If you own an eCommerce business, you'd readily agree that it takes more than a killer product to succeed in today's world.
This is not to dismiss the importance of a killer product as it contributes to the future of a business. Still, emerging trends indicate that product quality is not enough to attract, engage and retain new customers. The secret ingredient of a successful online shop is the customer experience it delivers.
Customers today have high expectations of the businesses they patronize, and companies that fail to deliver an experience that meets or surpasses these expectations will struggle. At the same time, those who do will reap the benefits of increased sales and higher revenue.
In this guide, you will learn:
What eCommerce customer experience really is
The benefits of delivering an excellent eCommerce customer experience
How to improve your eCommerce Customer service experience
Let's get started.
What is eCommerce Customer Experience?
The term eCommerce Customer Experience refers to a customer's perception of a business before, during, and after visiting the online store. It is the sum total of every engagement, thought, or feelings that a customer perceives about a company.
Let's say you heard about a brand with quality yet affordable products, and you decided to go see for yourself. You walk into the building, where you're greeted by a friendly salesperson who is willing to help you find the products you need. The sales staff takes your budget into account and provides you with relevant information so you can make the right pick. Finally, you purchase the product and leave the store feeling happy about the overall experience.
The above captures the idea of what customer experience is all about. It encompasses what your customers think and feels about your business. It refers to what comes to their mind and how they feel immediately they hear of your brand to the moment they actively stop doing business with your brand.
From the above, it is apparent that eCommerce Customer Experience is made up of 3 components that every business owner needs to be aware of.
1. Pre-purchase experience
This experience relates to before the customer ever makes a purchase. It is how a customer feels about a brand right from the first time they hear about it until they make up their mind to purchase the products. Thus, shaping a customer's pre-purchase experience should touch on what the brand has to offer, what makes the brand stand out, and reviews of existing customers.
2. Shopping and purchasing experience
If a customer is happy with the pre-purchase experience, it's likely that they will move to shopping and making purchases. At this point, the customer's perception will be shaped by a number of factors, including ease of making purchases, availability of vital information like product specs, brand policies, etc. Customers expect that the shopping and purchasing process should be free of hassles.
3. Post-purchase experience
Contrary to what many people think, there is still work to do when a customer makes a purchase. If the customer is unhappy with the product, they may switch to a competitor, but a happy customer is likely to become a loyal customer. Thus, shaping a customer's experience post-purchase refers to soliciting feedback, exploring ways of adding value, and regularly delivering updates, among other things.
Why is eCommerce Customer Experience Important?
An excellent eCommerce Customer Experience can be beneficial in several ways. Some of the key advantages include:
1. Increase in number of customers
Every year, eCommerce businesses allocate considerable sums to advertising but improving your eCommerce Customer Experience is a free marketing strategy that works. Ensuring your customers are satisfied with the experience you deliver increases the likelihood of telling others about your business. Thanks to technology, their positive review of your company will be read by thousands of potential consumers - all at zero cost.
2. More engagements
The better your eCommerce Customer Experience, the more motivated customers will be to engage your business when customers encounter difficulty while shopping, a significant number abandon their purchase and switch to a competitor with a better experience. With a great experience in place, customers will use your online platforms more frequently to make purchases with minimal friction.
3. Brand loyalty
Any business leader knows that customers are hard to win but easy to lose. What's more, the availability of competitors makes it easy for dissatisfied customers to switch. On the other hand, an improved eCommerce Customer Service Experience helps to retain your customers, so they keep coming back. In the long run, the costs that go into an extraordinary experience typically come back many times over in sales.
4. Increased revenue
When customers are happy with the experience your eCommerce business offers, they are likely to make more purchases, which translates to increased revenue. Plus, the rising number of new customers also helps to drive sales, leading to more income for the business.
How to improve eCommerce Customer Service Experience
Having highlighted the importance of a great eCommerce customer experience, you're probably wondering what you can do to elevate the experience your business offers. Here are some tips to help.
1. User-friendly design (Optimize for mobile)
One of the most important things you can do to improve your eCommerce customer experience is to adopt a mobile-first strategy. Having a website that's adapted for mobile devices is no longer an option, as many online users today visit websites from their smartphones.
A user-friendly website design makes it easy for customers to navigate your website even if they're using their mobile devices. Companies that fail to optimize their site for mobile may experience a loss of customers and revenue.
2. Simple checkout (Quick purchase, without registration)
Many eCommerce sites perform well in different areas except in their checkout process. A complicated checkout process can result in abandoned shopping carts.
One way to avoid this is to have multiple payment options, so your customers pick what they prefer. Also, it helps to eliminate the need for registration so users can simply provide the details that are needed for the transaction.
3. Personalized experiences (Email reward and loyalty points)
Customers want to know that your business sees them as individuals and not numbers. An excellent way to do this is to deliver personalized promotions such as email rewards and loyalty points to individuals based on their actions and circumstances.
4. Enrich content (Educational content, reviews)
The saying 'Content is king' still rings true today. You can use both as a customer acquisition tool and as a resource to provide expert advice on a topic.
Your content should be relevant and help them solve their biggest problems. That way, they will feel confident about making purchases, and they will keep returning to your site for more content. The content could either be educational or an in-depth review of products from an expert perspective.
The eCommerce customer experience influences customers more than expensive campaigns in many ways. So this is the time to invest in it, and businesses that do will enjoy the benefits.
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