Today's shopping landscape looks much different than it did just over a year ago.
With more and more consumers switching to online shopping, eCommerce customer service has become a central point for most businesses.
In order to win over new customers and retain all your existing customers, you will need to provide them with a simple, effective, and hassle-free customer experience.
In this post, we'll be looking at some of the best techniques you can use to improve the customer experience on your eCommerce store
18 Ways To Improve the eCommerce Customer Experience
- Personalize the customer experience
- Make shopping mobile friendly
- Let customers try on products virtually
- Display customer reviews
- Create an amazing unboxing experience
- Surprise your shoppers with gifts
- Create a community
- Offer payment options
- Up your social media game
- Follow a Content Strategy
- Create a compelling ‘About us page’
- Take high-quality product photos
- Deliver an Omnichannel customer experience
- Upsell & cross-sell
- Reduce abandoned carts
- Have an easy checkout process
- Empower your employees
- Offer a clear return policy
Based on market research, "57% of online purchasers said they've stopped buying from brands because of a negative experience."
Let's dive deeper into the many ways to improve the overall customer experience so you can grow your eCommerce business!
1. Personalize the customer experience
Personalization is a surprisingly popular eCommerce trend – and for a good reason.
Retailers who spend the time personalizing their website have seen as much as a 15% upraise in their final sale revenue!
You can personalize the customer experience in many ways.
However, here are the most effective ones that you should definitely try out:
- Place your customer's initials somewhere in your email response;
- Use geo-location to provide users with clear information about the delivery options and shipping prices in their country;
- Remember their product-browsing history to present them with a list of recommendations based on the items they recently viewed;
- Offer excellent discounts on all the products or services that you're customers are interested in;
- Send a birthday message or an invitation to an online VIP event;
- Talk with your customers in their native language.
Amazon is a perfect example of how you can implement one of the mentioned strategies.
Rather than just showing their buyers all kinds of products, they remember their previous searches and hook them up with a bunch of personalized recommendations.
2. Make shopping mobile friendly
The second thing that you should do in order to improve the customer's experience is to optimize your site for smartphones.
Over 65% of the all eCommerce traffic now comes from mobile devices.
So if your website looks clunky and is slow to load, customers won't even bother continuing to the checkout.
In fact, most visitors have said that they will immediately leave if the site takes more than 3 seconds to load entirely.
Make sure that you consider the following methods to ensure that your site is completely mobile-friendly:
- Make the mobile version simple to operate
- Avoid placing big-sized content for better speed
- Make all of the infographics (videos, pictures, etc.) a bit smaller
- Ensure that all of the buttons and links work properly
Also, be sure to see the percentage of people that visit your site with their mobile devices.
You will be able to locate these statistics in your web analytics section.
If the number is more than 40%, then you should consider building a dedicated app.
It's much more effective than responsive design, and mobile customers will definitely appreciate all your efforts.
3. Let customers try on products virtually
The biggest downside of online shopping was the difficulty of trying out things before buying them.
Throughout the last couple of years, a lot of businesses have started implementing VR (virtual reality).
This way, buyers will be able to see how good the product really looks on them or in their house.
You can implement this tactic in most of the niches, including furniture, glasses, footwear, jewelry, watches, beauty products, and much more.
For instance, Chrono24 (one of the most extensive online platforms for purchasing and offering luxury watches) has developed a virtual technology system, which allows customers to try on watches using their smartphones.
4. Display customer reviews
By displaying customer reviews, future customers will be able to clearly see whether people are happy with their purchasing decision and whether they suggest the product to others.
Make sure that the reviews are displayed prominently on the product page so that customers can view them right before making the purchase decision - this can considerably influence the customers' confidence.
Also, in certain cases, customers will be able to get the answer they need through the customer reviews - decreasing the reliance on the contact center.
For instance, some of the customer reviews might include some info about the delivery times, the packaging of the product, the overall efficiency, etc.
One of the best and most efficient ways of displaying customer reviews is by using a third-party application.
These apps will provide you with tons of customization options, automatic reply features, incentives options, and many more.
