In the ecommerce industry, the shopping experience is just as important as the products themselves. Successful ecommerce stores offer high-quality goods, but they also make the experience of browsing and purchasing items easy and enjoyable.
If you run an ecommerce business, it’s beneficial to understand what ecommerce customers want when it comes to their experience with your store. In addition, it’s important that you know what you can do to make the purchasing process better for your visitors.
What is ecommerce customer experience?
Customer experience is the interaction between the shopper and your business. In the ecommerce industry, this starts when the shopper discovers your online store.
Browsing your product listings, adding items to the cart, and checking out are all part of it as well. Follow-up communications after the sale can also play a role in somebody’s overall impression of your company.
Although customer experience is all about the shopper’s interaction with the retailer, it’s not a passive process for the business. Online commerce stores need to play an active role in engaging and communicating with people when they shop.
Successful ecommerce businesses use carefully crafted strategies to improve this aspect so that visitors come back for future purchases.
What is customer experience management?
Customer experience management is the act of planning and designing customer interactions with your website. It involves a combination of web design, marketing, and personalized communication with shoppers.
A strong management strategy in this area enhances the entire purchasing journey for customers in digital commerce and ecommerce alike. There are plenty of specific, measurable techniques you can use to ameliorate this from beginning to end.
Like all components of web design and online marketing, this is a long-term strategy that takes time and dedication. However, the results are well worth it!
Why is providing a positive customer experience important in ecommerce?
Offering a great customer experience is a great way for your business to gain a loyal customer base and is one of the top ecommerce tips for achieving success.
Many entrepreneurs focus all of their efforts on attracting new customers, but they forget to encourage existing purchasers to come back. Loyal, returning buyers spend more money on average than first-time buyers.
With future ecommerce likely to become increasingly competitive, repeat purchasers are valuable, and customer experience is the most reliable way to encourage loyalty.
Shoppers visiting brick-and-mortar businesses have to physically walk out and travel to another store if they want to shop elsewhere. In contrast, with online purchasing, it’s very easy to leave one shop and find another. All you have to do is close the tab and conduct another Google search!
For this reason, the customer experience you provide has to be above and beyond that of the competition to keep visitors on the page.
Doing well in this area can promote word-of-mouth advertising, too. Most consumers trust recommendations from friends and family above everything else.
Ways to create an excellent ecommerce customer experience
Fortunately, you don’t have to leave customer experience up to chance. There are dozens of tried-and-true strategies that can make shopping better for your visitors. Here are 13 great tips for ensuring that people enjoy making purchases from your store!
1. Make your website easy to navigate
Online shopping is all about convenience. Consumers like browsing items from home and saving time by avoiding travel.
If your site is difficult to navigate, the experience is no longer fast or convenient. To keep your customers happy, everything should be clear and intuitive.
You may want to include a site menu either across the top of the page or on the left side of the page. On your menu, visitors should be able to locate your “About” page, “Contact” page, and product pages.
Don’t overwhelm your main menu with too many categories, though. Use a system of subcategories that helps visitors navigate from more general to more specific pages.
2. Communicate your value proposition clearly
Your value proposition is what specifically you offer to your customers. What problem does your product fix?
How does the product enhance buyers’ lives? Why do they want or need the product?
Visitors don’t want to waste precious minutes trying to figure out what your website is all about. To ensure that people have a good experience with your business, communicate your value proposition clearly.
This will help visitors decide right away whether or not they’re interested.
3. Ensure that products are easy to locate
Efficiency is key for most online businesses. The easier it is for the shopper to complete every step of the process, the happier they’ll be with your shop.
Some online shoppers like to browse websites without a particular product in mind. However, most have at least a general idea of what they’re looking for when they visit an online retailer.
Your store should have a clear organizational system that allows visitors to immediately navigate to the right page.
Categorization and filtering are the two best ways to help customers find what they want. Your site should have a few broad categories with subcategories that become more specific.
Then, when the shopper selects one of these categories or subcategories, they should be able to filter the products by price, brand, color, or other important descriptors.
