The days when consumers turned to online shopping when they couldn’t find an item in a physical store are gone. Now, it has become one of the most convenient and affordable forms of buying and selling.
Every company strives for customer attention and loyalty and looks for efficient ways to increase brand awareness and recognition. Yet, many customers stay disappointed with their shopping or after-purchase experience.
We can call it an experience misalignment: companies use the latest know-how of custom eCommerce development or craft the most delicate design but haven’t focused on the most noteworthy facets of customer experience.
Businesses must anticipate what customers expect before, during, and after a sale. Otherwise, they’ll abandon your store and turn to a direct competitor in a moment.
How to identify the best ingredients for great customer experiences? If you don’t want to miss many sales opportunities, you should get a ton of value from today’s article.
We’re going to define customer experience for eCommerce, explain why it is essential for brands, and explain how you can make technological changes to ensure that customers stick with your brand and forget other web stores and marketplaces.
What is an eCommerce customer experience?
Anyone landing on your eCommerce website or a product page on purpose or accidentally goes through an online experience that leaves a particular impression. A superb belief that hits on target perfectly guides customers along their roads from checkout to purchase and order confirmation email.
If the customer leaves your website forever, something has gone wrong. One of the reasons is that it failed to serve and deliver the right digital experience. Inconvenient navigation, a bug in the checkout process, delayed customer service, or other factors can contribute to losing customers instead of converting them into loyal fans.
Online businesses can design, orchestrate, and inspire meaningful interactions with customers. From creating compelling ads on Instagram or Facebook to increase brand awareness to building a shopping cart in your online store: each element of the customer journey impacts the overall impression.
Why is it important to work on eCommerce customer experience?
The best way to understand the impact of CX is to study consumers’ attitudes to negative interactions with a brand. A recent study by Nice found that it requires only two negative impressions with digital customer services to abandon a brand. Only 6% of respondents claimed they wouldn’t switch to a competitor in case of a negative experience.
Generate more revenue
Here’s another proof that excellent customer experience helps turn store visitors into loyal and paying customers. A report by PwC states that customers are ready to pay 16% on top of the price tag if they go through a pleasant customer experience.
A happy customer is likely to pay more and generate additional profits for your business. Further, you can reinvest this sum into more high-level tasks such as business expansion or discovering new markets.
Gain more brand advocates
Customer reviews in eCommerce are as crucial as in any other online business. Consumers share their impressions of positive interactions in-person, via review platforms, and on social media, thus becoming brand ambassadors. In negative interactions with a particular brand, they are likely to complain to friends, family, and strangers about their experience.
For instance, 61% of Statista survey respondents claim they read online reviews before purchasing in the USA.
Suppose the majority of your customers have a good experience. Eventually, they will become your advocates and validate your brand for other online consumers without additional marketing efforts.
Things to consider when crafting digital customer experience strategy in eCommerce
You now know why eCommerce customer experience matters, so you need to focus on keeping buyers satisfied. This means you can increase your revenue when you reconsider some aspects of your online store. However, it is equally essential to be aware of how to implement new changes to CX on your eCommerce website. And in this section of the article, you’ll learn what to consider in this process.
Integration to create a unified view of all customer touchpoints
Improving customer experience in eCommerce involves extensive data processing and analytics to get valuable insights about user behavior. As the data comes from multiple sources, it is necessary to opt for solutions that help locate, combine, and unify accurate information.
When it is possible to avoid unnecessary data silos, decision-makers can leverage a 360-degree view of all customers and adjust the CX strategy for optimal efficiency.
Let your particular case drive new changes
Your competitors may add intelligent chatbots or refine product pages with brand-new layouts. Does that mean you must copy everything for your eCommerce store?
Well, it depends. You need to consider the business model you operate and focus on the CX elements that will work for a particular business case. With so many advanced tools, software, and platforms on the market, business owners can make bad purchase decisions for fear of missing out on them.
Suppose your online store has been operating for a while, but you’ve never assumed refining the CX or creating new experiences. In this case, it is necessary to identify gaps in the current moment and consider the pool of features or functionality you’d like to add.