If you don't have one already, then be sure to check out the best customer review apps available right now.
5. Create an amazing unboxing experience
As internet purchasing takes over traditional in-store shopping, the unboxing of the products has become a lot more essential to brands.
Not only will your consumers feel more valued and excited, but they are more likely to share the unpackaging moment on their social media profiles - spreading your brand's name and product to other potential buyers.
So, here are a few ideas to create an unforgettable unboxing experience:
- Add your own logo to the packaging box
- Use some special packaging material
- Place a handwritten thank you note in the box
Apple is the gold standard here; they have one of the best and most unique packaging.
6. Surprise your shoppers with gifts
Another great approach to show that you really value your customers is by surprising them with presents.
So, whenever your customer makes a purchase, you can include a nice little gift with the initial product they bought.
This doesn't have to be something expensive - it isn't the price of the gift that matters, but the intention of providing an extra thing for free.
Little things like this create a unique & memorable experience for the customer and make them want to come back for more.
For example, if you're a cosmetic business offering make-up products, you can also add a beauty blender (the little teardrop-shaped sponge used to apply make-up).
On the other hand, if you're offering sunglasses, then you can also include a cleaning cloth so that the customers will be able to easily clean their glasses.
7. Create a community
With more new brands coming to the world of eCommerce, consumers are absolutely flooded with all the options when it comes to online shopping.
Trying to stay ahead with growth hacks, advertising optimization tactics, or pricing strategies can be quite tough and might lead to negative impacts.
Customers want more from the businesses they interact with and buy from online.
They want to understand what makes you different.
They want to know what you really care about, what you're arranging to make the world a better place, and how they will fit into your story.
The most dependable way of doing this is by creating a strong community (a group of people who are die-hard fans of your products or services) around your eCommerce brand.
This way, you will have a virtuous circle of all the loyal customers that support your brands.
Here are a couple of steps on how you can build a strong community:
- Define your goal;
- Select a community platform;
- Send cold emails to drive visitors;
- Drive visitors through social accounts;
- Don't forget to set a couple of rules;
- Welcome your members personally;
- Create valuable content for your customers;
- Interact with them on a daily basis.
8. Offer payment options
The next crucial thing that you must do in order to enhance the customer's shopping experience is to take a look at your payment options.
Just imagine, your customer manages to discover the product they need, and after a few seconds, they realize that the payment method that they prefer is not on the list.
They will feel quite disappointed and will immediately leave your website.
So, apart from losing a sales conversion for your store, you also lose a potential customer.
In order to stop these sorts of situations from arising, make sure that you always offer a variety of payment options - particularly those that are mostly used by most online buyers.
- Paypal (one of the leading payment methods)
- Debit Cards (Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, JCB)
- eWallet (Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Skrill)
- Prepaid Cards (Snap and Paysafecard)
- Gift Cards (Google and Apple)
- Cryptocurrency (Bitcoin and Ethereum)
9. Up your social media game
Regardless of your target market, stepping up your social media game is crucial.
There are several ways to combine your online store with some of these social media platforms (Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, and Twitter).
A) Offer buying inside social media platforms
Right now, a lot of businesses are putting effort into creating a social media eCommerce shop.
While this can seem like a pretty challenging task, there are a lot of tutorials online that explain how you can perform this in a pretty fast way.
For example, Ray-Ban (one of the most popular brands for sunglasses) sells its products on Instagram Shops.
B) FAQ Facebook bot
Throughout the years, companies have started noticing the importance of the Facebook bot and started implementing it on their official pages.
The Facebook bot will be able to answer your customers while you're away from the computer.
Generally, this bot can only answer basic questions related to the delivery process, product availability, payments, etc.
C) Monitor the trends
Lastly, make sure that you're following the latest trends on social media networks.
The most reliable way of performing this is by using a social media monitoring tool.
This will give you important insights into the requirements and buying habits of your customers.
10. Follow a content strategy
Making and sharing interesting content on social media or your blog is a crucial strategy that your business should start practicing if you aren’t already.
