6 Steps To The Best Ecommerce Customer Experience
In 2020, eCommerce experienced a growth rate of 20% with eCommerce sales predicted to hit $4.5 trillion in 2021. Whilst this growth can be partly accredited to the Coronavirus pandemic, eCommerce shopping has been growing at a steady rate every year.
This 20% growth is the equivalent of jumping forward ten years in just 90 days compared to the normal rate of growth historically seen. This seismic shift in consumer shopping habits means that eCommerce stores must ensure more than ever that they are providing a good customer experience.
A report from PwC discovered that 73% of customers alluded to customer experience being an important factor in their purchasing decisions. On the other hand, only 49% of those same consumers stated that they felt they were provided with a good customer experience.
An eCommerce customer experience is the customer’s perception of how they are treated by your online business. This can essentially come down to whether they are recognized as a person, or simply a number.
Good customer experiences can lead to high levels of customer retention, higher AOV, as well as brand loyalty born from satisfied customers recommending your store to others.
So how can you make sure that you are exemplifying your customer experience? We’ve listed 6 tips below to help you make sure that every element of your online store provides the best experience possible for first-time visitors and loyal customers alike.
Persuasive product pages
Your product pages have one job: To alleviate any doubts in the consumer’s mind that this is the right product for them.
But if your product page is cluttered, complicated, unprofessional, or your copy is lacking enthusiasm or emotive language, you’ll risk losing customers and conversions.
If you’re looking for some design inspiration and best practices we’ve put together a handy product page template that you can use here.
The checklist for a persuasive product page looks like the following:
- Great copywriting. It needs to be informative, on-brand, and communicate all the reasons your customer needs your product. Play to consumer wants, desires or needs, and show how it solves a problem.
- High-quality images. Images help your customers visualize how and where your product fits into their lives. Images should be clear and of high quality, displaying the product from all angles in a variety of situations to help build this imaginative picture.
- Concise product details. Product details should list the size, color, and any information regarding the material used in the product. Product details might sound simplistic, but sometimes the simple mention of material can sway a purchasing decision.
- Clearly displayed pricing. Your pricing should sit above the fold on your product page. This is one of the first things your customers will look for, and if they can’t find it, they may exit before they even have a chance to consider the rest.
- Clear navigation. Your product page must not be cluttered. It should be simple to navigate, intuitive to use in the case of any drop-down menus for preferences like size or color, and it should clearly display the product information.
- Loads quickly – Your product page needs to load fast. Users won’t stick around if the page is loading slowly.
As well as these five important factors, you should also add additional descriptive information that can be used to sell the product.
If you have a product that is perhaps less than enthralling, like a garbage bin, try to make it as interesting and as fun as possible.
Make your additional descriptive copy informative too. Don’t overload on detail, but ensure you are highlighting the right pieces of information – such as USPs – that will display to users exactly why they should be buying your product and nobody else’s.
A smooth checkout process
According to the Baymard Institute, out of every 100 customers that start the checkout process, approximately 69 don’t finish.
Why? Because customers expect their checkout process to be easy, intuitive, seamless, and secure.
If a customer’s experience does not meet any of those requirements, they’ll simply exit and try to find one that does.
One way you can keep an eye on this is by using Google Analytics Checkout Behavior Report. For this, you will need to ensure you have Enhanced eCommerce set up correctly.
Here you can see where users drop off during the checkout process. There will always be drop-offs, but keep an eye out for any big ones that look out of place.
If for example, if you spot the personal details sections has a drop off of +50% that’s an issue. From this report, you can go in and examine key parts of your checkout funnel that may need improving.
In addition to using Google Analytics, tools such as HotJar and SessionCam can also help you uncover usability issues across your website. For example, you could set up a feedback poll to identify issues and get real customer feedback.
These polls could be placed on the problem pages you identified above in the checkout process.
Thankfully, there are things that eCommerce retailers can check to ensure their checkout process meets expectations and negates abandonments. Retailers can:
- Make “Add to Cart” buttons simple and clear. All CTA buttons should always have clear instructions. Try to avoid getting too clever with the copy when it comes to the Add to Cart CTA. Users feel more comfortable using wording that they’re familiar with.
- Clearly display the “Pay Now” button. This is the most important CTA of them all, so don’t over complicate it. Ensure it’s in button form and clearly displayed at either the head of the page or below the listed checkout items.
- Reduce form fields. Research shows that checkouts with less than 6-8 form fields have a higher performance rate during the checkout process. Try to stick to necessary fields like a full name, address, and contact information.
- Offer a guest checkout. Some customers who purchase from you may not want to make an account or may want to come back and make a fully-fledged account later. A guest checkout helps these customers complete their purchase because there are no barriers in the shape of forms to fill in beforehand.
- Display incentives. Incentives like free shipping and free returns could sway a customer who is torn between your store and a competitor. Free returns are especially effective as they provide an extra level of security for a customer who may be a first-time buyer from your store.
Even the smallest improvements in your checkout UX can have a significant impact on how much money your store makes.
Checkout optimization is a dedicated field of eCommerce, and every eCommerce store should always be looking to tweak things in conjunction with this, no matter how established the store maybe.
Easy delivery & returns policy
The most common reason consumers abandon their shopping carts is because they are presented with additional, unexpected costs when it comes to checking out.