Promote Agile processes
A slow turnaround with new tasks for sales, fulfillment, and marketing departments can do a bad job for the company’s success. You need to craft digital experiences that can adapt to change, meet scalability requirements, and respond to ongoing needs.
That’s where the Agile approach can step in and offer high speed, better collaboration between business people and developers, and increased value for consumers. In a similar vein, agility can let all participants deliver value, be it content creation, new feature development, or social media efforts.
|Data integration can be a foundation for crafting a consistent and efficient CX strategy. It removes data silos, improves data flow, and boosts department productivity.
|Customer experience consists of many moving parts. Make sure you invest in relevant functionality that addresses the aspects of customer experiences you want to create or improve.
|Opt for functionality that enables teams to add and scale new offerings or content across channels step-by-step.
How to improve eCommerce customer experience?
eCom website speed optimization
eCommerce stores lose buyers if their checkout page is slower than those of the competitors. Consumers have become used to the instant gratification that the digital-first age has brought with it. A decreasing attention span and limited patience make users switch to another web page if the current one fails to meet user expectations.
In this regard, eCommerce websites can experience bad consequences for CX as only a 1-second delay decreases customer satisfaction by 16%, according to Website Builder Expert (WBE). From a first-time visit to becoming a customer and conducting recurring purchases, the speed of your eCom website can affect one of these sales opportunities.
While you can’t control certain variables on the users end, you can improve website speed on the technical side. The following actions can help fix the issues with load time:
- Optimize videos, images, and content using lazy loading and decreasing or converting their size and volume;
- Reconsider the number of plugins and extensions your eCommerce store is using. Deactivate no longer relevant ones;
- Cache up a static version of your eCom website;
- Check if the hosting provider meets your requirements and opt for another one if needed.
Website navigation optimization
Navigation optimization is the process of enhancing how consumers find and access information within an eCommerce website. Each component needs optimization from its information architecture and taxonomy to page structure and menu options in case bounce rates or other CX metrics decline.
Amazon, for example, invites its visitors to take an easy-to-follow path to checkout. Customers don’t have to click through many pages on their website to find what they are looking for. Instead, Amazon suggests a straightforward categorization scheme that is easy to understand and sort through:
Aside from leading navigation layout optimization, eCommerce teams can make many other decisions. Here are some practical tips to improve customer experience in eCommerce:
- Mention special offers and sales. Make it easy for customers to discover exclusive deals on your website. One idea is to personalize this information based on previous browsing experience or purchasing history.
- Make a concise and visually appealing header. A common location for grasping a user’s attention is a well-designed header. It has one of the largest CTR in eCommerce and is a standard way to engage website visitors. Make sure to make the header visually noticeable using contrasting colors, font styles, or button design.
- Follow the best eCommerce design conventions. Each brand strives to add unique features to a website’s navigation architecture. However, if a user has to deal with unknown shopping patterns, they are likely to pause your website. Combining conventional navigation elements and adding unique features in less critical areas is better.
- Use mega menus to represent extensive inventories. A mega menu lets you display complex categories and subcategories in one window. When selling extensive inventories, companies like Amazon or Walmart use one large panel showcasing groups of navigation options. This approach enables users to see all product categories at once without scrolling.
- Add intuitive CTA buttons. You can streamline the path from browsing to placing an order using call-to-action buttons. Make them a pop of color and style - and you will guide shoppers to checkout without disruptions.
Imagine you’ve gone up and beyond to improve customer experience in eCommerce. However, if your store is inconvenient to mobile consumers, you could lose out on enormous sales opportunities. Providing an intuitive experience outside of a desktop or web interface is equally important.
The best way to tell what resonates most with your mobile users is to test your eCommerce website with a trusted tool or get an audit from a custom software development company like Geomotiv. We might test different navigational elements, form fields, CTAs, and visual content, including videos and images.
A responsive layout is another factor worth considering. When users access a mobile version of your website and part of the design doesn’t load correctly or makes it hard to click on the links, it is necessary to adjust the dimensions to fit the device. Some eCommerce platforms may require you to engage a web developer to fix the issue with responsiveness.