A recent study has confirmed that brands who implement Rich Product Content can see sales conversions increase by up to 35%.
Apart from getting better sales conversions and building customer loyalty, it also helps in getting more traffic through organic searches.
You can incorporate all kinds of content formats, including quality blog posts, special interviews, cool infographics, and much more.
For example, if you're running an eCommerce store that's mainly focused on fashion and make-up products, then you can make content that gives style advice, tips, and fashion trends.
However, what a lot of brands forget is that they will need to post consistently.
If you want this strategy to work, then you have to try to post at least 5 to 20 times a month.
This way, your customers won't lose interest and will keep up with the latest updates from your brand.
11. Create a compelling ‘About Us Page’
When you're starting your online business, you want to consider creating an "About Us" page that will inspire future buyers to shop from your company.
The "About Us" page is a section where you need to introduce your company to your customers and demonstrate how your offerings can help them.
However, a lot of businesses are doing this wrong.
Think about this: you're sitting at a celebration party, and someone is chatting to you about the brand-new business they created. They can't appear to describe it in words, so they only tell you that their new company is "professional" and "excellent."
Sounds pretty bad, right?
Well, the same applies to the "About Us" page.
If you start bragging about how your company is the "best" and has years of experience, the chances are your customers will instantly click off the page.
Rather than that, here are a couple of tips that you can implement on your page:
- Share your personal story and how you started;
- Explain the ways that your products or services can help your customers;
- Include a couple of testimonials from customers;
- Be sure to consistently update your about page;
- Share details of your future objectives or state your aims and mission.
12. Take high-quality product photos
Whether you're just starting out or you're a seasoned eCommerce owner, you should know that having high-quality product photos on your site can help your customers clearly visualize what they're getting.
Here are a few ways to ensure your product pictures are high-quality:
- Take pictures from a tripod for better stability
- Choose a natural or artificial light
- Avoid taking pictures with the flash turned on
- Stick with a digital camera or a smartphone with great camera capabilities
- Use a portrait mode to emphasize your product
- Make sure that the lenses are spotlessly clean before shooting
- Keep your hands steady while making the shot
- Don't use digital zoom
- Take some inspiration from brands you love
13. Deliver an omnichannel customer experience
Having multiple channels to interact with customers has certainly become a standard for today's businesses.
In fact, customers that interact with your company through more than one touchpoint (social media platform, website, or physical store) are more likely to convert and become loyal consumers of your brand.
But what is an omnichannel experience?
An omnichannel customer experience means that a buyer is capable of interacting with your business through multiple channels.
Here's a brief example:
Let's use the clothing retail store as an example.
A potential buyer is scrolling through their Facebook feed when they suddenly come across an ad about cute "T-Shirts" with the "Batman" logo.
Once they press on the link, they will be taken directly to the store's Facebook page, where they will be able to find out a bit more about the specific T-Shirt they're looking at and read a couple of reviews.
After that, they click on the store's website link and start filling in all the information to make the purchase.
Unfortunately, they discover that their size option isn't in stock.
So, the next thing they do is click on the live chat widget to contact the brand and to ask an agent when the size will be back on sale again.
After a few seconds, the agent informs them that the size is actually back in stock in the customer's nearest store.
The agent then reserves the T-shirt for the customer in the store and, the next day, the consumer goes to the store and picks it up.
The customer had 5 total touch points with the company:
- The original ad,
- Their Facebook page,
- Their site,
- Live assistance team,
- and the in-store team.
In the end, both the consumer and the business got what they wanted.
So, how do you deliver an outstanding omnichannel customer experience?
We will explain an easy approach:
- Identify what your consumer wants, when they want it, and how they want it;
- After understanding who your customers are and what channels they will use, you need to map out the journey they take to purchase a product;
- Ensure that your content will be able to fit different screen sizes;
- As your buyers interact with your brand across various channels, you must offer omnichannel customer support;
- Remember to place the physical store in the omnichannel circle.
14. Upsell & cross-sell
Upselling is a business strategy to encourage potential buyers to purchase a higher-priced product than the one they're looking at.
