The customer experience of interacting with an online sales page has a great impact on their overall brand opinion. You can keep your customers happy in many ways. There are many good practices that you can apply to your virtual store. You must, however, remember that the customer experience doesn't end when the transaction is completed.
What is an ecommerce customer experience?
Ecommerce customer experience is the general feeling of a customer regarding the interaction with our company on the web. The customer experience in ecommerce consists of the emotions evoked during every contact with the brand and its presence on the Internet. This means that the creation of good customer experience in the ecommerce industry is also influenced by factors such as the activity in social media, the conducted advertising campaigns, or the quality of the services provided by the employees of the online customer service office – not only by the satisfaction with the purchases made via particular platforms. Ecommerce customer experience is an extremely broad term relating to the perception of the brand by the customer, based on the experience related to that brand. Large companies selling via the Internet are competing in coming up with new, interesting solutions for ecommerce that'll surprise buyers.
Are you wondering what the benefits of good ecommerce customer experience are? It's important to ensure the customer's satisfaction with contacts with our brand on the Internet because:
- You create valuable overall customer experience. The positive feelings related to interacting with your brand online are the key to building trust and loyalty among your target audience and customers. These feelings reinforce the loyalty of regular customers.
- You provide value before you ask for making a purchase. By guaranteeing satisfaction from using your website, app or from browsing your channels on social media, you increase the customers' confidence in your brand and the overall quality of the customer service.
- You prepare the customer to make a conscious purchase. Thanks to having an intuitive platform, which will contain all the relevant information about products and transaction details, you increase the probability that the customer will be satisfied and that the purchased product or service will allow them to achieve their goals in the best possible way.
- You have the opportunity to create a unique brand style through a specific approach to the customer and a functionality package with which you'll equip your sales website.
As many as 32% of respondents claim that one bad experience with a brand is enough for them to abandon it and lean towards other companies. If you don't try to improve the customer experience, you may have trouble achieving success in the ecommerce industry. Below, we list the elements that should be kept in mind when planning to improve the customer's satisfaction with the contacts with our brand on the web.
Elements influencing the shaping of the ecommerce experience
The customer experience begins to form long before they decide to make their first purchase on our sales platform. We can distinguish three types of experiences: presale, during sale and aftersales.
Presale customer experience
These experiences begin to take shape when the customer hears about your brand. The first contact might consist of visiting your blog or store, but it doesn't have to. Your prospects may see your post on social media first, so choose your communication channels carefully and get involved in promoting your brand.
Presale experiences are influenced by the actions that the online retailer undertakes before the customer starts the purchasing process. These are the activities such as customizing the online store page, adding free value in the form of a blog or other interesting materials, personalizing the content on the page or advertising campaigns. The customer should always be at the centre of your efforts. It's their feelings and needs that should be met. Before you start implementing new ideas, it's worth conducting an audit. This consists of assessing the quality of the content available on the page, the navigation and the page's functionality.
An online store or a sales application isn't only a tool for running a business, but also a showcase of the brand. Therefore, when introducing changes to improve the website, it's necessary to take care of the eye-catching, individual design of the online store. Readability and proper layout of the page is essential. You can ensure brand consistency by using the right colours, styles and graphic elements. You'll probably want to include a place for the newsletter subscription form on your page to establish constant contact with the interested recipient. Learn how to put the form on the page so that it doesn't scare the users away.
You can save your customers unnecessary frustration by preparing a FAQ with answers to the frequently asked questions, which will be helpful for new visitors to your page. Keeping a blog and actively exchanging views with the customers in the comment section or efficiently responding to email inquiries also affects the customer experience. The advertising activities are also important, for example – the campaigns conducted with the use of mailing tools. Marketing automation tools will help you better collect information about the customers, make it easier to get to know them and communicate better.
