improve ecommerce customer experience

86% of buyers will choose to pay more for a product if it means that they get better customer service as a result. For companies still living under the assumption that a lower price will get them the sale, this can be a shock and a revelation. 

But today’s online shoppers are no longer only looking at the price. Poor customer experiences have forced people to become more careful about who they do business with, as a cheaper product might end up causing much more hassle if they have trouble ordering, getting help, or even receiving the item.

But how can you ensure that your customers love dealing with you and your store? 

Well, let’s look at some of the most important features that any excellent eCommerce customer experience should have. 

Attract the Right People

Before you can even begin to think about how you’re going to improve the customer experience, you will need to ensure that you’re not putting yourself in a position to fail from the very beginning.

The quality of the services that you provide for your customers will depend not only on how well you deliver on your promises but if you’re catering to the right people in the first place.

Because of that, you should take as much time as necessary to figure out who your very best customers are. Get this part right, and even an imperfect customer experience will be much more effective than if you tried to appeal to people that just aren’t interested.

Hiring SEO services for eCommerce is always a good idea, as a solid understanding of how people search for your products will give you plenty of insights about what their pain points are and how you can solve their problems.

Once you find the people that you’re looking for, take the time to learn not just the demographics and key details but also their online browsing habits, shopping preferences, and priorities.

That way, you can structure your entire website to accommodate their expectations, leading to less friction and more loyal customers that trust your brand to meet their needs.

Keep Your Customers Informed

Another crucial part of providing great customer experience is keeping your customers informed throughout the buying process. When people make a purchase online, and especially if they’re buying from an unfamiliar store, there will always be some anxiety about whether the store is legitimate and will deliver on its promises.

If you don’t want that anxiety to turn into real concern or frustration, you must ensure that your customers know exactly what’s happening with their order every step of the way.

Sending emails is great, but you can also supplement that with timely SMS messages that show your willingness to communicate and be transparent about your business.

If you’re on WooCommerce, you can use an SMS-WooCommerce extension to send status updates about the order, informing customers about a pending payment, the processing of the order, the shipping, and any other relevant information.

You can even use SMS messages to help customers create an account, recover a password, or validate their orders. 

Streamline the Checkout

23% of shoppers will abandon their shopping cart if they need to register to complete the purchase. In other words, a seemingly minor hurdle as a simple registration form could cost you as much as a quarter of your potential earnings.

And that’s just one example of how an inefficient or inconvenient checkout process can drive down sales for your business and frustrate otherwise-ideal customers.

Start with ensuring that your cart has a guest checkout option, as it’s no longer optional if you want to stay competitive. Sure, you might not get as much information about the client, but any advantage of having a registered user will be offset by the sheer number of people who just won’t make the effort. 

Another way to make sure that people don’t get discouraged is to offer assistance throughout the entire process. 

You could employ live chat, chatbots, FAQs, and guides to help people know exactly how to fill up the necessary information, tell them more about the costs involved, and let them know when they can expect their order.

Finally, to lower the instances of abandoned carts, implement a save a cart feature that allows users to come back and finish their order later without having to start over. You could even combine this with retargeting ads that remind them about a forgotten purchase. 

Be Ultra-Responsive

One of the worst things you can do as an online business is to leave your customers to figure things out on their own. No matter at which stage of the buyer journey a visitor might be, they will often have questions about parts of your offer or your shipping process and will need them to be answered before they’ll commit to buying.

If you don’t have an efficient support system or a knowledge base that can act as a guide, you will convert much fewer people and will likely lose a significant percentage to the competition.

And even if you think that you’re providing a good support system for your customers, you need to compare yourself with others to ensure that’s really the case. 

For instance, if you only have a phone and email support system, you are likely frustrating many of your customers who don’t have the patience to wait for a response or don’t want to call you with a phone.

If you really want to provide a good service, consider adding a live chat feature when your team is available. During off-hours, adding a chatbot to your eCommerce store is another excellent way to ensure that people feel engaged, even if your staff isn’t present.

Finally, make sure that you have someone monitoring your social media pages for comments and private messages, as many people will turn there to find information or solve issues before committing to a purchase.

Don’t Complicate Shipping

Shipping in eCommerce is a delicate subject. On one hand, you must make sure that your products are shipped using quality carriers and that they are delivered quickly. On the other, you don’t want to overburden your customers with high shipping costs, as that can put them off from purchasing.

The hard truth is that people hate seeing add-on charges for shipping, even in cases when they are reasonable. When they reach the checkout page, most buyers are already set on how much they are willing to pay, and adding to that amount will dissuade people from finalizing the purchase. 

To avoid that, consider restructuring your pricing to offer free shipping. You could even increase your prices, as long as they remain reasonable since people view free shipping as one of the biggest incentives for shopping.

If you can’t offer free shipping on all orders, come up with an amount that you can provide free shipping for and let people know about it. For instance, if you offer free shipping for orders above $50, you might get some people to add a few items to the cart, making the added perk worth it.

Final Words

Customer experience should be the central focus of any eCommerce store in 2020 and beyond. And the good news is that with the help of technology, providing outstanding experiences for your customers is becoming easier.

If you stay on top of what the competition is doing, understand who you’re trying to reach, and keep the communication lines open, you will find that the vast majority of the customers you deal with will walk away happy.