These products usually have a higher quality or offer better performances than the previous ones.
For instance, you're interested in purchasing a 42-inch TV for your room.
Right when you go to the electronic store, you will be able to see different TVs with various features.
You see a specific 42-inch model that you like to buy, but the assistant member comes in and starts explaining that you can have a bigger and better TV for only a few more dollars.
So, you end up purchasing the better model - that's called upselling.
Here are a couple of steps on how you can implement upselling on your very own eCommerce business:
- Introduce the most reviewed products on your site
- Avoid suggesting products that are 30% more expensive than the initial item
- Try to display a couple of testimonials for the upsell
- Explain why the alternative product is better
On the other hand, cross-selling is a strategy that encourages the buyer to purchase other related products besides what they wanted to purchase.
For example, you're in a burger shop, and you are interested in getting a chicken burger.
However, right before you order, you see a couple of promotional combos that come with the chicken burger, like a drink or fries.
So, you end up getting the entire combo, even if you didn't even want to in the first place.
Here are a few ways to add cross-sells to your eCommerce business:
- Cross-sell products should be at least 60% cheaper than the product added to the cart;
- Stick with products that can be easily missed out - headphones for laptop, filter for lenses, a mask for your smartphone;
- Try not to offer them too many products because they might end up abandoning the purchase.
15. Reduce abandoned carts
What if shopping in the real world was the same as shopping on the internet.
You would walk into a market, fill up your purchasing cart with all the products you need, and suddenly - for whatever reason - you decide to leave the cart in the middle of the store and walk away from the store.
Frankly, this scenario .... is pretty unlikely to occur in the real world.
However, in eCommerce, it happens all the time.
There are hundreds of reasons that can result in this, but here are some great tricks that you can practice in order to reduce the cart abandonment rate:
- Insert a couple of transaction trust signals;
- Set up a progress indicator on your checkout pages;
- Insert thumbnail images of the product that your customer is purchasing;
- Make it simple to switch between the shopping cart and the store;
- Add a great "Call to Action" on the checkout pages;
- Offer a strong money-back guarantee to your customers;
- Be clear about all the additional costs upfront;
- Optimize your website load time.
Extra: Even though you practice all of the above-mentioned tricks, some buyers will inevitably leave their carts.
However, you shouldn't stop there!
Use remarketing tactics to target all the abandoners and win them back.
16. Have an easy checkout process
Your eCommerce checkout process is a fundamental step in pushing conversions.
You've put a ton of time and money into choosing your products, making and improving your store, attracting buyers to visit your website, etc.
And now, one thing remains.
If those visitors don't make it through the checkout process to conclude the purchase, none of your efforts really matter.
In order to ensure that everything goes smoothly, make sure that you make the entire checkout process as simple and easy as possible.
- Make the "Add To Cart" button clear
- Have the "Pay Now" button staring at the consumers all the time
- Allow guest checkout (it's a deal-breaker)
- Offer a bunch of payment options
- Cover the top navigation bar to create a self-contained checkout page
- Eliminate any type of distractions
17. Empower your employees
Your employees are at the heart of your eCommerce business.
After all, they're the ones pulling up sales, helping customers, and working as the "face" of your store.
The happier your employees are, the more invested they are in ensuring maximum satisfaction to your customers.
So, make sure that you hold quick morning meetings with your employees, provide them with proper education & training, keep them on track with the latest news about your brand, and praise their efforts.
18. Offer a clear return policy
A big challenge of online shopping is that the shoppers cannot try out products before buying them.
In order to give your consumers a feeling of security, you will need to offer them some kind of guarantee - a return policy.
While returns can be a big challenge for most eCommerce brands, having a simple and well-written policy can actually have a big impact.
Over 93% of customers are likely to purchase something again if returns are easy.
Offering free return transportation and an easy-to-print return label can be the cherry on the top.
There you have it, folks!
Hopefully, with the assistance of our easy-to-read guide, you will be able to implement these techniques to your own eCommerce brand and improve your overall customer experience.
We made a video version of this post, you can watch instead of reading!