We’ve all been on both ends of the online shopping experience. You’re about to buy that new shirt online and you decide somewhere along the browsing experience that you really shouldn’t spend $48.95 on an item you don’t really need. Or, while running your business, you review your retail stats and come across a startlingly high number of abandoned carts, stopped at the exact same part of the checkout process.
In a world that is fast becoming fully digitalized, it’s no surprise the ecommerce customer experience has become streamlined, offering the fastest and easiest shopping experience to date. In 2019 alone, there were 263 million digital buyers in the United States. This number is projected to grow to nearly 282.7 million online buyers by 2024. The battle for consumer attention is constantly growing online, and only the best ecommerce suppliers meet the demands of the expanding consumer base.
How do these ecommerce businesses meet the demands of the online consumers flooding the internet? An immaculate customer experience. Improving and expanding the ecommerce experience guarantees that your customers trust your business to offer the most hassle-free and convenient experience online.
Looking for tips on how to enhance your customer experience? We’ve got you covered.
1. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
All customers are different. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits all solution to all your customer needs and there shouldn’t be! Every individual coming to your site is just that... an individual, and they should be treated as such. Constant contact is a given in ecommerce, and businesses not prioritizing communication with their customers are missing an important step when creating a successful ecommerce business.
Communicate with your customers by whatever means they so choose. Often called “me-commerce”, customers are constantly developing their needs and requirements to establish that brand relationship so many businesses crave. While some customers still wish to talk to someone one-on-one over a customer service call, many individuals will go out of their way to avoid chatting on the phone to resolve a problem.
Create multiple channels for customers to reach out about their questions, problems, and potential concerns. Nearly all ecommerce businesses have developed a live-chat function on their websites for outreach, while other businesses handle much of their communication via Twitter or Facebook Messenger.
The numbers don’t lie. According to Forrester, 45% of customers report reaching out to a company through online chat, 33% have contacted a company via Facebook, and 31% have communicated via Twitter. But that’s not all! Data from Microsoft shows that 66% of consumers have used at least three different communication channels to contact customer service.
Serving your customers on their preferred platform guarantees your customers’ expectations and needs are met effectively, the way they want. As an ecommerce provider, developing a strong multi-channel communication strategy guarantees your customers remain happy through any potential problems and throughout every purchase.
2. Create a Multi-Channel Ecommerce Strategy
Ecommerce is expanding at a rapid pace, and a multi-channel approach will bring business from the farthest corners of the internet to your site. Developing a multi-channel strategy for your business guarantees that your consumers can not only learn of your business and communicate with you via these platforms, they can also shop through these channels as well. More than 85% of customers prefer multi-channels for completing their shopping journey, after all.
Wondering what platforms to expand to outside of your home site? Try:
- Shopping related search engines (Google Shop, Bing Shopping, Shopzilla, etc.)
- Social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok and more)
- Text messages
The goal is always to catch the customer at the right moment... when they’re looking to buy. In order to really develop these channels and provide the best experience for consumers online, you may want to consider:
- The channels they prefer using or the platforms that are being used the most for communicating with customers.
- Apply effective buying strategies to these platforms, offering a seamless transition through the buying process, with little to no hassle.
- Create a consistent customer service standard across all channels for all customers throughout the buying journey.
The multi-channel approach guarantees that your ecommerce business is expanding through technology and offering an optimized shopping experience for your customers. Use these channels to build your brand and forge that customer relationship that was difficult to establish before these technologies emerged in the digital landscape.
3. Organization is Essential
Keeping track of customer conversations across sites and via email is key to the customer service experience. Make sure your team is well-equipped with the tools to help them work together and not let anything slip through the cracks (especially order requests and any customer complaints).
Tips for organization can involve creating a shared inbox, saved replies for frequently asked questions, and collision detection will empower your team to solve client needs in a cohesive, efficient manner. Try a project management platform such as Notion or Asana, programs built for collaboration and team management. Save yourself and your customers' future headache by really developing your business’ organization as you continue to expand!
4. Optimize Customer Service, Improve the Experience, Adapt as Needed
Your customer service approach is not set in stone. Adaptation is a key trait in any business and should be wielded effectively. Your company will go through immense changes in its lifetime, but making sure your customer experience grows with you is key to a successful business plan.
Learning about ongoing customer problems while constantly improving your tactics on how to resolve them offers a greater opportunity for strong B2C communication. Allow the numbers to guide your strategy by adopting a data-driven approach to determine what’s working and what needs to be improved. Take customer service surveys, ask them how their experience was, improve the difficulties, and keep adapting based on the feedback you receive.