A search bar is also critical for any ecommerce store. If a site visitor knows exactly what they’re interested in, they can navigate to the product right away simply by typing in the keyword.
4. Create product pages with compelling content
Building your product pages and writing product descriptions can be difficult. The shopper relies on your description of the item since they can’t see it in person. For this reason, the photos and write-up need to be detailed, accurate, and helpful.
However, you also don’t want to overwhelm the shopper with information. As you craft the product pages, keep your customers in mind. Identify the key pieces of data that should interest them.
Break up the content into short paragraphs and bulleted lists to make it easy to scan. Read the page while imagining it’s the first time you’ve heard the information.
5. Offer customers personalization
Your online commerce business should have a target demographic, but no two customers are exactly the same. Personalization is a highly effective way to make the customer experience better for everyone.
You can start by personalizing your emails and addressing your customers by name. Email segmentation is also an excellent way to personalize your communication.
What’s more, you can break your email list up into smaller categories based on demographic data, purchase history, or other key factors.
Then, you can send targeted emails to each group on your list. Everyone will receive information that’s highly interesting to them, and they won’t get annoyed by irrelevant or unhelpful messages.
You can take personalization a step farther by using machine-learning technology. This enables you to offer product recommendations based on the shopper’s browsing history.
There are many well-made programs available that accomplish this, and the technology is always evolving and improving. By personalizing your product recommendations, you make the buying experience more engaging and enjoyable for each of your customers.
6. Add informative content to your blog
While the products are the main focus for any ecommerce venture, a blog can be an excellent addition to your site. You can use your blog to keep people updated on new goods, sales, or promotional events.
Your blog can also be a fantastic educational resource for your shoppers. Establish yourself as a leader in your industry by writing helpful, interesting content on the topics you’re passionate about.
Your customers will become more informed shoppers by reading your content, and they’ll appreciate the new knowledge.
Try to stick to a regular schedule with your blog, such as by uploading one or two posts a week. Share your posts on your social platforms to attract a wider audience.
7. Make sure that your site is mobile responsive
If your website isn’t already optimized for mobile users, it’s advantageous to correct that as your very first step toward improving customer experience.
Mobile browsing is now more popular than desktop browsing, and mobile shopping may likely soon overtake making purchases on desktops.
Traditional desktop sites can be slow and difficult to navigate on mobile devices. To ensure that everyone has a positive experience, be sure to use a responsive web design. This adjusts your website layout based on the size of the screen, so no one’s missing out on any information.
I’ve got some good news for you if you’re using the WiziShop ecommerce platform, though: your site will automatically be created in a mobile-responsive format!
8. Provide a simple checkout process
Many online retailers don’t consider the checkout process to be an important part of the buying experience. They think that when a visitor gets to this stage, they’re already committed to buying the product.
This isn’t always the case, though. A long or complicated checkout process can hurt the overall shopping journey and turn visitors away at the last minute.
Customers should be able to view their cart and navigate to the checkout from any page on your website. Your store should permit purchasers to check out as guests for added convenience.
In addition, allow as many payment options as possible. If your shoppers can use their ideal method of payment, they’ll be much more likely to return to your shop.
9. Offer free shipping
Free shipping isn’t always financially possible for small businesses. However, any opportunity you take to offer free or discounted shipping will make visitors view your shop more positively.
You could provide free shipping for purchases over a certain dollar amount or for first-time customers. You could also send out occasional free shipping coupons to people on your email list.
Some retailers build shipping costs into the price of the item. Although shoppers don’t really save money this way, many people would rather pay more for a product and get free shipping than pay for shipping.
10. Ship products quickly
The customer experience doesn’t end when the shopper pays for the item. The time it takes for them to receive their order can have a big impact on their satisfaction with your company.
Major online retailers like Amazon have set a precedent for fast shipping. Most purchasers expect to receive a product within a week of purchasing it, so shipping quickly should be one of your priorities.
Try to send out the order as soon as possible after the purchase. However, don’t sacrifice the quality of the packaging. The items should still be neatly and safely packed inside the box.
