eCommerce has been on the rise and the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down. By 2021, worldwide eCommerce sales are expected to reach $4.5 trillion (up from 1.3 trillion in 2014). As this business model continues to dominate the marketplace, online stores are striving to increase customer loyalty by offering excellent customer experience.
A seamless customer experience on your site allows customers to have a positive relationship with your brand, making it easy for them to find the information they’re looking for and make the purchase they want on the device that’s most convenient to them.
Here are some ways to provide a great customer experience with your eCommerce business:
Offer quality content regularly
eCommerce customers have different needs than brick and mortar ones. They are often primed with research and information collected from social media, blogs and websites. Therefore, it’s important that the content you’re posting elevates your brand’s reputation and improves your customers’ relationship with it:
- Know your visitors. Make sure that you understand the needs of your website’s visitors by collecting data on keyword searches and the posts that have the highest traffic. Continue evolving your blog with posts that can answer the questions of your shoppers.
- Publish regularly. Readers who follow your blogs need to be able to rely on regularity. By keeping a consistent posting schedule, you show professionalism and respect for your reader.
Use tools that help you personalize
Your eCommerce clients leave a virtual footprint when they sign up for a newsletter, make purchases, leave comments on your site and other forms of engagement with your online business. A CRM tool can help you track relevant customer data so that you can send more personalized and targeted marketing messages to your consumers.
Use a variety of messaging platforms
Just as businesses have moved from brick and mortar to online venues, marketing has moved from mailed advertisements and coupons to virtual offers via platforms such as email, social media and text. Each platform has its ideal scenario:
- Email is great for a longer newsletter introducing a new product or updating a client about their points or membership status.
- Social media is perfect for sending images and videos of products and engaging customers in contests.
- Text is perfect for advertising last minute sales, keeping them up to date on shipping status or zipping off a quick reminder of items still left in their cart.
Optimize your website
Shoppers need to be able to access your site seamlessly across all devices. That means that your site should be optimized for a wide variety of desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile devices. Today’s customer might do an initial search on desktop and then switch to mobile to make the purchase, or vice versa.
If the mobile experience is clumsy, slow-loading and difficult to navigate, count on losing that customer to a competitor with a mobile-friendly site. An ideal mobile experience:
- Loads quickly – No heavy images.
- Is shortened for the mobile screen – No endless scrolling to read text that was meant for a desktop.
- Provides forms that have the mobile user in mind – Simplified checkout and sign-up forms that allow autofill.
Today’s consumer prefers finding the answers themselves to asking a customer service representative. In fact, 40 percent of consumers say they prefer self-service to customer service. This is ideal for companies as well, as it cuts down on customer service costs and empowers the customer to make informed decisions. In order to provide customers with the ability to help themselves:
- Offer a well-developed FAQs page that is built from real customer questions and foresees potential problems when new products are released.
- Provide how-to videos. Sometimes people need to see an image in order to understand instructions so videos that show the steps clearly can provide solutions customers are looking for.
- Make sure your search field yields results customers can actually use. 63 percent of customers say they are annoyed with search fields in self-service portals.
Streamline your checkout
It’s important for customers to be able to get from search to purchase quickly and easily. Requiring them to fill out long forms, especially on a mobile device, will result in frustration and possibly cart abandonment. Make it easy to see how to “Add to Cart” for all products and make sure the “Checkout” or “Pay Now” button is prominent.
Cart contents should be clearly displayed so that customers can easily review their purchases. Shipping options should be shown in a separate column that makes it easy for the customer to choose.
Offer a variety of payment options
It’s not all about Visa and Mastercard anymore. These days there are so many ways for customers to pay so if you’re limiting them with payment options, you’re alienating some clients who prefer to have more options. In fact, 56 percent of consumers say they expect to be offered different payment options on ecommerce sites.
Paypal, mobile pay, e-wallets, prepaid cards, money transfers and even virtual currencies like Bitcoin are all ways to offer variety to your customers so they can pay in exactly the manner that suits them best. By providing them with choice, you’re showing them you care about their convenience and their business.
Offer multi-channel customer service
Consumers are used to being offered choice and customer service is no exception. Engaging customers through a variety of channels can enhance your ability to provide excellent customer service:
- Live chat. Live chat is an important customer service channel that can increase conversions and improve a customer’s experience with your brand.
- Social media. Social media can enhance your customer relationship but it’s important to respond in a timely manner: 42 percent of consumers expect a response within an hour.
- Text. Text doesn’t tie consumers to a computer or a phone line to solve their problem. They can just send off a message and go about their day while waiting for a response. 44 percent of consumers say they prefer text to other forms of customer service because it’s less time-consuming.
eCommerce businesses that engage customers with quality content, personalized marketing, a variety of messaging platforms, a thoughtful self-service and a variety of payment options can expect rave reviews about excellent customer experience. Have you implemented any of the tips mentioned above? Share your findings in comments!