Ecommerce Customer Experience: All you need to know (2021)
As an ecommerce website owner, are you satisfied with the ecommerce customer experience of your website?
Do you know if your customers are enjoying the shopping experience on your website? Are they able to find the products they want easily, and can they complete the checkout process quickly?
Here are our top tips on how you can provide the best ecommerce customer experience for your ecommerce business.
What is ecommerce customer experience?
Ecommerce customer experience is the way your customers perceive your brand based on their interactions with your ecommerce business throughout the customer lifecycle. It includes their interactions with your business before and after the purchase, and even on your social media channels.
A great ecommerce customer experience is one that is able to understand and fulfill the online needs of customers. This means that you will need to pay attention to every possible interaction you may have with them; from the start to the end of the customer journey.
Why does ecommerce customer experience matter?
It was found that 74% of consumers are very likely to buy from a company based entirely on their experience; regardless of the price or product (Forbes Insight/Arm Treasure Data). In addition, 77% of them considered a company’s customer experience to be equally important to the quality of the product.
This means that on top of having products that would meet customers’ needs, it is also equally important for ecommerce business owners to create positive ecommerce customer experiences to complement their product offerings.
In addition, a satisfied customer can become a strong advocate for your brand. They are more likely to have brand loyalty, recommend your business to others through word of mouth, and be willing to spend more with your brand.
Thus, it is essential for business owners to understand the importance of customer experience in ecommerce, as a single negative interaction with your brand can drive your customers away. With this in mind, let us explore the ways to improve your ecommerce site’s customer experience.
Top 10 tips to improve ecommerce customer experience
1. Be up-to-date with your customers’ needs and wants
As more businesses expand their operations online, consumers now have a wider variety of options available to them across many different platforms. On top of this, consumers’ tastes and preferences also change along with what is trending at the moment. Hence, it is necessary for ecommerce business owners around the world to adapt and adjust accordingly to match their customers’ needs and wants.
Here are some ways you can work towards understanding your customers and increasing your customer retention:
- Pay attention to changes in metrics from your marketing tools i.e. bounce rates, page views, conversion rates, response to ads. (Google Analytics, Facebook Ads Manager) For example, you may notice products from a particular product category have lower conversion rates recently. Dig deeper into this observation. Is there a “newer” product type that is gaining popularity lately, resulting in your “older” products not selling as well?
- Encourage your customers to leave reviews. Product reviews allow your customers to point out what they like or do not like about your products. These are valuable insights you can use to improve on your product offerings.
- Monitor your customer satisfaction level. This can be done through regular surveys about a specific product or service.
- Monitor your net promoter score (NPS). The score is calculated by asking customers to rate, on a scale of 0 to 10, how likely they are to recommend your business to others. The NPS differs from the customer satisfaction score in that it measures how satisfied your customers are in their ongoing relationship with your business, as opposed to their experience with a particular product or service.
2. Maintain a fast loading site
Consumers nowadays tend to drop from your site if they have to wait for more than two seconds for a webpage to load. If your webpage is experiencing an unusually long load time compared to other sites, it means your site is not optimized for speed.
Regularly check that your website has a healthy load time on both desktop and mobile devices. Here are some best practices that can be taken to improve the speed of your site:
- Enable browser caching – this allows you to temporarily store some data on a visitor’s computer to reduce loading time.
- Optimize images
- Scale images – use image editing tools to scale down images of excessively large sizes to fit your page.
- Format – use JPEG as far as possible; followed by PNG, and GIFs for simple graphics. Avoid BMP and TIFF format.
- Enable compression – this reduces the bandwidth of your pages and allows your web server to provide smaller file sizes, thus providing a faster loading time.
3. Enhance your product pages
Your product pages are essentially your salespersons. As your customers navigate through your ecommerce site, your product pages should be able to equip them with sufficient knowledge about your products for them to make purchasing decisions confidently.
Besides product images and price information, some customers may want to know indepth specifications as well. This is where you can take action to include the following:
- Attractive and interesting descriptions of their products to capture your customers’ attention.
- Product specific details such as color, dimensions, material, and weight to assist with their decision making and for product comparisons.
- Product categorization and filtering to make products easy to find and user friendly.
4. Create a structured content strategy with informational articles
Rather than focusing entirely on selling products, having content to educate consumers on your industry or niche is a good way to expand your reach. In addition, having quality content is also a way for your business to showcase its expertise and knowledge in the industry. This will help to build the trust your readers have in your brand.
An example of an ecommerce store that implements this would be Vinebox and Press.
Vinebox is an online store that sells monthly subscriptions to taste different wines each month. They write blog posts to educate their customers in detail about the world of wine.
Press, on the other hand, sells cold-pressed juices for body cleansing. They went a step further to create an online publication called “Squeeze Magazine” to discuss healthy living and wellness.
The result of such effort allowed for more potential customers to reach their site via inbound marketing and helped them to build a community around their brand. It also helped them to gain trust from their customers and many of them return to their site for more useful content and purchases.
