Customer experience is swiftly becoming one of the most important metrics for businesses to track. With a large segment of the consumer population conducting their shopping online through a variety of devices, ensuring a positive customer experience becomes more complex.
How can businesses optimize their e-commerce channels to generate the most leads and retain customers? Here are several ways to keep customers happy and spending money online.
1. Optimize Website Content
It’s important to make sure the site’s content communicates the product offering in a concise and compelling way, namely through the eyes of the consumer. That isn’t always reflected in a brand’s website design as less than 3 percent of conversions happen when a consumer navigates to a product page from the homepage. Though that number arguably rises if the consumer lands on the product page directly, the fact still remains that optimizing site content is of paramount importance to businesses.
Product descriptions should be minimalistic yet engaging. No one wants to have to scroll through lengthy explanations to understand what they’re potentially buying, but it’s still necessary to sell them at this stage. Deploying breadcrumbs on a site, especially one with a lot of different product categories helps customers easily navigate without getting lost.
That also extends through the checkout experience. Clearly outlining shipping and return information, including prominently displayed secure checkout language, minimizes cart abandonment prior to finalizing a purchase because consumers feel safer entering their information and know their options if they don’t like a product or simply change their mind..
2. Live Customer Service
In today’s on-demand age, no customer wants to wait to receive customer service online. Many businesses are deploying virtual assistants and support chatbots to help guide customers through their shopping experience without the associated costs of human representatives. Not only are chatbots cheaper, but they can be available to customers round the clock, a major advantage over human employees.
Chatbots have grown in use by e-retailers due to their convenient setup process, relative affordability and simplistic interface. Though the machine learning algorithms powering their ability to respond to more complex and conversational queries still has a ways to go before it resembles human speech, it has proven to be popular on platforms like Facebook and other technology provides.
By answering basic FAQS, initiating support tickets, and providing product information when requested, these automated support tools help push consumers down the sales funnel by providing guidance that helps justify a purchase. Since cart abandonment accounts for 2 to 4 trillion dollars in reported losses by businesses per year, any assistance that keeps customers on a site longer increases the likelihood of conversion and puts some of that money back in the pockets of online retailers.
3. Provide Opportunities for Feedback
What did customers like about the experience? What was missing? These are questions that aren’t always answered in the boardroom or at the e-marketing level. Although 80 percent of brands believe they deliver “superior experiences”, only 8 percent of customers agree. Getting actionable data from real customers helps brands develop products and solutions with the consumer in mind, which ultimately drives revenue.
More people share bad experiences than share good ones. That disconnect means companies need to connect with their target audience on a deeper level and react proactively to both positive and negative feedback. The first step is incentivizing consumers to leave reviews and comments, and respond to targeted survey requests. Many online retailers accomplish this by providing a discount code or giveaway opportunity, or encouraging customers to use their social platforms. It’s always a good idea to develop branded hashtags, and monitor social channels for brand mentions, whether they’re good or bad. Companies like Southwest Airlines and Sephora that routinely top lists of “best customer experience” typically get there in part from their swift response to complaints and callouts across their social channels.
E-commerce will continue to grow in popularity over the coming years, especially given the prevalence of smart home devices used in product searches. If businesses want to stay ahead, they have to work hard to understand the customer journey, and how that relates to their brand’s online shopping experience. Every detail, down to the way products are displayed on a page, can influence a purchase decision.It’s vital to consider the angles carefully and be able to pivot as necessary.
This is a guest post by: Amanda Peterson, Enlightened-Digital
Contributor to Enlightened Digital and software engineer from the one, the only New York City. When I’m not trying to find the best record store in the city, you can find me curling up to watch some Netflix with my Puggle, Hendrix.