Let me start by narrating my best experience as a customer, to walk you through, practically, what we mean by the term ‘customer experience’.
Right in the middle of a heated afternoon in India, I walked into a small apparel store as a tourist, to collect a fancy traditional outfit for my wardrobe. Immediately, I was greeted with a glass of cool lemonade and an inquiry into what I was looking for.
Then began a display of clothing littered with extensive details of the product, the utility of it, the material used, and which movie star dressed in a similar outfit recently. The store owner made it a point to establish a personal connection with me, relating his own experiences and showing me products similar to the ones I showed a preference for.
He encouraged me to try on outfits, and somehow, I ended up selecting more products than planned. What’s more– when a product was slightly too large, he assured that he could have it fitted to my size and delivered to my hotel room.
When I revealed that I only carried my card, he was quick to adapt his checkout process to it.
Now, this is the experience that we, as eCommerce store owners have to translate to online businesses.
Sure, lemonade and personal anecdotes are a stretch when we consider eCommerce customer experiences, but with glitchy checkout processes, lack of customer support and absence of personalized experiences:
Make it easy for the customer to love your brand!
The customer experience is the sum of all interactions your brand has with customers: what you’re aiming for is to enhance the customer’s perception of your brand. Managing your eCommerce experience involves meeting and exceeding the customer’s expectations of your company.
But wait, why does eCommerce customer experience matter so much? Boom, here are some statistics to astound you.
CX leaders show up to 17% average revenue growth, while poor CX only leads to 3% – a substantial difference.
Customer loyalty soars if customers have a flawless time with your store: and we do NOT need a reminder about those pesky customer acquisition costs.
Ranked industry-wise, retail is one of the bottom three when it comes to customer satisfaction and let me tell you: Satisfied customers contribute 17X times more to your profits than dissatisfied customers.
If your eCommerce website needs to excel in any one field, it has to be CX.
Not sure how? We’ve compiled a list of tiny things you can do to utilize this secret weapon–we assure you every customer will recognize it and appreciate it.
1. Your store design
Any eCommerce experience starts with the design of your store. No, we do not mean Calvin Klein-level photoshoots are necessary for your customers to love your brand.
We mean clean, easy to navigate, fun design. I have seen enough retail stores online with hundreds of products just listed randomly on a page to know that we’re not giving it our best.
Okay, Amazon may not be the most dazzling website of all. But is it easy to understand? Yes.
Would my 85 year old grandpa be able to order products off Amazon? Yes. Would a Friday night tipsy person know how to? Also yes.
There are filters available so that I can narrow down products to exactly the one that fits my needs– whether it is a peach Eureka brand $24 vacuum cleaner or $200 Alexa compatible one from a specific supplier selling on Amazon.
Here are some parts of your store that you can optimize for online sales:
A) The Nav bar
People want to be able to head right to the store, without unnecessary social media icons and crowding on the navigation bar. Create categories for your products and have a neat drop-down menu that takes the customer where they want to go. No fuss, no mindless wandering.
We quite love how Won Hundred, the fashion brand has their navigation bar designed:
B) The product page
Probably the most important page for potential customers. If you are selling online and your product page is not organized properly, it’s going to be a disaster!
List the right information in plain, grammatically correct language, with enough to intrigue your customer.
Selling on eCommerce platforms reduces the customer’s ability to touch the product and feel it for themselves. To compensate for that, make sure the experience stays intact with loads of great pictures, detailed information on the specifications and a unique selling point to clinch the deal.
This product page by Boon Supply leaves no question unanswered, and on the occasion that you do have a query, there’s a support button hovering in the corner.
There are a few easy rules for seamless checkouts.
- Offer multiple payment options
- Allow guest check-outs
- Ask the bare minimum of information
- Mobile optimize your checkout page
- Seriously, mobile optimize it
- Have a prominent Call to Action and a smaller Save for later button
- Single page checkouts for the win
- Have a Thank you page post checkout, giving order information as well as showing discount coupons/upsell products
Implement them, no questions.
2. The Products
The products you sell online are the core of your user experience. No amazing customer service or smooth check-out process can redeem your business if your product is terrible.
But what exactly makes a product amazing?
The quality of the products is one factor, certainly. Often entrepreneurs start selling online with cheap Chinese products, owing to the low wholesale prices of the products. However, in the long term, the quality of the products is going to drive away customers. To retain customers, you need products that prove your brand is worth spending hard-earned money on.
The shipping time of the products is another aspect to consider: products that take months to arrive make customers unhappy, especially when you assure them of shorter delivery durations.
The unboxing experience, ie. the process of unpacking the product should also convey that your brand is trustworthy. Botchy, badly packed products with Chinese invoices sticking out can cause a severe impact on the eCommerce experience of the customer.
