By Ronald L. Dod
For this week, ISM will feature a Guest Blog Post from Ronald L. Dod concerning how your eCommerce brand can boost your customer experience.
Description: Discover ways to boost your eCommerce customer experience and have a more successful eCommerce store.
We often hear about user experience (UX), but the term customer experience (CX) is many times left behind. This can be very unfortunate, especially when you consider that customer experience encompasses user experience. While UX refers to the user’s interaction with a site or app, CX deals with the whole customer experience, including support.
For instance, if Joe is looking to buy sneakers and finds an eCommerce website selling them, his user experience would be measured in data such as abandonment rate, time to complete a task, and clicks to completion. His customer experience would go beyond UX and tell us data such as his likeliness to recommend the eCommerce store to someone else or the likelihood that he will come back to the store.
As you can see, customer experience is key in determining the success of a business. It helps to paint a complete picture to not only figure out what to improve on the site, but also helps us discover ways to improve our customer service. As expected, many business owners agree. According to Gartner, 42% of CEOs say that better customer experience was the key change in driving wins. Let’s go more in detail to discover ways to boost your eCommerce customer experience.
Consider your different buyers and journeys.
Not every shopper or purchase situation is the same, so you have to account for these differences when optimizing your customer experience. By doing so, you’ll make sure no customer is left behind and your team is prepared to assess any situation.
For instance, some people might find you when they’re not ready to make a purchase.
This could be someone who found you on social media or through a display advertisement on a third party site. In scenarios like that, your eCommerce store must be equipped to get the visitors’ contact information to nurture them through email until they are ready to convert.
On the other hand, you will also get traffic from people who are ready to make a purchase. In that case, your site must be easy to navigate and check out so that your new customer can make a purchase as fast as possible.
Now, what happens if the buyer is ready but is not making a purchase for himself or herself? Maybe he is a husband shopping for his wife. Do you have an easy way to guide gift shoppers who are not familiar with your products?
Sites like Uncommon Goods that get a lot of traffic from people looking for gifts have accounted for this case scenario by offering a whole gifts section on their menu.
The gift section then expands to provide a variety of filter options for easy navigation:
As a customer, this provides a great experience because it reduces the second guessing and time one would have had to spend otherwise.
There are many more use case scenarios, but the last one I’ll mention is the negative one.
Your team and your eCommerce site must be ready to take complaints and provide support as necessary. Does your website provide an easy way to get in touch with support? Is your customer team ready to answer to complaints? Offering excellent support has the power to convert an angry customer into a loyal customer. Let’s discover how we can provide excellent customer service in the next section.
Provide different customer support options.
Following the same concept, it’s recommended to offer different support options to adjust for different use cases and buyer personas. Some people love to speak on the phone and know they have someone to speak with if they need it. Others just prefer to read the answer online, and others will prefer to get immediate help over live chat.
The urgency of the matter and the type of products you sell have an effect on the type of customer service your customers will prefer. For instance, if you sell medicine, your customers may want to speak with someone right away in case of a bad reaction or concern. On the other hand, if your products have a low risk or low cost, they may be just fine with live chat or email support.
Whether you offer phone support or not, I strongly recommend you offer live chat. It serves as more than just customer support; it can also help you encourage visitors to make a purchase or guide them in the right direction.
For example, you can set up a live chat with rules to greet visitors on specific pages. Thus, if you’re running a promo on a specific product being viewed by a customer, the automated live chat can say something like “Hey, did you know we are offering 33% off this product?”—in turn, encouraging the visitor to buy,
Another great way to offer customer support is through a support portal and an FAQ section. For example, Amazon has a great support portal with recommended questions and a database of answers.
Provide an omnichannel customer experience.
Online shopping trends have changed the buyer journey and the number of touchpoints a brand has with their customers. Now, people can see a mobile ad on Facebook and then go to their desktop to then make a purchase. It is a multichannel way of selling that can get confusing for both the retailer and the buyer.
From the retailer’s perspective, it represents more work to keep up with different channels and for customers, it can be confusing if they find different messaging or brand image in different platforms. That’s why having an omnichannel or unified presence is so important. It allows for a better, more cohesive and seamless customer experience.
Having an omnichannel presence will allow your customers to have the same experience regardless if they’re on their mobile device, desktop computer, social media, over the phone, or your actual website. For instance, Starbucks has a great omnichannel presence. From their phone app that allows you to order before standing in line to their great customer service in person, customers get a unified customer experience even before they walk into the store.
As we have discovered, there are many ways to provide an excellent customer experience. The key is to take into consideration your ideal buyer personas and different use case scenarios. Keeping them in mind will help you create tailored solutions that are helpful to the buyers you care about.
In our next blog post, we will return to the topic of the Internet of Things by discussing two significant Internet of Things technologies that are impacting merchant–customer relationships.
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Ron is the CEO of Visiture. His passion is helping eCommerce business owners and marketing professionals navigate the search marketing landscape and use data to make more effective decisions to drive new traffic and conversions.