eCommerce Customer Experience: 8 Tips To Improve your Online Shop
⏱ Reading Time: 9 minutes
The eCommerce market is growing at an unprecedented rate. With so many platforms popping up every day, staying ahead of the competition is getting harder and harder. So how do you keep up in such a rapid and competitive environment to improve your online shop?
By learning consumer experiences.
Experiences are more important than products now. In fact, you could say that experiences are products. People increasingly share their eCommerce customer experience with companies and products in our connected economy. And we can either be active participants in creating and nurturing these desired experiences or spend more time trying to react or make up for bad experiences. Just as it is in a physical business, a customer’s experience with your brand is all about the journey. But the only way to bring that journey to life in a reliable and repeatable way is through data.
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A connected experience is all about ensuring the customer enjoys the experience of shopping with you. It’s also about having the right products that are available when needed and also being there to help them when they have a question or concern across all mediums. Whether it’s a call center, a chat environment online, eCommerce versus in-store, or now omnichannel, the experiences must be the same. Among the variables of all the success formulas out there, there’s only one constant — an unmatched customer experience. This is the ingredient that unlike anything else, cannot be copied. And there’s one framework that is really good at helping you with stepping up your customer experience game — customer journey mapping.
8 eCommerce Customer Experience Tips to Align and Improve the Way Customers Are Buying
The best way to increase revenue and reduce costs is right by providing optimized customer journeys across digital and traditional channels. In the digital space, everyone who visits your online platforms generates thousands if not millions of data points. These points can provide clarity into what your customers truly want to map out leading to developing the most optimal customer journey.
But as different buyers take different paths and interact differently through different channels, integrating all these data points can feel overwhelming, even impossible. There are a number of easy steps to achieve optimum eCommerce marketing and improve your customer experience and ultimately increase sales.
Read: 8 Ecommerce Marketing Strategies – Stand out from the Competition.
1. Understand Your Customer Persona and Align Your Ecommerce Customer Experience Map
Before building your journey map(s), it is best to create customer personas. They can help you to envision what your ideal customer might be going through when seeking your product. Above all, understanding how users move through your store is critical to producing sales that follow a psychologically informed model. So monitor your behavior flow report to see how customers move on your site. Make sure to examine different segments of users, whether it’s first-time visitors, returning visitors, buyers or visitors with long session durations but no purchases. Look for trends, like specific drop-off points where hoards of users left your site without converting. Conversely, look for commonalities between behavior. At this point, you will start to notice that most of these first-touch pages revolve around building awareness.
2. Define the Stages Involved During Your Customer Mapping
At this point, you will need to draft the backbone of the journey map. Specifically the stages a customer goes through while interacting with your online store. This is known as customer journey mapping. Customer journey mapping (CJM) is a visualization of all the interactions happening between customers and your product at all of the stages of their engagement with it. With this, you can understand how customers feel at every stage of their journey and what you can improve so they get less frustrated and become more happy with your service. This can be but not limited to requesting the delivery, confirmation call or email, waiting for the delivery, receiving the items and signing the docs(this formality is kind of irrelevant).
Also, when mapping journeys for your online store you will find that some personas are more tech-savvy while some are less. They will also have different goals, expectations, and experience from your website and so their customer journeys will also differ. Creating journey maps enables you to develop an in-depth understanding of how your customers make purchase decisions. These maps can serve as useful customer support tools in the sense that they highlight areas that your business should focus on enhancing your customer experience. You should take all of that into account before mapping the journey of a particular customer segment.
Picture 1. Customer journey mapping
3. Establish Touchpoints and Actions
Once the stages on your customer journey map have been clearly defined, you will need to establish what actions your customers will be required to take in every stage. Your business needs to pay more attention to the emerging concept of “customer experience design”. Whether you realize it or intend it or not, your business already has a “customer experience design” – the process and systems that are in place to manage your customer’s needs, answer questions and guide them through the sales process. The question is, do you have a good customer experience design? Identify the encounters that happen between your business and customers at each stage. The homepage of the website, the checkout page, customer service agent, package, etc. This will help you know the ones that need improvement and get rid of those that lead your customers straight to your competitors. For each touchpoint, consider the actions that your customers will need to take and plot those on the journey map.
