This is a guest post submitted by Phillip Akhzar from Arka.
Running an online business can be very demanding and frustrating at the same time.
Business owners must deal with new trends, fulfilment strategies, innovation, regulations, and ever-growing demands. Online shoppers are aware of this fact, which is why they demand nothing but the best customer experience before they buy.
Today more than ever, customers tend to value businesses that anticipate their needs and cater to their satisfaction.
It's not as if ecommerce businesses are not paying attention to customer experience. Most ecommerce businesses recognize customer experience as their great differentiator. After all, in ecommerce, you're competing with the entire internet, not just the store next door.
And most businesses already pour a lot of resources into creating a great customer experience. This doesn't mean they're doing so in the right way.
In this article, we are going to show you 5 ways to ensure a rich ecommerce customer experience.
What is ecommerce customer experience?
Customer experience (CX) is the different interactions a customer has with a business across every physical and digital touchpoint.
It is the perception customers have of your brand after doing business with you, whether the experience takes place in-store, online, or over the phone.
Ecommerce customer experience is the digital experience your business delivers to a customer.
Unlike the physical experience, ecommerce customer experience focuses on how your business communicates and interacts with its customers online.
It starts when the customer visits your website and runs till the product is delivered on their doorstep.
Ecommerce customer experience helps your brand plan and develop experiences that will guide both the new and old customers during their buyer journey.
As simple as this seems, many ecommerce brands are struggling to create a great customer experience.
The truth is most of these businesses still do not recognize that the entire project is consumer-focused. It is not about what the brand needs at the time.
For instance, as much as you want to influence your business's website design, you still have to make sure that the site is responsive and fit for a better user experience (UX) otherwise the entire project is useless.
The first and most important rule in initiating an ecommerce customer experience strategy is to understand that it is not about you.
To effectively create a great experience, you must review every step of the buying journey, and research how customers search for a product. Also, you have to understand how online shoppers evaluate their options.
Try to find out why they choose one product over another. Is it price, or something else that makes customers go for one product and not the other?
Having researched all these, you should be able to come up with directions and content that will not only help them make a better decision but also make the buyer journey fun and stress-free.
Now more than ever, businesses can leverage modern tools and technology to help facilitate great website design and deliver a personalized experience.
Your customers can now buy what they want quickly and more efficiently.
The truth is, nowadays people always expect an improved digital experience. And as soon as they get it, their expectations for better services will increase significantly.
Only ecommerce businesses providing a unique and memorable customer experience will survive the competition.
When customers enjoy the buying experience on your website, there's a higher chance they will purchase from you again.
5 ways you can deliver a rich ecommerce customer experience
Sometimes businesses suffer because they know what to do, but not know how to do it. Still, many ecommerce businesses are yet to recognize the problem.
When it comes to delivering ecommerce customer experience, especially quality services, the how is more important than the what. That's why a brand can turn a common idea into a sale solution.
You can have a strategy for improving customer experience that is not effective. That's why you need to evaluate your success rate every time.
There are effective ways for businesses to improve their customer experience, and they include:
1. Improved content and product information
Modern business involves selling the right information to customers before actual purchase. Today, consumers need every bit of information they could get to make their purchase decision.
The need for consumers to be informed increased as a result of the pandemic. Businesses that responded to this need are likely to get more patronage than others.
A recent study revealed that 32 percent of the businesses in America currently provide rich and detailed product information.
Brands should tell customers the product they have, why theirs is better, the available stock, and the actual price of the products. This information should be readily available on your website.
Besides, you must also build a strong connection with customers using an inspiring story, or personalized content such as how-to-use-it content, and the benefits of having a product feature.
Don't forget to focus on creating a responsive website too. Customers like the feeling of being able to navigate a website with minimal difficulty.
2. Make purchase and delivery options flexible
The fact that customers are free to choose from several options does not mean they will struggle to settle for one. It also does not mean that your budget will be affected negatively.
Lack of flexibility in purchase and delivery options is killing so many ecommerce businesses today. Customers are not just buying the product, they're also looking out for the best offers, deals, and extra benefits.
As consumer demand continues to deepen, giving customers the power to choose what is more convenient is a very effective business gesture.
Customers easily take this to mean that you're willing to bend the rules for them. They feel they're in control whenever they are allowed to choose.
This is one of the best ways to improve customer experience significantly. For instance, your business can communicate that customers will get their goods delivered to them within 24 hours after purchase.
With customer benefits such as shop now pay later, pay by invoice, downloadable VAT invoices, and spending trackers, businesses will increase their customer's experience significantly.
3. Focus on delivering personalized experience
In ecommerce, everything should elicit personal satisfaction. If individuals can't relate to your service positively then it's just not good enough.
Before, businesses made use of different means such as discounts, promo-codes, personalized messaging, and other means to create personalized experiences. This was effective enough since it reminded customers how valuable they are.