When looking to craft the best eCommerce customer experience, you need to tailor the offering to the needs of particular end-users. Consumers expect brands to deliver relevant content and personalized offers but are getting increasingly aware of their personal data miscarriage risks as well.
To balance the above issues, eCommerce businesses can use unique customer data to display real-time dynamic content in subtle ways.
For example, using the latest marvels in Artificial intelligence, brands can showcase personal recommendations, bestseller lists, or exclusive discounts and promotions. If a visitor leaves your online store, you can use the potential of AI to retarget them on social media platforms.
Creating omnichannel customer experiences is a must for retailers. The data found by Fit Small Business denotes that online retailers can miss out on from 10% to 30% of sales when they don’t follow customers where they are. The trick of retargeting is in reaching customers across other platforms, even if they closed the tab or switched a device. The same applies to the situation when a customer wants to get in touch via other channels, like social media, chat, email, etc.
These and other instances of omnichannel eCommerce help boost customer loyalty and increase engagement across different channels. To succeed in this aspect, eCommerce store owners need to develop consistent messaging and present recognized content across different touchpoints.
Although you may not have the same resources as FAANG companies, you can implement something similar in your omnichannel strategy. You can research with the marketing team and start with the most relevant channels. Educating the internal staff to provide a seamless and consistent experience on chosen touchpoints is also a way to succeed.
Develop checkout steps in a customer-focused manner
The checkout page is the final step of the customer journey. If it contains flaws or pain points, shoppers are unlikely to purchase all the items in their cart. They can face a complex process, security concerns, or slow checkout load times.
Once you’ve identified one of the above gaps or other frictions, develop a great customer experience to reduce the checkout abandonment rate. You must adapt to a savvy customer base that expects the purchasing process to be a breeze.
In response to a consumer, reconsider the tactics to improve your checkout page. One way to do this is to create an optimal checkout flow with a series of consistent steps.
|Browsing product pages
|Adding items to a shopping cart
|Billing and shipping info
Other strategies include the following:
- Integrate the store with one-click checkout;
- Make guest checkout available for customers;
- Add social sign-in for convenience;
- Reduce the number of UI elements on the checkout page;
- Add convenient payment options (More on that below);
- Insert security badges to build trust;
- Inform customers about additional costs before the checkout process begins;
- Include an auto-save cart option, etc.
Integrate CRM to manage customer experience
CRM software is the eyes and ears of any business, and it can provide new ideas on how to increase customer experience in eCommerce. It helps to manage everything from initial contact with leads to post-sale relations and retention.
When you bring together CRM systems and eCommerce stores, you can collect, analyze, and report client-related data based on their behavior on product and landing pages. This helps your business evaluate individual experiences, identify trends in the lifecycle, and detect common pain points.
You can leverage a CRM to access a 360-degree view of your customer base for any business user, be it an owner or a customer service agent. It also gives you the opportunity to:
- Establish one-on-one communication;
- Offer up-to-the-minute services;
- Respond quickly to requests, complaints, or issues;
- Leave no room for unattended questions from customers.
Analyze customer feedback
Customer feedback is a natural part of the eCommerce business. If it operated in an ideal environment, companies would only have to deal with appraisals and positive responses from the consumer base.
However, paying customers can submit their feedback in any way possible. Luckily, you can use the current technology to pull, analyze and act on the data generated from the feedback loop. That will help you improve customer satisfaction and address critical issues subtly.
Here are some good practices for analyzing customer feedback:
- Unify all touchpoints. Collect all the information from all places where customers communicate with your business: web chat, social media, or surveys.
- Find common patterns. Group and categorize the feedback to identify patterns in user-generated data for a quick view.
- Analyze. Bring together all the information to get insights and identify things you can act upon in bulk.
- Act on the findings. Communicate the findings to responsible employees to keep everyone on the same page. This way, you can implement changes in customer service on every channel.
- Monitor. Track the data continuously to estimate which tactics work and which require refinement.
Engage proactively with customers
If you position your eCommerce business as merely a place for transactional activities, you may need to catch up on keeping customers engaged, informed, and entertained.