Important numbers to keep track of include but are not limited to:
- Volume of customers browsing by channel
- Volume of customers purchasing by channel
- Busiest hours for site traffic
- Top selling items
When you begin measuring and optimizing these results, this data can benefit future decision making on a variety of fronts. Improve your customer service by remaining adaptable based on quantifiable numbers that define your business.
5. Streamline the Online Buying Experience
We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: consumers today no longer have the time or tolerance for a long-winded buying process. Brands that offer a ridiculously frictionless buying experience by avoiding unnecessary steps and streamlining the direct to cart process are guaranteed higher sales and less inconvenience for their customers.
Improving your customer experience is all about offering the easiest and most cohesive process to make a purchase right off the platform. Social commerce continues to grow as platforms expand and improve their capabilities. With Facebook Shops, Instagram Shopping and Native Stores on Pinterest gaining popularity, it’s no shock a handful of other online social commerce marketplaces are springing up.
Consider offering your products across all platforms, bringing together a seamless experience with a “one-click” buying process that brings them to the product page where they can immediately purchase the item that caught their eye. Yes, it’s really that easy!
Along with this, many ecommerce platforms have recognized the popularity of social commerce and are taking steps to integrate the two to offer a seamless process for the online consumer audience. With direct selling on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook via Shopify, it is now easier than ever to make sales on main social channels. In 2022, we can expect more integrations among these different platforms that will enhance the online experience for consumers and brands alike.
To learn more about Rising Social Commerce Trends for 2022, check out our blog post here.
6. Create a Trustworthy Shopping Experience
Many of the potential customers browsing your site have never heard of your brand before! This is an opportunity for your business to make its mark when it comes to developing customer loyalty. The key to developing that level of trust can include important website additions that elevate the online experience:
- Positive customer reviews
- Client testimonials
- Press coverage
- Contact numbers and live chat feature
- Physical address
- Trust and award badges
Never doubt the importance of a positive review. Your potential customers want to hear about the experiences of previous customers. Key to earning more customers, these reviews also offer insight into your business’ customer service experience. Brands are viewed more favorably by 77% of consumers if they proactively invite and accept customer feedback.
Along with this, 52% of people around the globe believe that companies need to take action on feedback provided by customers. If we haven’t drilled it in enough already, communication is key through every step of the business process, and replying to feedback is wildly important to the overall success of your business. Don’t miss this opportunity to show up and show out!
7. Offer a Clutter-Free Site with Fast Load Times and Improved Response Time
Organize your site and make it navigable. This should be a given, but oftentimes content means clutter. Businesses with an abundance of product often forgo organization in order to offer ALL their product online, all in one place. Although a promising goal, many ecommerce businesses forfeit a greater customer experience by offering too many options in a navigation menu, voiding a search bar, or offering too much content per page. Whatever the issue, your website AND your customers deserve better.
With an updated and easily navigable site, load times are often faster and response time is improved drastically. Google is always keeping an eye on your website's usability and will offer greater online privileges to those sites that offer a navigable website across multiple platforms with SEO-friendly pages. Our tip: get rid of any unnecessary pages, products or content that isn’t serving your site anymore.
8. Enable and Improve Self-Service
No one wants to have to go through an extensive email relay every time they have a question. Let your customers use and appreciate the self-service properties your site has so kindly created for them.
Over 60% of U.S. consumers prefer automated self-service for simple customer service tasks! Even better, 77% of consumers have used a self-service support portal. Customers often look for the line of least resistance, so if something is too complicated, they will likely quit. Don’t lose your customers to confusion!
Offering an extensive, organized FAQ page that answers a variety of repetitive questions offers an easy, catch-all solution to some regular questions your customers may face. Include a live chat function on your page for any issues your customers may have, along with an easily accessible phone number and email address for any further issues.
🔑 In Summary, Customer Service is Key
Your business foundation is reliant on your customers’ journey. As customers’ expectations for the ideal online shopping experience increase, customer service quickly becomes essential to thriving and adapting in the competitive ecommerce environment. Grow your customer loyalty and develop strong relationships with new customers by taking on some of these tips and tricks to improving the customer journey, across all platforms.
Spend more time developing your customer service experience and less time on fulfillment by partnering with Saltbox, a 3PL service built to support your company through all the developing changes in the ecommerce landscape. Want to learn more about improving and scaling your small business with a human-centric approach to your growing needs? Get in touch with our team and let’s develop your business strategy together.
Saltbox is on a mission to enable the modern economy with human-centric logistics that solve the hardest parts of running an ecommerce business. Our purpose-built network of flexible warehouses, fulfillment centers, on-site support and other services are powering the ecommerce economy and the next generation of entrepreneurs to launch, grow and scale.