11. Provide efficient and effective customer assistance
Timeliness is a major factor in the purchasing journey. Your customers should have a reliable way of contacting you, whether it’s through email, social media, or a chat box. Check your channels of communication as often as possible to prevent having customers wait a long time to get a response.
Automated help chatbots are a terrific resource. Visitors can get immediate assistance at all hours, which is definitely a benefit when they’re stressed and seeking answers.
A chatbot may not be able to answer every question, but it can be a positive step toward streamlining communication.
12. Send post-purchase emails
Customers don’t want to be kept in the dark after they’ve paid for their order. Immediately after their purchase, send a confirmation email. Then, when the item ships, send another follow-up with the tracking information and estimated delivery date.
Your customers will also appreciate an email a week or two after the order is delivered asking them if they’re satisfied with the products. You could send a survey or a link to your social network profiles for them to get in touch if they have any questions or concerns.
13. Ask for customer feedback and display reviews
Let your customers know that you care about their experience and that you’re always willing to listen to feedback. Their input provides valuable ideas for ways to enhance your shop. No one knows your customers like themselves, so you should take their feedback to heart.
Asking for feedback can improve your brand image and trustworthiness, too. Consumers like to know that the stores they buy from care about their input.
Respond to both positive and negative feedback to thank your customers for their suggestions. It can be hard not to feel defensive when receiving a negative review, but try to avoid disagreeing or arguing with the customer.
Display reviews and testimonials on your site to be transparent. You can include reviews of specific items on your product pages as well as general reviews of your business.
Most people like to read reviews before buying a product, so readily displaying them can make your brand more compelling.
How can you measure customer experience?
Any marketing or design campaign should have measurable results. If you can’t measure the impact of your strategy, you can’t know whether or not your efforts were successful.
In some ways, customer experience is subjective. All consumers are different, so you can never be sure how a particular person will respond to your website. However, you can measure trends in your store’s performance to evaluate and adjust your strategy.
Here are five of the best metrics for measuring customer experience.
Net Promoter Score
Your Net Promoter Score (NPS) is the percentage of shoppers who say that they’re likely to recommend your business to a friend. This is a simple, numerical way of evaluating your customer experience and how it changes over time.
To calculate your NPS, you can ask buyers to rate their likelihood of recommending your business on a scale of 0 to 10. Then, subtract the percentage of customers who gave a rating of 0 to 6 from the percentage of those who gave a rating of 9 or 10.
You can calculate your repeat customer rate by dividing the number of repeat shoppers by the number of total shoppers.
Visitors who have a great experience are more likely to come back. If you see this rate increase over time, it’s a strong indicator that your efforts are working!
Referrals are one of the best ways to measure shoppers’ satisfaction. While the NPS measures how likely people are to refer friends to your shop, you can also measure real-life referrals.
You could ask new customers how they heard about your company while they check out, or you could offer a discount to customers who use a referral code.
However you choose to track referrals, make sure to keep your system consistent. This way, you can be sure that you’re accurately measuring the change in referrals over time.
Opinions on social media
Many people aren’t afraid to speak their mind on social media. Reading reviews or tagged posts can be a helpful way to see how customers feel about your ecommerce business.
Look for patterns or repeated ideas in social network posts about your store. If multiple people have the same concern, it’s probably worth looking into.
Responses to customer support emails
Email is an opportunity to interact directly with individual customers. You could send out a survey a couple weeks after the purchase to get feedback from the shopper about their experience.
It’s especially common for businesses to offer a survey after a shopper reaches out for assistance. Like with social media posts, look for common themes throughout the responses to see what you’re doing well and what you could revise.
Customer experience is an incredibly important factor in ecommerce success. Even if you offer amazing products, most shoppers are only going to return for future purchases or refer friends if they had an easy time completing the transaction.
When you build and evaluate your website, look at it from the perspective of a potential customer. Think about why they’re visiting your site, what they want to see, and how they would interact with the page.
Do everything possible to make the entire experience simple and convenient from beginning to end. When you prioritize this, your shoppers will be happy to return!