Instead, concentrate on how you can provide added value for consumers. Depending on the scale and specifics of your business, you can implement proactive tactics that will work in the long run. One idea is to create and distribute content that appeals to users and responds to their needs. Some common examples include:
- Regular newsletters and other due email marketing activities;
- DM/SMS messaging to individual customers and consumer segments;
- Chatbot and live chat messaging for on-site and social media audiences.
Add multiple payment options
Any hesitation on the way to a purchase can increase the cart abandonment rate and affect overall customer satisfaction. Today’s shoppers expect businesses to meet their demands and consider their preferences. If you fail to provide their preferred payment method in your store, you can put off potential customers and reduce sales.
Another side of the coin is adding all possible payment options at once. While it can respond to customer expectations en masse, this approach could turn the checkout into a messy process. The performance of your website is another factor to consider. Too many payment gateways can hinder load times and decrease the performance of your eCommerce website.
The key to offering multiple payment options is to create a balanced approach. It is worth considering the below factors when looking to elevate eCommerce customer experience when it comes to payment options.
Cater to different demographics of customers:
- Younger audiences, such as Gen Zers and millennials, prefer alternative payment methods like PayPal, in-app wallets, and mobile payments;
- Older shoppers from the Gen X generation are used to debit and credit cards like American Express.
Consider your payment options:
- Standard payments with a credit card: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover;
- Online gateways such as PayPal, StripeConnect, Razorpay, Bolt, or Payoneer;
- Cash on delivery service (COD) such as FedEx;
- In-app purchases with Google Pay or Apple Wallet;
- alternative methods of payment, such as Bitcoin or ClearPay.
Take measures to prevent fraud. Consumers need to be sure that no fraudster will take advantage of sensitive transactional data. For that, it is necessary to choose trustworthy ways to pay. As a result, you can make your customers feel valued and protected and improve customer experience.
Add immersive features
Modern technology enables businesses to put online customers at the center of the shopping process and create interactivity that imitates traditional in-store experiences. Why not let consumers sense and try the products as if they were at a traditional brick-and-mortar store?
That’s what today’s immersive technologies can bring to life. Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, chatbots, and 3D visualizations are great ways to grab and keep the attention in much the same way physical stores do. Besides, these technologies can increase the overall level of engagement for digitally-native and older audiences alike.
Consider integrating the following immersive features into your store to win the customers’ hearts:
- Let consumers try on products virtually. Virtual mirrors can let your customers see what the item looks like in reality. You can add an AR layer to the product and overlay it onto an image of the shopper’s face or any other body part.
- Assist shoppers 24/7 with AI chatbots. A virtual assistant will help provide personalized support and suggest tailored recommendations based on customer preferences. For example, chatbots can offer similar items based on contextual information if a user wants to compare products. This process is instantaneous and doesn’t require customer support to dedicate their free time to every query.
- Add more information about the product with 3D-modeling. 3D modeling is a powerful tool for creating immersive customer experiences. It can help represent an item from different angles and give a detailed view of the particular product. Using this technology, businesses can reduce the number of issues when purchased products don’t look like in the pictures.
- Provide convenience with virtual showrooms. A virtual showroom enables businesses to showcase their products and collections and sell them online. Instead of running between different appointments in different parts of the city, customers can view collections in one place.
Our consultants would be happy to help. We can discuss the opportunities for developing user-oriented shopping solutions for your company.
Customer experience is a focus area for eCommerce businesses. With tight competition in the domain, you can’t afford to lose audiences due to gaps and inefficiencies in how you serve them.
In this article, we explored how to increase customer experience in eCommerce and suggested actionable tactics that you may incorporate right now.
By now, you know why it is essential to reconsider your approach to CX when some parts don’t work. Moreover, you can use this knowledge to pitch new changes to your eCommerce store to stakeholders and project managers.
You can use some of the ideas we described above to elevate your brand and convert more customers into loyal fans of your brand.
You can engage professional eCommerce teams with vast experience in software product development and custom solution delivery from scratch to implement new changes. Feel free to contact us to find out how we can improve your eCommerce store CX!
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