Improve the e-commerce customer experience
The pandemic-induced e-commerce boom has permanently altered the way people shop. Retail e-commerce sales are forecasted to reach 8.1 trillion dollars by 2026. While it’s evident that e-commerce is experiencing explosive growth, it only amounts to 20% of total retail sales worldwide. Customers love to shop in-store. To browse and experience the products in person. To talk to employees and get advice on what they should buy. To try on new items and buy them instantly. When it comes to providing a personalized, social shopping experience, in-store beats e-commerce by a mile. As the competition in the e-com space gets fiercer, brands that can replicate in-store experiences online will have an edge over others. Because when it comes to e-commerce, customer experience is everything.
What is e-commerce customer experience?
E-commerce customer experience is the sum of all online interactions that a customer has with your brand. This includes everything from your app/website to ads to social media to support interactions and more.
E-commerce CX is holistic. As Blake Morgan explains,
“Customer experience (CX) considers everything the customer goes through—it’s everything the customer touches, tastes, smells, hears, and sees throughout the experience with the brand. It’s being almost obsessive about the experience the customer has with the brand.”
The E-commerce customer journey is not linear
It’s chaotic, omnichannel, and spread across multiple devices. It looks something like-
Stage 1. Awareness: A future customer becomes aware of your brand. For instance, they want to buy a pair of glasses and discover your brand through an ad, social media, or word of mouth.
Stage 2. Consideration: They browse your website/app, follow you on social media, chat with your support, etc.
Stage 3. Conversion or Acquisition: They go through checkout. Receive the package.
Stage 4. Service and support: As the customer uses your product, they contact customer care for resolving issues. For automobiles and consumer durables, they periodically visit the contact center for servicing.
Stage 5. Retention: The customer keeps using your product. They receive newsletters and exclusive offers from you. They redeem them for discounts. and recommend it to their friends and family.
Stage 6. Referral: They review your product and recommend it to their friends and family for additional discounts.
Great e-commerce CX creates a flow of positive outcomes. Happy customers are most likely to
- leave good reviews,
- be more loyal
- recommend you to friends and family, and
- make multiple repeat purchases
This is great for organically improving your bottom line year-on-year. To provide a consistently great e-commerce customer experience, you must look at these touchpoints as one interconnected journey. Looking at these interactions in silos will never show you the whole story.
Please note that not all touchpoints of the e-commerce customer journey are within your company’s control. Business-owned touchpoints (website, ads, social media) are easier to control than third-party touchpoints (amazon reviews and referrals). Your goal must be to support customers in a way that makes them feel important and happy.
Benefits of improving e-commerce customer experience
Your customers are the heroes of your growth story. As per Mckinsey’s Research, improving the customer experience has raised sales revenues by 2 to 7 percent. Additionally,
- 76% of consumers say brands must show empathy by understanding their frustrations and knowing what’s important to them.
- 90% say the experience a company delivers matters as much as products or services.
So improving e-commerce customer experience boosts-
- Customer loyalty
- Customer retention
- Customer lifetime value (CLV)
- Referral, and
It also improves brand strength and brand value.
How to improve the e-commerce customer experience?
Before we get to some of the ways you can improve the e-commerce experience, you must take a step back and think about the best ways of doing so for your customers. Every business and every customer base is unique. Ultimately, you know your customer best and are the best judge of their needs and requirement.
Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, here are some of the best ways to improve your e-commerce customer experience.
1. Collect and utilize customer feedback
Collect customer feedback at every important touchpoint. Use metrics such as CSAT (customer satisfaction score), NPS (net promoter score), and CES (customer effort score) to see the complete picture. Analyze and contextualize these scores to discover problem areas leading to dissatisfaction and churn. Develop strategies based on this analysis to proactive solve emerging customer issues and delight them.
If this sounds complicated to do on your own, team up with an experience management solution like us.
2. Optimize for mobile
Mobile e-commerce has been hailed as the future of e-commerce. If you don’t believe us, look at these stats-
- In the US, mobile commerce revenue reached $431 billion in 2022.
- In the last 6 months, almost 80% of users have bought online using their mobile phones.
- More than 51% of users prefer mobile web apps to other shopping channels.
So make sure that your website or e-commerce store is optimized (in functionality and content) for mobile devices. Providing a seamless shopping experience across both mobile and web is supremely important.
3. Personalization by leaning into new technology
New e-commerce technologies such as conversational commerce, visual search, voice search, and AI bots help you replicate the personalized, in-store experience online. Consumers expect personalized communication and experience from all brands. In the last few years, it has evolved from a good-to-have to a must-have. While it isn’t easy to personalize experience at scale, using emerging technologies makes it easier.
4. Provide a considerate and proactive support
Sometimes you’ll have to reach out to customers and sometimes, they’ll reach out to you. When that happens make sure that you help them every step of the way. Simple things like having a support bot, FAQs, contact details, and a complaint form on your website can go a long way in making your customers feel heard.
5. Make return painless
It is a truth universally acknowledged that every e-commerce business has to deal with product returns. Nothing inspires customer trust more than an easy and painless return process.
The cutthroat competition in the e-commerce space has made customer experience more important than ever. As we always say, there is no one-size-fits-all. Your e-commerce customer experience strategy must be customized to your business, customer base, and goals. To become your customers’ only choice, you must provide a stellar experience. And this experience must last the entire e-commerce customer journey.
Want to outgrow your competition and improve your revenue? Contact us and we’ll do the heavy lifting for you.