Ecommerce businesses are investing more and more in delivering great customer experience.
Why? Because it doesn’t only make the business stand out from the competition but also brings in real money!
Here’s how good customer experience cashes out for ecommerce business:
1. Customer loyalty – 73% of consumers say a good experience is key in influencing their brand loyalties.
2. LTV – Around 86% of buyers are ready to pay more for great customer experience – around a price premium of up to 13-18% to be exact.
3. Brand advocacy – A happy customer evangelizes your brand and refers to their friends. And as we all know word of mouth is the best form of marketing with the highest ROI.
Now, customer experience is not a one-time event. A business has to deliver it throughout the lifetime of the customers. A customer’s journey with an ecommerce business can be divided into the following lifecycle stages:
When designing your customer experience strategy, you should consider all of these lifecycle stages.
5 ways to improve customer experience throughout the ecommerce lifecycle stages
Good on-store experience is very crucial for turning your online store visitors into customers. The goal of your store’s UX strategy should be making the purchase process as quick, easy, and friction-free as possible.
Here are some important factors which can make or break the experience.
Navigation is certainly one of the most critical parts of ecommerce experience. It’s the guiding compass for your store visitors to help them find what they are looking for.
The navigation should be easy to traverse and properly structured to make it super easy for the customers to find the products they came for.
If you are only selling a few items then it’s simple, but challenges come with a large assortment.
You should gain a deep understanding of your customer’s need in order to group items into relevant categories in a sensible and straightforward way.
Hick’s Law states that the more choices a user has, the more time it will take them to make a decision. It’s applicable to all kinds of UX design practice, as well as navigation design. A good navigation system respects the Hick’s law to keep it minimal.
Let’s look at the following example. ASOS has done a great job in grouping their products into several high-level categories so that the users have only a limited number of choices based on their interest.
An effective product search is considered as the key interaction point at the heart of the on-store experience.
According to EConsultancy – “up to 30% of visitors will use the site search box” and data says 80% of consumers will abandon a site after a poor search experience. On the other hand, users who complete a search are 1.8x more likely to convert!
Here are the key aspects of an efficient ecommerce search function:
– Make your search field prominent and easy to locate. Pay special attention to the mobile experience
– Use rich and predictive auto-complete
– Use Filter and Facets in the search result page
– Never allow the search function to hit a dead end. Even if you don’t have the product or something similar, you should always give some direction like a chat option to the user.
Data by McKinsey shows that personalized customer experiences deliver 5-8 times of the ROI on marketing spend and lift sales by 10%.
If you’re not using ecommerce personalization, you’re definitely losing revenue.
Here are five off-the-shelf personalization strategies to offer a captivating experience to your visitors and customers.
Collect all the relevant data on the visitors like location, traffic source, device, behavior etc. to personalize their experience.
Easier said than done. Eg. If a customer selects a dress in size “medium” on your site, that customer should not see suggestions for items that are not in stock in size “medium” during that shopping session.
For example, when a shopper hovers over the product image, the image could change to give another perspective without having to click on the product first.
This type of dynamic content increases engagement and improves the conversion rate.
Use the customer’s buying journey to personalize their experience.
Two common mistakes that companies should avoid when implementing product recommendations:
First, cross-selling on the product details page. It is distracting to your customers. Instead, focus on similar options and upsells on product pages to help shoppers find the right product first.
Second, showing similar products on the cart page. It distracts the customers and can work as a catalyst for cart abandonment.
Give your customers a sense of control
Privacy is a concern among some online shoppers.
A report by KPMG International shows 55% of consumers globally said they had decided against buying something online due to privacy concerns.
Allow your customers to delete their browsing history or invite them to provide feedback on the recommendations.
Cart abandonment is one of the biggest challenges for ecommerce businesses. In fact, it represents roughly 2-4 trillion dollars per year for the ecommerce industry. If we look into the reasons for cart abandonment, a major percentage happens because of the poor checkout experience.
Things you can do to improve your checkout experience:
As you can see, account creation is the second biggest reason for cart abandonment. Let your users check out as a guest without forcing them to create an account.
Shoppers don’t like surprise charges. Display your shipping cost and additional taxes on the product or cart page. The final payable amount shouldn’t be changed after that.
If you have a visible field for applying coupon code on your checkout page users are more likely to search for a coupon abandoning the checkout. This is one of the biggest mistakes in ecommerce UX.
Using a campaign URL is a much better way to let the users avail a discount.