Here are some quick pointers to help you with your site’s content strategy:
- Ensure that every single piece of content you write about has a clear connection to the product/service you are offering. This can later be analysed to see how effective your content strategy is. You can also consider sharing about a particular theme or topic every month.
- Maintain a regular publishing calendar. Plan a content schedule in advance so you can share about a particular theme or topic each month, as suggested previously. This also allows you to sync your ecommerce promotions and discounts with the content you are publishing.
- Measure search volume. This helps you to affirm that there will be people who want to read the content you will be writing. Each of your blog posts should target several keywords that your readers would search for in a search engine. These keywords should then be included in your article for it to have a greater chance of being shown in the search engine’s results page.
5. Pay attention to the emails you are sending
If you are running an ecommerce store, chances are you are also regularly sending emails to your customers and subscribers. Given that email marketing is heavily used in many aspects of an ecommerce business, from advertising, subscription, post purchase to customer support emails, it is crucial that you are able to bring across your message to your customers clearly and effectively.
In most cases, lengthy text or overly fanciful emails may cause aversion among your recipients. Likewise, cheeky marketing messages may be interpreted negatively by some of your audience. These could lead to a poor impression of your brand and unsubscriptions from your marketing channel.
Here are some points to help you in your email marketing:
- Maintain simple, concise emails with a single call-to-action. This makes it easy for the recipients to understand the purpose of each email they receive.
- Measure your email open rates. This is to monitor if your email marketing is working as expected and allows you to optimize for better performing emails.
- Send personalized emails. For example, addressing your recipients by their name gives them a personalized experience which also encourages them to continue reading your emails.
6. Engage through social media
Building a brand community through social media is also another way of customer experience management. Create accounts across the various social media platforms for your ecommerce business. This allows social media users to interact with your brand even when they do not visit your website.
In addition, you can also place links to your products and services on some social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. This will help to increase your brand’s reach.
7. Streamline your checkout process
This is one of the most important aspects in any ecommerce website. In many of our other ecommerce articles, we have stressed the importance of streamlining the checkout process. This is because an optimized checkout process can help to reduce your site’s shopping cart abandonment rate.
To make it easy and enjoyable for your customers to make a purchase from your site, here are some quick tips you can follow:
- Consider having a simple 4-step purchase process i.e. product search, add to cart, check out and choose the suitable payment option. Zalora is one of the ecommerce stores that follows this streamlined method.
- Avoid having your customers provide the same information twice. For example, give your customers an easy option to check a box if their billing and shipping addresses are the same.
- Offer a guest checkout option. This is ideal for new customers who do not wish to sign up as a member of your store yet.
8. Pay attention to packaging and shipping
A customer’s experience with your brand does not stop after making a purchase. This is why you will also need to pay attention to how your products are packaged and shipped to your customers.
Make sure that your products are packed in a way that can withstand possible rough handling while in transit. You would not want to disappoint your customers by having them receive damaged goods due to sloppy packaging.
Likewise, select a shipping company that can deliver your products efficiently and reliably. Delay in or loss of product shipments is also another quick way to lose your customers. In addition, providing free shipping for your customers is also a way to encourage them to make a purchase.
9. Provide prompt customer support
Providing efficient and prompt customer support for both pre and post purchase is an important factor to how your customers perceive your brand. A bad customer experience can leave them writing terrible reviews on your site and break the customer loyalty that they have once given you.
To build a strong customer support framework, you can consider these suggestions:
- Hire and train a customer service team with a passion for providing good customer service.
- Set up an efficient customer support software and system. For example, you can integrate a live chat on your ecommerce website to address customer enquiries in real time.
- Take the initiative to reach out to your customers some time after their purchase to see if they have any issues.
By delivering timely assistance, you can make your customers feel prioritized and that the business genuinely cares for its customers. This is extremely crucial to increasing your customer retention rate.
10. Set up a referral program
With a referral program, you can incentivize your current customers to refer new people to your business through word of mouth. For instance, when a new customer makes a purchase, you can reward both the new customer and the referrer with discounts or store credits. This is one the best ways to expand your pool of customers.
However, for this to work, it is important that all the above pointers are met first so that your ecommerce business has a strong foundation and system in place to provide a great customer experience.
Ecommerce customer experience vs. Ecommerce customer service
There is often a misconception with what customer experience and customer service entails in ecommerce.
To clarify, ecommerce customer experience is the way your customers perceive your brand based on their interactions with your business throughout the customer lifecycle. It includes all their interactions with your business, both before and after the purchase.
On the other hand, ecommerce customer service is the way your business provides assistance to customers. This also covers both before and after the purchase, from assisting with product enquiries to resolving order issues.
A good ecommerce customer experience strategy can enhance your brand massively and create sustained relationships with your customers.
With the right engagement tools and changes that you implement to your ecommerce site, your business can excel further in the continuously evolving ecommerce world.
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Talk to our digital strategists if you need additional guidance to provide a better customer experience with your ecommerce site.