Read: Customer Experience Design: How to Meet Customer Expectations?
4. Structure of the Appropriate Processes & Channels
See what channels your persona uses and what processes look like during their journey. Here are some examples: website, social media, phone, email, etc. Make sure that the experience you deliver is equal across all the channels. Apply the omnichannel strategy. It will unify all the customer touchpoints across the customer lifecycle under one platform, to engage them across their buying journey and deliver a consistent eCommerce customer experience. Knowing the typical paths on your site is one thing, but it’s another to understand when and why customers use different channels prior to purchasing.
5. Determine and Solve the Problems and Ideas
There are a lot of options out there for people looking to make purchases online. That’s why it is so important to realize that you need to create the best customer experience possible. When shoppers are choosing where to spend their money, it’s not just about the price or even the product. People appreciate the convenience, they appreciate familiarity, and they appreciate an eCommerce site that is responsive and cares about their concerns. Find the pain points that the customers encounter while making a purchase on your site. It can be slow page loading speed, incomprehensible site structure, low-resolution images. Not to mention confusing checkout page, long time of delivery, lack of support from the help center, etc.
After that, brainstorm for some ideas on how these problems can be solved. You can add personalization to your eCommerce marketing campaigns. This tactic has been consistently increasing in popularity over the past few years in the eCommerce space. The concept is simple; you create custom experiences based on who is viewing your website or email marketing campaigns, where they came from, or where they are in the buying cycle.
Picture 2. Solving problems
6. Establish the Moments of Truth
Moments of truth are the moments where a customer either stays with you or leaves forever. For an eCommerce website, this is generally its overall site structure and design, the checkout page and the help center. It’s worth paying some extra attention to such moments and make sure everything about them is as customer-friendly as it can be. You should be able to instill in this potential customer the value of your product and make it clear that your product or service is truly exemplary. Do this, offer great service, and you’ll likely be able to convert them into a loyal customer.
7. Offer Multiple Customer Service Options
We’re all familiar with all types of customer service experiences. We know the good, the bad, the tedious. However, there are basic opinions that can help guarantee better customer service, and with recent advances in technology, most of them are cost-effective and intuitive. Step back and take a minute to think about why customers may seek support. They could have a problem, a question, suggestions or complaints. Match your strongest relationships with the areas where there is the greatest need for your product or service. This map will help point you in the direction of who you need to reach out to, in order to tap into potential customer bases. You don’t want your customers leaving your site because troubleshooting took too long. The process needs to be quick friendly and effective. Of course, it’s vital to have a phone and email support however, offering alternative resources can truly drive sales and shorten the funnel.
8. Proactive Engagement with Customers That Will Increase Ecommerce Customer Experience
Not engaging with potential customers at the right moment or in the right way can be a huge conversion blocker and cause a massive loss in revenue. A buyer who is ready to engage with your company will often do so through a digital channel and expect a real-time response. Failing to engage when your customers need support and assistance can quickly terminate their journey with you. Moreover, it can lead them to your competitors. Excellent customer service practices create positive relationships. In order to offer exceptional customer service, adopt a proactive customer service approach by dealing with potential issues before they arise. When you operate your eCommerce store in this way, your customers would take you as partners, rather than an abstract website.
Picture 3. Engaging with customers
As an eCommerce store, your website is your flagship and your standard-bearer. It’s where you make your sales, and it’s where you will be judged for every imperfection and typo. There are a lot of options out there for people looking to make purchases online. That’s why it is so important that you create the best eCommerce customer experience. When shoppers are choosing where to spend their money, it’s not just about the price or the product. People appreciate the convenience, they appreciate familiarity, and they appreciate a responsive eCommerce site with a customer experience design that cares about their concerns.
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