As we all know mobile commerce is growing faster than ever. A Google survey has found that 73% of customers will switch from a poorly designed mobile site to one that makes purchasing easier.
If you are offering a native mobile app and it is adopted widely, that’s great. Otherwise, you should make sure that the checkout UI of the website is fully optimized for mobile devices.
Ecommerce brands often miss the boat when it comes to continuing the engagement with the customers after their purchase. A lot of ecommerce brands focus so much on achieving sales conversions that they neglect to consider the benefits of a post-purchase engagement strategy.
Here are four ways you can boost the post-purchase customer experience on your store.
Show your customer that you value their interaction with your business. It only takes a simple ‘thank you’ but these two words can really make an impact on your customer’s post-purchase experience. Your confirmation page or the email is the best place to do so.
Allbirds sends this thank you email when an order is placed
Ensuring your customer is fully aware of your refund policy and returns process helps reduce the post-purchase anxiety. Being transparent about your policies builds trust and shows your brand is more than just driving sales.
Crate&Barrel does a fantastic job mentioning the important policies in their order confirmation email.
Don’t take away all the power from your customers once they have made the purchase.
There may be several scenarios where your customers need support with their order. It may be order cancellation, return, refund or any other issue. Now, how fair or effective is it to ask them to write long emails or messages, including long order numbers and other information and then wait for a response?
Data says 81% of all customers attempt to take care of their problems themselves before contacting customer support. That’s why leaders let the customers help themselves with the common ecommerce requests like cancellation, return, refund etc. It creates a seamless experience for the customers.
You too can offer a similar experience on your store with an ecommerce self-service dashboard. It helps you eliminate all the unnecessary repetitive contacts and provide a superior support experience to your customers.
Communication plays a major role in customer experience. In ecommerce, communication happens in many forms and email is the most common of them.
Every ecommerce business does some kind of email marketing but only a handful of them are successful to offer an engaging email experience to the customers.
Here are some strategies to provide a great experience through email.
Personalization is not just a buzzword. It can drastically improve open rates, clicks, and engagement.
To send personalized emails, first, you must segment your email list based on their interest (not your business interest). Now, when you send emails with content that’s tailored for the audience segment, your subscribers will find it useful and will engage more. More engagement means more business.
Think of the customer’s engagement with your brand as a journey — a series of small steps they take on their path to buying your products.
Lifecycle email marketing is all about first understanding and defining those steps, then sending emails to the customers at the critical points of that journey to help them take that next important step forward toward a purchase.
Here’s a great example of life-cycle marketing email:
Clinique sends this email to the customers when their product is about to run out so they can re-order. This simple personalized communication boosts the customer experience by offering the convenience they seek from a reliable brand.
Say you order your grocery online once in 10-12 days. Now, what will you do if the store sends you a promotional email every day? You will most probably unsubscribe.
Sending too many emails doesn’t only annoy your customers, but it also impacts the ROI of email marketing by affecting the open and click rates.
Make sure you send only a limited number of emails and make sure they are super relevant to the customer.
Now that the consumers are able to purchase nearly anything at any time from anywhere, the ecommerce customer experience has dramatically changed. And while competition is continuously growing, businesses of all sizes must learn to separate themselves from competitors. The best way to do that is by improving customer engagement.
Here are some strategies to motivate your customers to engage.
Loyal and happy customers are the lifeblood of ecommerce.
And yet, according to Bain & Company, “60-80% of customers who describe themselves as satisfied do not go back to do more business with the company that initially satisfied them.”
Loyalty programs help to motivate the buyers to actively engage with the brand by creating accounts, making repeat purchases or being an advocate on social media.
UGC is the type of content that’s created by the users about the brand or product. Motivate your customers to create content about your brand by offering some sort of recognition.
The best form of UGC can be found on social media as everybody loves some kind of social recognition.
Although most of the businesses acknowledge the importance of customer experience to improve loyalty and advocacy only a handful of them actually measure it.
Without a proper measurement plan, you never know what’s going on with your customers. Here are a few things you can start doing today to have some idea about it.
– Run a customer satisfaction survey and analyze the results.
– Track the engagement metrics like click rate and social engagement.
– Analyze customer support ticket trends.
Successful ecommerce businesses know that providing great customer experience is the best investment they can do to build a long-lasting relationship with their hard-earned customers.
In order to deliver an effective customer experience, you first need to have a real understanding of your customers. You need to harness the power of data to have better insights into your customers. This will ensure that your strategy is aligned with their interest and they actively engage with your brand.