive list in any way. There’s so much more you can learn on the internet.
Read blogs, talk to other businesses, get creative with your approach, and apply your learnings in the best possible way. In a time when multiple markets have hit a saturation point, products and prices don’t drive customers; how you treat them does. E-Commerce customer experience is going to be the key differentiator (if it isn’t already) while picking one brand over the other for the buyers.
Sushil Sharma is a budding digital marketer with a focus on content marketing, SEO, and Conversion Rate Optimization.