However, with the introduction of AI, personalized experience has taken a different turn. Integrating personalized content with the help of AI is a common trend in ecommerce today. It helps businesses respond to a change in consumer behavior quickly.
With AI, you can display your products based on customer-driven performance data and top business priorities. This helps each person to recognize what they need exactly from your product.
4. Intelligent search
Big ecommerce brands understand that site search is the primary tool for building carts and optimizing conversions.
Your search box is the only reasonable sales funnel you've got. If it is not capable of providing the answers your customers need, you'll struggle to make sales.
Most ecommerce search boxes are designed in a way that makes them very responsive to certain keywords. This is great, but not good enough.
A keyword search may not deliver exactly what your customers need since results are organized based on categories.
Instead of using keywords, you can use intuitive, tailored search capabilities to improve customer experience.
Customers want relevant search results delivered to them in one piece. It is stressful to search for the same thing twice.
They want to know what you're selling, and they want to see what you have to say about the products. You must be able to provide accurate information about what is in stock and the benefits of buying the product.
You can't get all these by focusing on keywords alone. An intelligent semantic search will consider words in context, just like a human clerk would do.
5. Create mobile-friendly websites
Mobile users are very important for ecommerce sales. Still, most ecommerce websites are not responsive to most mobile devices.
What this means is that many phone users will not enjoy purchasing from their mobile devices. This is surprising when you consider the staggering importance of mobile users to online businesses.
According to a study in America, 79 percent of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile phone device in the last month.
The fact remains that you cannot run a successful ecommerce business without considering mobile users. For this to happen, you must first ensure that your website can adapt to whatever user accessing it.
Next, you have to ensure that all buttons, links, and calls to action have the right size and margin to avoid difficulty.
Since mobile websites are usually viewed on much smaller screens, the use of visual content such as infographics and videos is preferred to reading lengthy text.
Lastly, you must increase your form input fields to enable mobile users to fill out forms.
Why you should invest in ecommerce customer experience
There are several reasons why every ecommerce platform must focus on creating the best customer experience, and they include but not limited to:
1. It fosters customer loyalty
With the way the internet is structured, you are going to face a lot of competition each time there is a buyer for what you say.
The fact is, for every product you sell on the internet, you’re probably deprived of more than a hundred potential customers. However, you cannot make sales if you don’t stand out.
Since customers can purchase the same product from a host of other brands, you have to offer something else for them to buy from you.
In ecommerce, customers respond to brands that show what they offer as opposed to brands that make unrealistic promises. A customer may buy from you once, and that may be the last time they will do business with you.
With great customer experience, brands are certainly going to make loyal customers out of individuals that purchase from them.
If customers cannot find what differentiates them from others on their own, it means you are not doing well enough.
Remember, it is only ecommerce platforms with loyal customers that stay in the game, and loyalty is often tied to customer experience.
You have to ensure that your website and the buyer journey are second to none. Let them feel that you know what they need, and how they feel.
2. It facilitates sales
Every ecommerce business knows that loyal customers translate to more sales.
Now more than ever, customers are making intelligent decisions. That's why they would rather buy from a brand that is committed to sustainable packaging, or a brand that uses premium packaging.
Today, customers tend to stick to a brand that shows they can handle their needs. From product search to accurate product information to directions, and personalized experience, customers want to feel secure buying from you.
A good ecommerce customer experience is one way to make all this happen. Once you can get this in the pipeline, you have created a mechanism that improves sales.
You'll be able to attract a lot of potential clients visiting your site for the first time. Besides, you also encourage repeat business as customers are satisfied with their purchase experience.
Even if you have to sell at a higher price than competitors, creating the right customer experience will still help you sell.
The truth is, customers are willing to pay more for what is worth it. According to a recent survey, nearly 40 percent of customers and 56 percent of B2B customers said they would pay more for a better experience.
Around the same number also said they would not buy from a business again if the experience had been poor.
The fact remains that many ecommerce platforms are struggling to provide basic functions such as relevant search results and clear product information.
Once you're able to provide both, and your customers can easily find their way through your website, you'll be making more sales.
3. It propels your business growth
Business growth is very crucial in ecommerce solutions. It is every business dream to grow over time.
While there are many ways to grow, creating the right customer experience is one of the most effective ways to grow your business.
Now, a lot of business experts know how important customer experience is. 98 percent of business decision-makers believe that not providing a seamless customer experience has important business implications.
Out of the 98 percent, some think not providing a great customer experience affects your business's Net Promoter Score negatively.
Another group thinks it leads to a reduction in customer visits, while others say it leads to loss of revenues and market share to direct competitors.
Every ecommerce business needs to start working on improving its customer experience. As customers are changing their purchase behavior often, providing a seamless experience may be your only chance to keep up.
Now that you have seen some of the tricks to deliver a great customer experience, you can bet on them and make your business stand out.
About the author:
Phillip Akhzar is the CEO of Arka. Arka is the brand & product packaging company of ecommerce. They create fast and easy custom boxes your customers will love.