13 Ways to Improve Your eCommerce Customer Experience
In the summer of 2015, Econsultancy.com conducted a survey asking businesses what they were looking forward to focusing on most in the future.
Of all the people surveyed, 47% of B2C businesses put customer service at the top of their list to focus on in order to differentiate themselves form their competitors.
This goes to show how important the online customer service experience has become in recent times, more so now than in the past.
1. Quick page load times
One of the first things to frustrate customers is not being able to get to the page they clicked.
If your load time for pages is more than 6 seconds, you are going to have a serious problem with bounce rates as customers get bored and go elsewhere.
Make sure you audit your site regularly with tools like GT Metrix in order to find any performance problems that need resolving.
2. Easy to navigate
Overly complicated category structures leave customers feeling lost and frustrated. Whether they are trying to find a particular item to buy, or are just browsing, they want the process to be as simple as possible.
Your category structure should help guide your customers through the buying process so they know precisely where to go and when.
Take a good look at all of your products and the categories they are in and ask yourself:
- Are my categories optimised with the correct products?
- Are my categories clearly defined in the menu?
- Do I offer filters to help customers search better?
3. High quality images (and lots of them!)
This one is especially important if you are selling physical products, like clothing or electrical appliances, as customers want to see exactly what they are paying for.
Contact the manufacturer and get as many images as you can. Or, if you produce your own stock, invest in a proper photography session.
A great technique is to take photos of your product in use, such as cooking implements or clothing on a model, so your customers can see exactly how it will look once they buy it.
The more images you have, the better.
4. Formatted content
Some products and services will have a lot of accompanying content, which can be a slog for some customers to read through.
Make it easier for them by breaking up long pieces of text with headings, bullet points and formatting.
You can learn more about how to improve your product pages here.
5. Customer reviews
If you have product or business reviews on your site, make sure they are prominent and visible to visitors.
Business reviews look good on a slider on your homepage, and every product with a review should have it displayed somewhere on the page.
You can link up with review sites, such as TrustPilot, which can draw business reviews onto your website.
6. Put a face on your brand
No one likes dealing with a faceless corporation, no matter how affordable or fast the products or services are.
Give customers access to information about your company with a comprehensive About Us page.
Keep it updated regularly with company news and events and, if you are a relatively small business, you could include some details about your staff.
7. Contact details
If your customers want to get in touch, they want to do it quickly and painlessly, so ensure you have plenty of contact options in place.
Some people will prefer email to phone, and others will want a contact form so you can contact them later at a more convenient time.
Make sure that your contact details are visible on every page – categories, products and services – so they are always available when needed.
8. Good design
Your website might be fantastically well-built and have lightning fast load times, but if it doesn’t look good, you could still be turning away potential customers.
Design isn’t just about making things look pretty, it’s about tailoring your pages to help guide customers towards a sale.
Find out more about designing the perfect product page here.
9. Responsive inventory
A big frustration for many online customers is getting to a product page, only to find it is out of stock.
This not only denies you a sale, but also damages your company’s reputation in the eyes of that customer. It is unlikely they will come back if they find the product they want elsewhere.
Ensure that your stock levels are maintained as quickly as possible and, if you are out of stock, give your customer another option so they are less likely to leave empty-handed.
10. Live chat
For some businesses, Live Chat is a fantastic tool for customer interaction.
Large companies, like Sky and Netflix, use Live Chat so that customers can talk to them directly about their issues and get it resolved at the same time, rather than waiting for an email response.
In today’s society, it is also invaluable for customers who are working at the time, but still need their problem resolved.
11. No hidden costs
Getting your customer through the sales process can be tricky, so don’t fall at the last hurdle by springing a hidden cost on your customers.
Be clear on every product page what your customers expect to pay. Clearly display delivery charges somewhere on the page itself or via a pop up/tab option.
When the customer reaches the checkout, they should already know what they will be expected to pay.
12. Free Delivery
This is a popular selling point for so many online businesses these days.
If your business can afford it, you should definitely be offering it.
Customers are getting to the point where they expect it as standard, so if your competitors give Free Delivery and you don’t, you know who the customer is going to choose.
13. Easy to understand returns & charges
Sometimes things don’t work out like you hoped, but that doesn’t mean you have to lose a customer for life.
How you handle a returns request could mean the difference between a returning customer and one who never comes back.
Make the process as simple and painless as possible for both you and customer. Make it crystal clear what can be returned and what can’t, and if customers need to return an item, offering free postage is a great way to minimise any negative feedback.
If you tick off each of these 13 steps, you can ensure that your business is giving customers the best customer experience possible.
Each business is different however, so remember to always think in terms of ‘what will work for our customers?’ before implementing any changes.