How to create an ecommerce customer experience
Shopping for goods and services has shifted from in-person to online buying, but simply offering ecommerce isn’t enough to drive growth. Customers have high expectations of the ecommerce customer experience (CX), so businesses must create easy, enjoyable, and hassle-free ecommerce experiences for their customers.
This post will explore what an ecommerce customer experience is and how to improve it, including four key strategies.
- Create thorough product content
- Simplify customer service and support
- Engage on social media
- Optimize your website’s user experience
What is an ecommerce customer experience?
An ecommerce experience is the perception your audiences have of your brand, based on their digital commerce interactions. It’s one factor of the overall customer experience and can affect whether they engage with or buy from you again.
The ecommerce experience is much more than just buying a product or service online. It includes all the digital touch points between the customer and your company. It may include buying a product, using a chatbot to ask questions, or filling out an email form for support after the sale.
And the experience can dramatically impact sales and the company’s success. For example, if customers have trouble navigating your product pages or using them on mobile devices, they may get frustrated and buy the product from a competitor. The opposite is also true — a positive ecommerce CX can give your business an advantage over the competition.
Some ecommerce CX opportunities for brands include:
● Social media engagement
● Email marketing campaigns
● Online purchasing platforms
● Quality of customer service
These channels make up a good portion of your ecommerce customer experience, and each one is essential to its success.
How to improve the ecommerce experience
The first step to improving your customer experience is troubleshooting existing issues. A bad customer experience can seriously impact your online sales. Look for these customer pain points within your CX.
● Requiring account setup to make a purchase
● Low-quality or small images
● Lack of a cohesive mobile site design
● Complicated navigation
● Poor or hard to find customer service support
● Error messages or poor functionality
● Long checkout processes
● Limited payment options
Resolving these issues goes a long way toward strengthening brand loyalty and bringing your customers back for future purchases. Before jumping into a new strategy to improve your online customer experience, ensure none of the little things are broken.
Once you know the site is working smoothly, you’re ready to work on some bigger strategies to improve the ecommerce CX. You will develop your own best practices and strategies the more you collect feedback, but there are a few proven tactics that can get you started.
1. Create thorough product content
One of the best ways to build ecommerce CX is through accurate, thorough product content. Quality product content draws in new customers, educates buyers about the products, sets an expectation about your brand, and answers questions and concerns the customer might have during the purchase process.
- Images. Present your products clearly and attractively with high-quality images that show detail and different angles. If you offer different colors or fabric options, show each one.
- Copy. Be sure your copy accurately reflects your product descriptions and your brand message. Keep it consistent across channels.
- Reviews. Keep a close eye on reviews. Elevate good reviews to give them visibility on product pages and social media channels. Be sure to address any negative comments with good customer service.
Different types of content promote your products in different ways. Experiment with other types and new combinations to find the product content strategy that’s most effective for your brand and audience.
2. Simplify customer service and support
To prevent poor customer experiences, provide your customers with an easy way to contact your company if they run into an issue or have a question while trying to make a purchase. Customers prioritize the following elements of customer service:
- Timeliness. Consumers expect a quick response to customer support queries. If you don’t have representatives available right away, try to send an automated or AI-powered response within the hour and get back to the customer with a real answer or a return call within 24 hours.
- Consistency. Customers want to know what to expect when dealing with your company. If they encounter too many changes each time they visit your website, they may stop coming back.
- The human element. The option to speak to a live person is essential for many customers.
- Omnichannel support. Provide options so customers can reach you using the channel or device they are the most comfortable with.
- Ease of contact. Make it easy to reach you. Many brands make getting support almost impossible, which turns customers off.
There are several ways to provide these benefits and provide support for users.
An up-to-date contact page on your website makes the customer support process seamless. Be sure to include the following items on your contact us page.
- Email form. Use an email form to allow your customers to quickly and easily send a message to your company.
- Social media sites. Some customers prefer to engage with your brand on social media. Be sure to have an active presence on social media platforms that align with your brand.
- Company phone number. Many customers still want to pick up the phone and speak with a real person to get help. Always include a phone number.
- Chatbot support. Chat is an effortless way to provide support to your customers who don’t have time for a phone call and don’t want to wait for a callback or email.