Top retailers often stress on the kind of products you sell, after all–this what the final verdict of the customer rests on. Marc Chapon, who makes about $60,000 per month off his dropshipping store, sources all of his products from the US and Europe, with great focus on quality and shipping. He has built a solid brand with Spocket, an app that allows you to add selected, quality-tested products from vetted suppliers based in the US and Europe.
Spocket operates by using the dropshipping model for selling online:
Additionally, all products are packed in neutral, clean boxes with your personalized invoice. Your store’s name, contact details and a message from you to the customer–all are available for free.
The product and the store design are the basics that you cannot avoid to address if you are selling products online. But doing the bare minimum is not called ‘Boosting the CX’. For that, we need to put in a little extra effort.
3. Content Marketing
Share your passion, speak to your customers! Content marketing involves providing free value to your customers to help them in the area that you and they are mutually interested in.
If my store is focussed on antiques, I can be sure that the customers I attract will be lovers of antique products and probably, history. (Or I am doing something entirely too wrong with marketing).
Why not start a weekly newsletter curating products that shaped history and the backstory of those products? Or a blog that is centered around antiques and their care. Or a YouTube channel for history buffs.
(Bonus points if you customise the content to fit the visitor’s exact interests)
Your customers’ eCommerce experience goes way beyond the product and the profits. Build a space for them to learn, discuss and return information about their passions and interests.
Make your brand the one place they go back to when they want to indulge in their interests.
Experience is made of every interaction you have with the customer. Talking about their passions or providing solutions to problems within that specific area of interest counts as a positive interaction.
Do the math. More the number of positive interactions, the more positive their experience with your brand.
Here is Barkbox, a subscription service for dog treats and toys. They started a blog called Bark Post, which covers funny images of dogs from all over the internet, articles to help dog owners, videos with dogs–it’s a delight to anyone who loves dogs.
But a blog is not the only way to produce content. We have all seen videos from Nike that motivate you to ‘Just do it’. Your customer’s experience with your brand needn’t even explicitly be about your product.
Rouse emotions in your audience for your brand!
Not only will this help you with CX, but also improve your rankings for search engines.
4. Build a community
This is the most radical thing you can do to help CX–creating a community of loyal customers around your company. Let’s take the example of the antique store again. Create a Facebook group where people can share their own experiences and information they found interesting revolving around antiques and history.
Engage with potential customers on a first-hand basis, learn what they like and dislike and use it to fuel your store! Instagram accounts are another way to build a community.
How does building a community help eCommerce customer experience? Easy. When people relate to your brand and develop a relationship with it, you can wave your competitors goodbye as you roar towards success. Customers will choose you not just for your products, but for the personality of the brand.
Let’s look at Netflix, the video-streaming platform. Their Instagram is filled with memes and jokes in formats that people can relate to. People interact with the brand and often tag their friends to share the hilarity.
Netflix becomes a part of the customer’s life even when people are not using it–which causes them to return to the platform more often. Customers associate strongly positive feelings with the brand, et voila, the experience is heightened immediately.
Make your customers your biggest supporters by giving them a sense of belonging, a space where they can interact with similar people.
5. Make it easier for them to stay updated
Visitors on your store have shown the first signs of interest in a purchase–but something is stopping them. More often than not, the prices of the product are hindering their progress down the conversion funnel.
It is very probable that with a small price drop, customers will convert, and be glad to make the purchase. Whether it is seasonal discounts or a clearance sales, you need to make sure that your customers are notified of it in a concise manner.
Make sure to collect your customers’ emails, and better still, have sufficient opt-in options for web notifications. Web notifications are the least obtrusive, but most effective methods of re-routing a customer back to your store.
With a simple click, customers can get right to the product they were interested in, and avail the discount. The easier it is for the customer to buy a product, the more likely it is that they will buy it and push notifications work effortlessly for both you and the customer.
Emails and messages may end up in spam folders, which is why we recommend web push notifications.
The company Proozy, which sells activewear and fitness gear, made an ROI of 299X by using web push notifications. They used notifications for a series of functions, from recovering abandoned carts to short-term promotions, and the effect was undeniably amazing.
Ecommerce customer experience is not manufactured in a day, but it is worth investing in. I cannot stress hard enough how important every interaction is: whether it is customer support or web notifications.
Push notifications are a great way to draw the customer back to your store–just as content marketing and social media serve as reminders of your brand, web notifications and SMSes can drive traffic and retarget potential customers to your store.
While we do not promote spamming visitors, it cannot be denied that proactive businesses that make an effort to reach out to their audiences through means other than ads have happier customers. To engage via newsletters and email lists, you need subscribers, and PushOwl can make it an easy, effortless task.
Engage your customers without being intrusive–and make your brand stand out with the smooth, undefeatable customer experience!
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This guest post was written by Isha Mandloi. Mandloi is the content manager at Spocket, an ecommerce solution intent on empowering new entrepreneurs. You can read her articles on the Spocket blog.