It is no secret that in 2021 online shopping is a big deal. After growing in market share since the internet first went mainstream, a boom over the last two years has allowed eCommerce retailers to soar. However, while you may feel well established, online retail is ever-evolving so there are always improvements to be made when it comes to bettering your eCommerce customer experience.
Good online customer experience is not always easy to capture, but from your current base, you should be able to adapt with speed not afforded to those starting at ground zero.
Check the fundamentals
Online shoppers are growing without pause, from 1.32 billion buyers in 2014 to 2.14 billion in 2021. With that many potential customers, it’s important to ensure you have a well-developed, intuitive digital storefront. As an established name in eCommerce your user interface is likely to be equally established, but when was the last time you looked at your design through the eyes of a customer?
With customer expectations increasing and competition fierce, it’s worth returning to the frame of mind of your customer. It’s worth noting that your target customer may have changed and evolved over the years too. Navigate your platform from their perspective with a checklist in mind looking at how well it meets general expectations. Four key areas of any great user interface are:
- Images – Open your digital storefront, is it text-heavy? How does your banner behave? Strike a balance between showcasing products or services and informative content.
- Promotions – Special offers are helpful for both first-time visitors and securing return customers. How do you promote your offers on your site? If you send promotions via email how are you capturing potential new customer contact information?
- Social media – It can make or break a business. A positive presence can do wonders for digital footfall, but a misjudged post can cause significant damage. If you embed a social feed on your platform try to make it straightforward for customers to navigate away from your website to your social channel so they can easily post something positive about their experience.
- Rich media – When hosting videos on your website consider the user experience. Auto-playing content is likely to distract, annoy, and possibly turn away visitors before they really explore what you can offer them.
Once you have evaluated where you stand, steps to enhancing the eCommerce CX offering can begin, and there are rewards waiting for those fully optimised.
Customer experience still reigns
You may think the digital customer experience comes second to traditional brick-and-mortar but there are two big reasons to rethink this. Firstly, is the ever-growing online customer base. In 2020 eCommerce sales accounted for 18% of all sales in retail globally, this is set to grow to 21.8% by 2024. The money involved also grows continually with a record-high £636 billion spent in eCommerce through 2020.
With the eCommerce market share growing annually it is important to routinely review and enhance your own customer experience functions.
· Customer queries
Where are your customers currently routed when they have queries? Surveys show customers now like having a live chat option with 46% saying it is their preferred method for contacting a company. Followed by email as their preferred contact method at 29% and social media with 16%. Despite knowing this just 9% of companies offer a live chat service for their customers, while 33% of visitors expect the option.
· Path to purchase
Ease of access is paramount for digital buyers. Look at your platform through your customers’ eyes and consider how well the path to purchase flows. Are pop-ups intrusive? Are you offering a variety of payment methods? In the UK 51% of buyers say debit, or credit cards are their preferred payment method, while just 1% choose direct payment via banks. As alternative methods such as Apple Pay, cryptocurrencies, and interest-free financing grow in popularity, there are even more methods to consider.
· Utilise your customer base
You cannot meet the expectations of your customers without knowing what they are expecting in the first place. Use existing customers as a base of knowledge to build upon. After a transaction follow up with an email (if they have opted in to receiving communications) thanking them for their purchase and asking for feedback on the process. Were there any roadblocks in their journey? How do they think you can improve? What did they like about the process? After you build a bank of insights, go back and evaluate what is feasible to improve. You can even offer money-off incentives to encourage feedback (and repeat business).
How do apps differ to desktop visitors?
Mobile purchases account for 72.9% of eCommerce share. This is despite a lower conversion rate; when adding items to a digital basket 4.81% of desktop users then convert into a sale vs just 2.25% of mobile visitors.
Designing a mobile app takes a different approach to desktop due to the limited space available on mobile phones and the competition for attention. Therefore, it is best to focus on the basics, especially if you have yet to foray into this world. Speed is paramount, especially with the likes of Apple Pay and Google Pay bypassing the need for users to create an account in some cases.
There are also some mobile-specific areas to examine. A study looking into user habits shows that 83% of people believe the search function is extremely important when browsing. With less screen size to work with your search function must be advanced enough to present users with the products they are looking for without the need for endless scrolling.
You also need to look at your ease of access. Are you making use of one-time passwords (OTP) or guest checkout? More so than desktop visitors, mobile users are more likely to be on the go with less time to deal with any interruptions to their experience such as needing to sign in to an account each time your app is launched. Implementing an OTP system, or linking to propriety password alternatives such as Face ID or fingerprint scanners, removes one more possible abandonment spot in your platform.
It is the little things that turn a browser into a paying customer. In fact, 80% of customers say they are more likely to make a purchase from companies with personalised experiences. With an existing presence, you should have some customer data to build from, but if not, loyalty cards are a good way to capture this vital data.
Truly understanding your customer base, and reacting to their desires, is becoming less of an option and more of a necessity. A 2020 survey shows 66% of eCommerce customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations while 76% expect consistent interactions.
Artificial intelligence is rapidly flourishing in this area. Computers are capable of crunching numbers, analysing customer journeys, and discovering patterns in behaviour. With the right system in place, and a bank of knowledge consisting of both previous transactions and basket abandonment points, a platform can be curated which dynamically targets new users with personal offers, adverts, and product suggestions. The proof is in the pudding, eCommerce platforms featuring personalisation see an average 20% increase in transactions.
Perfecting your digital storefront won’t be completed in a day. It requires insights into your existing customers and your prospective customers in the future. Reviewing everything from your interface to personal touches throughout the purchase journey, and a dedicated mobile experience for those visiting via apps.
It’s also important to consider offering a selection of payment methods to aid customers on their path to purchase. If you are interested in learning more about DivideBuy and how our service can enhance your eCommerce platform fill out the form below and a member of the team will be in contact.