Personalize the customer experience
Personalization is important at every touch point, but especially with the customer service team. Use a customer relationship management (CRM) tool that maintains real-time customer profiles so every member of your team has the latest data and insights for the individual they’re helping. You can also use customer data to personalize chatbot replies, email answers, and more.
Offer your customers self-service options like AI-powered chatbots, FAQs, forums, and more. Self-service options give many users the ability to get answers to their questions and solutions to their problems almost immediately. It creates a great CX and a very positive impression of your brand — all without any immediate interaction with your team.
Customer satisfaction survey
After each purchase, offer your customers a quick survey to share their thoughts, feelings, and ideas about the purchase experience. This shows that you care about the quality of their purchase journey, which builds brand trust and loyalty. It can also provide key insights for future changes that improve the customer experience even more and drive greater revenue growth.
3. Engage on social media
Providing an excellent customer experience means meeting your customers where they are, including social media. Every digital touchpoint with your brand is part of your ecommerce CX. Follow social media best practices to create the best possible engagement with your audience.
- Be sure your customers receive the same service and responsiveness from your social media channels as they do from your online or in-store customer experiences.
- Designate a specific team to handle incoming social media inquiries to ensure a quick response to every customer. Train these employees to resolve any issue that arises, to make the customer experience smoother and more successful.
- When a customer reaches out on social media, train your team to pull up their account so your customer service representative knows precisely who they are and what they purchased, making the exchange more personalized and efficient.
- Keep your social media accounts up to date and post regularly about changes, your latest campaigns, and special offers.
- Turn on chat and direct messaging within your accounts so that customers can reach you without any hassle.
4. Optimize your website’s user experience
No matter how many channels or touchpoints your audience connects through, your brand’s website will always be your digital headquarters. The user experience (UX) needs to be flawless or customers will simply leave to find your competitors.
There are four specific areas of the site to monitor for UX.
Maximize mobile responsiveness
Mobile commerce (m-commerce) is still rapidly expanding. Insider Intelligence expects mobile commerce to reach 44.2% of retail ecommerce sales in the US by 2025. Responsive, mobile friendly websites are no longer an option.
Customers will make purchases elsewhere if your mobile website is difficult to navigate or doesn’t work correctly on their devices. Make sure your site design is responsive and that it loads quickly. A good way to test your site is Google’s free Mobile-Friendly Test. If there are problems on the site, Google’s tool will show you what they are.
Reduce intrusive marketing tactics
Disruptions like pop-ups, ads, or videos that play automatically can ruin a shopping experience. The difficulty is that some of these strategies actually convert well too, so marketers get mixed feedback about whether or not to use them.
The solution is to keep ads to a minimum on your website and use pop-ups strategically. An interstitial that blocks page content when a user first arrives is annoying. But an exit-intent pop-up has little to lose and tends to be an effective strategy for grabbing attention. Use split testing to determine which intrusive tactics work and get rid of the rest.
Design a seamless checkout experience
Once a user has decided to buy, your website should get them through the checkout process as easily as possible. Making customers complete long forms or create an account just to make a purchase can cause user fatigue and result in abandoned shopping carts.
Offer the option of creating an account at checkout, but don’t require it. And consider using a tool or integration that enables a fast, one-click checkout option.
Flexible payment options
Customers have preferences for how they pay for ecommerce purchases, and they expect to have options that fit their needs.
- Offer as many options as possible. Give customers as many different payment options as you can. Popular payment methods like Apple Pay, PayPal, and debit or credit cards are the most important. If you can offer other payment portals, add them too. Look into options like Google Pay, Zelle, Amazon Pay, and more.
- Offer financing. If your products or services come with a larger price tag, offer financing and payment options on the site. Bread, Kata pult, and After pay are just a few of the options you can offer through your product pages.
Getting started with a better ecommerce CX
In a busy digital market, your ecommerce customer experience is not an add-on — it’s part of your product. A good CX can earn brand loyalty for life, but one poor experience can also lose a customer forever.
First, take some time to evaluate your ecommerce CX and how it currently works. Start by fixing anything that might be actively hindering a great user experience on any of your digital channels.
Then, use Adobe Commerce to maximize your ecommerce customer experience. The service includes everything you need including a robust, scalable backend, AI-powered insights, omnichannel commerce capabilities, personalization at scale, and more.
Watch an overview video to see how Adobe Commerce can help you create an ecommerce customer experience that surpasses your audience’s expectations.