Customer experience during sale
Availability of specifications is paramount when selecting products. The customer must know what they purchase. Providing detailed information in the description and adding a few high-quality photos will make it easier for the users to make a choice and reduce the likelihood of feeling dissatisfied with the ordered product. Clear transaction rules – concerning the delivery, returns or complaints - also positively impact the customer experience in the ecommerce industry. When considering ways to improve customer satisfaction, don't forget to clearly communicate your inventory in the event of a product being out-of-stock, e.g. put a note underneath the product that it has been sold out and inform when it'll be available.
A well-thought-out recommendation system won’t only help you increase the average value of the cart, but also help the customers get to the products that may be of interest to them faster. In addition to recommending items to the customers based on analysis of their purchase history or other customers' purchases, you can use a lot of other interesting solutions on your website. E-commerce functionalities that are interesting and make life easier for customers include advanced product search options, such as visual search, which shortens the search time and reduces the risk of frustration in the event of difficulties in finding the item.
Don't forget to regularly and efficiently fix errors on the online store page. There is nothing more annoying to the customer than an incorrectly functioning website. The inability to make a purchase quickly and easily means that the online store doesn't fulfil its function. If you don't know how to improve the page's performance, ask your customers about it by inviting them to participate in surveys about the functionality of your site. Also, remember to include catchy call-to-action slogans that can effectively motivate the user to undertake a specific action.
Quickly solving the difficulties your customers face when shopping gives you the opportunity to turn a negative experience into a positive one. A real-time chat or a chatbot serving customers on an ongoing basis works in many cases just as well as a call centre. A popup chat in a small window is very convenient for the customers – they don't need to search for it and it allows them to quickly ask a question. It can also be minimized when not in use. A chatbot can collect information about the functionality of the page, facilitate future modifications and support the customers on a regular basis. Designing chatbots has become an art, and creators compete in giving chatbots a more human-like feel and try to anticipate the needs of the customers.
Abandoning the cart by the customer is, unfortunately, quite a common reason why transactions aren’t getting finalized, and it often happens due to minor difficulties that can be quickly resolved by a consultant (e.g. when the customer doesn't know where to enter a discount code or how to get to the cart, to count the purchased goods) or a chatbot. The implementation of chats and chatbots will certainly minimize cart abandonment issues in the event of problems with finalizing the transaction.However, you shouldn't forget about real consultants. With efficient customer service, you may be able to help your customer make a purchase, but also to advise them when the product isn’t available. The implementation of new technologies doesn't have to be aimed at completely eliminating the role of a consultant, but rather at improving the work of the customer service office.
In the Statista web portal report for the third quarter of 2020, we can read that 55.4% of users in the world make purchases by phone. By remembering to ensure the satisfaction with visiting the online store on mobile devices, you guarantee your customers good ecommerce experience. You can invest in creating a sales mobile application. A responsive website or a progressive web application may be an ideal solution – especially since online shopping has become a kind of entertainment and a form of spending free time that many people participate in at various places.
Our customer care shouldn't end when the transaction is finalized. We should take care to streamline the processes such as submitting complaints, returns or claims as much as possible. At the same time, it's worth letting the customer understand that we appreciate their choice and try to improve the quality of service (surveys, thank you emails). Emails thanking for the purchase and asking for feedback are a nice touch. You can add to them a gift in the form of a discount code or limited content available only to selected customers of the online store (e.g. a report, e-book, blog entry).
Even after the transaction is finalized, quick contact with the customer service is important. If you want the buyer to become a loyal customer, you need to show them that you want to maintain a deep relationship with them, based on mutual respect and trust. After completing the purchasing process, it's also worth following the path of customers from the first contact with the ecommerce platform, as well as analyzing the aftersales activity, drawing conclusions and considering how you can improve the customer experience in the entire process.
The future belongs to the companies that, apart from the price, focus on the quality of the experience they offer to clients. However, caring for customer satisfaction in ecommerce isn't a one-off process, but will have to be maintained through the entire existence of the brand. That's why it's worth creating a good operating strategy at the very beginning and investing in the best technologies. As specialists in creating and modifying online store pages using Drupal Commerce and Sylius, we'll be happy to advise you on how to develop your store.