Both traditional and e-commerce customer experience are essential for any B2C (business to consumer) venture, regardless of the goods or services marketed. Though, this particularly more important in the e-commerce sector.
Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar shops, e-commerce stores don’t directly interact with customers. Thus, it is crucial for them to curate every detail of the corporate image and to keep an eye on public perception. You want your customers to have a seamless and memorable shopping experience.
What Is Customer Experience?
Customer Experience (CX) is a marketing studies concept. It consists of all the different feelings customers have when approaching and dealing with a business. Customer Experience goes beyond the buying needs and the law of demand and supply. It includes non-material dimensions such as aesthetics, friendliness, accessibility and corporate ethics.
In competitive environments, such as the world of e-commerce, it’s not enough to deliver quality products in a short time. It is vital to stand out in your interaction with your customers, at each stage of the sale process. From when they approach your website, all the way through the check-out, ending with post-sale assistance.
If your customers are happy with the sale experience, they will likely return. They may even become your brand ambassadors, starting a profitable cycle and providing free publicity. A good customer experience boosts customer retention and loyalty, thus playing a pivotal role in your trade’s growth. Our article on How to Benefit from Customer Experience Innovation gives more insights into this topic.
How Can You Improve Your E-commerce Customer Experience?
There are several actions you can take to improve your store’s customer experience. Some may need the help of a developer, while others are easier to implement and are sometimes offered by e-commerce platforms.
To learn more about the most popular e-commerce platforms, check out our article on How to Start a Booming E-commerce Business.
Consider these points when planning your e-commerce customer experience:
The Graphic Layout Needs To Be Visually Appealing
Your website design should offer a pleasant and easy shopping experience. Categorise your products into clear sections and include a search function.
If you’re a beginner, don’t be afraid of using site templates – they are often well-tested and deliver a satisfactory visual experience. Try to use white or a bright colour for the background. Use only high-quality pictures and avoid quirky colours and typefaces for text: simplicity always wins!
Your Website Should Be Mobile-friendly
Today, mobile is king. Make sure your website is optimised for smartphones and tablets. If the mobile experience is flawed or slow, potential customers won’t make the effort of turning on the PC to access your website. They will just switch to a competitor who offers a better mobile shopping experience.
This is significant, as a survey by Statista shows that only in the second quarter of 2022, 60% of US online sales were completed using mobile devices. If your business is big enough to justify the investment, consider developing an App for smartphones.
Offer a Personalised Shopping Experience
It is important that online shopping meets your customers’ tastes and expectations. It’s useful to add a wish list where the customers can add liked items in a separate list, before buying them. Incorporate a review system for customers to easily leave feedback on the products bought.
Furthermore, AI (Artificial Intelligence) could boost product recommendations. Your customers will see suggestions automatically generated according to previous purchases and visited pages. Speak to your developer on how to install this system on your website.
Don’t Forget About Ethics and Sustainability
Customers want to know where you source your items. They want to know how sustainable they are and if the workers who produce them receive adequate wages. Your products must be traceable, and you should lay out clear ethical guidelines when it comes to your suppliers. This will be greatly appreciated by your customers and will improve your business reputation, thanks to the positive media coverage you will attract.
Provide Competent and Tailored Customer Support
Customer care is essential to customer experience. It is the main interface between you and the customers for any issues they may have before, during, and after a purchase. Your customer care specialists are effectively your company’s voice and human face. So, train them to be friendly, efficient, and empathetic.
Make sure customers can reach you through different live channels: phone, online chat and social media must be easily accessible. Monitor your customer care service level’s KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). The resolution time for all enquiries should never exceed 24 hours.
Keep In Mind Security and Data Protection
No one wants to type in credit card digits on a non-encrypted website. Ensure to employ reliable payment platforms, and make it clear in the final stage of the purchasing process. Your customers must know the transaction will be safe.
Another aspect to consider is data protection, which needs to be treated with extreme care – especially if your company is based in the EU. European GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) law requires you to handle all the customers’ data, from personal addresses to the list of products purchased, in line with stringent regulations.
You must also allow the customers to have all their data deleted via a simple request. Not complying with these regulations may result in serious legal issues and cost you hefty fines. It is advisable to learn more about European GDPR before starting an e-commerce business.
Guarantee Generous Return Policies
As for data protection, regulations on returns vary across different countries. In the EU, you must grant your customers a minimum of 14 days to return their items. Even if it’s not required by law, increasing the return deadline and providing free returns may give you an edge over your competitors. Learn from successful ventures: the fashion retailer Zalando offers free returns within 100 days from the date of purchase.
Listen to Your Employees
To improve and streamline your processes, you should implement a feedback system for your employees. Their feedback is invaluable, so take some time to listen to them. After all, they are the ones directly observing customer experience.
Make Your Store Accessible for Everybody
Not all people are able-bodied. Make sure to optimise your website with text-to-speech and Braille reader software. Also, avoid flashy animations and videos, as this might cause problems for people who have epilepsy.
Lastly, allow visitors to easily zoom in and invert colours, to cater for those suffering from eyesight disorders. Check out this article to learn more about accessibility in e-commerce customer experience.
In e-commerce, there’s more to success than providing cheap products and quick delivery. Your customers will appreciate and remember the quality of their interaction with your store. A good customer experience strategy plans from the early stages of your venture onward. Consider all the crucial customer touchpoints: web design, customer care, security and accessibility.
For a successful business, build it around your customers’ needs and expectations.