Delivering a great customer experience in ecommerce isn’t just important, it’s essential. With so much competition and evolving expectations, shoppers need more than just fine – they need to be entertained, engaged, and delighted.
In short: making yourself memorable is the perfect route to driving revenue. But to do that, you have to put the customer at the heart of everything you do.
But don’t just take our word for it. We recently interviewed more than 40 experts from across the ecommerce industry, including leaders from Visa, Klarna, WooCommerce, and more. The recurring theme during our conversations was the importance of creating exceptional ecommerce customer experiences.
So, how can you do that?
In this article, customer experience specialists share tips to help. We also explore the importance of customer experience, what it is, and tools that can make delighting buyers easier than ever.
What is customer experience?
Customer experience (CX) is your customers’ experience with your business across every touchpoint, from before they buy to post-purchase. You shape their experience through every interaction they have with your company – when they’re browsing your site, contacting your support team, or returning an item.
Why is customer experience important?
Simply put: customer experience is important because getting it right helps you sell more. Why? Because when shoppers have a positive experience, they’re more likely to buy. And consistently delivering delightful moments and adding value creates loyal customers who will return.
These are some of the benefits of creating a great digital customer experience:
Higher revenue and profits
McKinsey research found that improving the customer experience can increase sales revenues by up to 7% and profitability by up to 2%. And Deloitte found that customer-centric brands were 60% more profitable than companies that neglected customer experience.
In a nutshell: it pays to treat your customers well.
Customers will recommend you
One of the best ways to sell to shoppers is by showing them that other customers love what you do. In fact, BigCommerce found that 72% of consumers trust a business more when they display positive reviews and testimonials.
But you can’t do that unless you’re making your customers happy.
By providing a great customer experience, you’ll get new customers through word-of-mouth marketing. You’ll also have plenty of positive reviews to share to build trust.
Shoppers will spend more
Here’s a stat for you: customers who have a positive experience when shopping spend around 140% more than those who have a negative one.
What does that mean? That happy shoppers are more likely to fill up their online shopping cart, resulting in more revenue for your business.
Customers will come back to buy
Delivering excellent customer service and a positive customer experience is one of the best ways to build loyalty. In fact, our own data shows that 78% of consumers will return to buy again if they have had a good experience or see positive reviews.
In short: treating shoppers well increases your customer lifetime value (CLV) and drives new revenue opportunities.
How to improve customer experience in 8 steps
1. Develop robust buyer personas
Buyer personas are research-based profiles of your target customers. They help you understand their goals, doubts, and needs. You can use them to address their pain points to deliver a truly excellent customer experience.
Sabrina Tillemans is UX and Digital Innovation Manager at German ecommerce agency active value. She recommends making your customer a partner throughout the whole user experience process.
“Put the customer at the first step of your considerations,” Sabrina says. “And remember: a user flow can only be efficient, easy, and satisfying when you build it from the customer’s perspective. With this understanding, you can create a trustworthy user interface and build a consistent relationship between your customer and your company.”
2. Use data
You can use data to tailor your online strategy to your customers’ needs and personalise their experience. That includes using onsite tracking software, customer surveys to optimise buyer personas, and tools to discover your cart abandonment triggers.
“At the heart of any good customer experience is data that helps personalise a shopper’s journey,” explains Aubrey Harper, a content strategist for marketing automation platform Klaviyo. “Seeing what types of products someone has viewed, when they visit your online store, and what they like helps you create more impactful content across all your marketing channels.
“And whether it’s onsite tracking to see how people behave on your website or even a survey that leads to more extensive buyer profiles, don’t be afraid to use customer feedback and behaviour to get more information.”
3. Personalise as much as possible
Personalisation is paramount to providing an exceptional customer experience. It includes everything from correctly addressing customers in marketing materials to ‘magically’ suggesting products they like.
Crafting tailor-made experiences ensures you have the best chance possible to make your customers happy. The figures back this up: Google and BCG’s Business Impact of Personalisation in Retail report found that 40% of people will spend more than planned when their experience is personalised.