With this in mind, one instant fix that eCommerce websites can make to boost their customer experience is to offer free shipping and display this prominently on their site. Of course, this can be done when a certain spending threshold is reached to save on margin and remain profitable.
(Data via Walker Sands (2018)
Free shipping removes the worry customers have about experiencing hidden costs once they’re at the final stages of the checkout process. It can also make them more willing to buy from you if a competitor in your industry is not offering the same.
An offer of free shipping has been repeatedly proven to influence consumer behavior on a psychological level and boost the average order value. The reason is that customers are more inclined to pay more for a product and receive free shipping than they are to save on the product and have to pay shipping costs.
By presenting them with this offer and making the entire checkout process more transparent, you stand in good stead to boost your AOV as well as your conversion rate.
A clear and easy return policy, perhaps even free returns, is also a great move for eCommerce stores. Especially those operating in the clothing industry. 33% of shoppers deliberately over-purchase and subsequently return unwanted items according to Barclaycard Research.
UK clothing retailer JD Sports clearly displays its delivery and return policy in a clearly visible banner on the homepage, with links also visible in the website’s footer. This allows users to quickly and easily access important information which can quickly get rid of some barriers to purchase.
Once a user lands on the returns page information is clearly presented with multiple options available to the customer.
A thoughtful content strategy
When your customer visits your store to buy, it is because they either desire your product, or they have a need for it. One way of enticing them to purchase your product is to create a viable content marketing strategy around it.
Creating content that is based on product USPs, or showcasing how it solves a problem clarifies their desire or need to purchase your product.
The easiest way to supply this messaging to your customers is to write a series of blog posts around your type of product. For example, an eCommerce store selling evening wear could create gift guides, style-advice, informative blog posts around materials used in the garments, or updates and information about the latest trends.
Not only does this help your store become an authoritative voice in your industry, but it also provides value to your customers and reassures them that their need to purchase your product is valid.
Whilst the standard formats of content, such as blog posts and videos, will always be important don’t limit yourself to just them.
A great example of this in the world of eCommerce is using quizzes, which have been widely adopted in the beauty industry.
When purchasing skincare and beauty products it can be difficult for customers to find the right product to address their skin concerns. By offering a quick quiz you can ask the same questions about skin type and issues as an in-store assistant would. You can see a live example of this here from BeautyBio.
The impact of this quiz was quite significant. BeautyBio saw a 28% increase in AOV and was able to discover more profitable groups of customers that they could target in their campaigns.
Pointers that you can use to form your content strategy include:
- Ensuring you know the purpose of each of your pieces of content. Is it to persuade? Inform? Entertain? Make sure you know what its role is and where it fits into your strategy.
- Ensuring the content is aligned with search intent. Sharing your content to your social media channels will drive great traffic. However blog posts can drive repeated organic traffic if they rank well enough in Google, so ensure that you are targeting a select amount of keywords or search terms with each blog.
- Think strategically and systematically, not randomly. It’s best to create a regular publishing calendar so that you can build a following with your blogs.Always-ready live chat
One way of improving your customer experience is by streamlining your customer support. A good level of customer service, with set processes and SLA’s, will need to be established. This needs to run through every part of the journey, from delivery and returns to social media.
Live chat is an option that can resolve urgent customer issues much faster than email communication or phone calls can. It also reassures customers that you will be on hand to help with their queries instantly.
Live chat has become the leading digital contact method for online customers, as a staggering 46% of customers prefer live chat compared to just 29% for email, and 16% for social media.
Statistics also revealed that live chat can increase conversion rates. Customers that engage with live chat features tend to spend around 60% more per purchase, and if a first-time visitor engages with live chat features, their visit is also 2.8 times more likely to result in a purchase.
Added to this 92% of customers said they felt most assured during their customer journey when a live chat feature was displayed.
Live chat can also provide your store with real-time feedback on your products, price, and website intuitiveness, too.
Personalized customer experience for ecommerce
Finally, another way to exemplify your customers’ experience on your website is by giving them a personalized journey. From what page they land on, to what products you cross-sell this can all be personalized.
Evergage’s recently published 2020 Trends in Personalization report found that around 97% of marketers reported a lift in their conversions due to new personalization methods. This figure was up 7% from the previous year.
Personalization is no longer limited to just using a customer’s name in email marketing efforts. Instead, product offers, content, and ads can all be personalized to reflect a user’s experience.
Research conducted by Yieldify in July 2020 with 400 eCommerce leaders across the US and UK found that personalization across all channels is present, website personalization leads the pack, ahead of channels such as SMS (42% personalization adoption) and mobile apps (56% personalization adoption).
Data such as real-time location information and product browsing history can display relevant offers to users, or even recommended other products that customers of a similar purchasing style have bought. This will allow you to create an eCommerce personalization strategy that improves the customer experience and drives more sales.
Best Ecommerce Customer Experience
To summarize, a store offering a good customer experience can reap rewards such as:
- Higher levels of customer retention
- Increased amounts of loyal customers
- Higher Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and Average Order Value (AOV)
- Increased referrals leading to increased profits
- Higher amounts of revenue and faster growth
Following these 6 tips can help make the difference between a store that receives low conversions because of unsatisfactory customer experience, and a store that experiences great success thanks to happy customers.