To get started, try these things:
1. Entice shoppers to create an account: Ask customers to sign up to your site or subscribe to a newsletter to get more data about their likes and dislikes.
2. Use personalised homepages, offers, and recommendations: Create offers and recommendations based on how your customers shop. Use data to anticipate their needs and display products and offers that meet them.
3. Send personalised emails and celebrate milestones: Use data to send personalised emails with links to pages or products and services you know they’d like. Delight them by sending them offers on their birthdays and other special occasions.
4. Look after your customers even when they leave: Give your customers a reason to return to your site by showing them an offer when they’re about to leave. And send a cart abandonment notification to entice them to return after they’re gone.
- Prioritise mobile commerce
Nearly 60% of the world’s internet traffic is mobile-based.
What does that mean? That optimising your mobile offer is a great way to deliver better service and enhance your customer experience.
Just think about it: your shoppers no longer have to visit a store or even use a desktop device to make a purchase. Instead, they can use their smartphones to find (and buy) what they need immediately.
Mobile devices also offer the chance to deliver quicker browsing and faster transactions. Of course, this relies on ensuring you provide a genuinely mobile-friendly experience. That means testing and refining your customer journey, mobile website speed, and mobile checkout flow.
5. Perfect your tech stack
We’ve seen how you can use data to create the best customer service experience possible. But you also need to think about the other technology that powers your ecommerce operation – and how that impacts shoppers.
So, where to start? Let’s hear from Matt Rhodes, Sales and Marketing Manager at Honeypot Furniture. He has been building a new tech stack to create ‘the ultimate ecommerce customer experience’.
“Our new tools will work together to revolutionise our messaging automation, phone system, order management, logistics, warehousing, and product-feed management,” he explains.
“From a customer’s perspective, this will mean more accurate and up-to-date product pages and information, higher-quality transactional notifications, delivery status updates and tracking, quicker response times for customer queries, and better stock forecasting leading to shorter lead times.”
6. Make your shipping (and returns) shine
The fastest-growing brands focus on building first-class shipping experiences. There, we said it. And the experts do too.
“The shipping process is arguably the most crucial part of the ecommerce experience as it has the most customer touchpoints,” says Rob van den Heuvel, Chief Executive Officer at Sendcloud. “And one bad delivery experience can make consumers hesitant to reorder.
“The best brands offer their customers multiple shipping options, send branded tracking notifications, and offer a hassle-free returns process. As a result, they get better reviews and build loyalty.”
Focus on shipping and returns to provide the best experience possible, outshine your competition, and drive customer loyalty.
7. Use conversational commerce
Conversational commerce is an approach where social tools such as messaging apps, chatbots, live representatives, and social media messaging are used to sell through digital channels. It makes the customer experience a two-way conversation that guides shoppers through their journey to boost sales and loyalty.
“Whether it’s messaging, chat, video, or AI-powered conversational commerce, consumers expect to connect with brands in the same way they connect in their personal lives,” Yash says. “Businesses should communicate more like family and friends, creating a customer experience that will drive engagement and keep them coming back.”
8. Optimise your payments
As a payment service provider (PSP), we are always thinking about the value of offering a great payment experience. In fact, we surveyed online shoppers across Europe to see just how important it was to them.
What did we discover?
That offering a quick and efficient payment method is the main factor that convinces consumers to buy from a retailer. And offering the correct payment methods is the most significant factor driving customer loyalty.
Then we went one further – asking just how important it was that retailers offer their preferred payment method when shopping online.
The results speak for themselves: 87% of consumers said it’s important that retailers offer the payment methods they prefer to use when shopping online. And almost half (47%) cited it as ‘very important’.
So, perfecting your payments should be a key part of your customer experience strategy.
Get more ecommerce tips and trends for 2023
In the Ecommerce Playbook 2023, more than 40 experts from across the industry share predictions, tips, and actionable learnings to help you drive success in the year ahead.
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