Here's one of our favorite stats: brands are now spending 46% on customer experience compared to 21% on pricing and 31% on product.
If you want your brand to level up, you'll need to start improving ecommerce customer experience right now. So let's get into it!
The importance of customer experience in ecommerce
What is ecommerce experience, exactly? Put simply, it's how the online shopping experience makes a customer feel. If a customer feels good about a digital commerce experience, good things happen:
Customer loyalty: customers come back and make repeat purchases.
Customer evangelism: buyers will share their positive experiences on social media & beyond.
Product reviews: customers will leave positive reviews about their experience.
When your brand focuses on customer experience, you can expect to see a boost in customer lifetime value, brand equity, awareness, and ultimately revenue.
How to improve customer experience in ecommerce
So your brand wants to create the best ecommerce shopping experience possible? Here are the top ten ways to do that:
Optimize your website for customer experience
Nail the checkout process
Make the customer experience personal
Provide excellent customer support
Don't forget to optimize for mobile
Implement a great returns process
Create amazing product descriptions & product pages
Smash the post-purchase experience
Perfect your post-purchase emails
Keep customers engaged
1. Optimize your website for customer experience
Let's knock this one out right away. Your website is the place where your entire ecommerce customer experience begins & ends. Your goal is to create a memorable and effective online store... easier said than done, right?
Truth be told, every method on this list feeds into creating an ecommerce website worth shopping on. There are a lot of moving parts to consider:
Ease of use
Site speed/load time
Creating a high-quality website doesn't happen overnight. Start by implementing all the tips on this list. As you develop your site, let the following mantra guide you:
How does this improve the ecommerce customer experience?
If all your website changes focus on this simple question, conversion rates are sure to improve. Here's one idea from a leading footwear brand, Allbirds.
Like most shoe brands, Allbirds features Men's & Women's shoes on their main menu. So rather than repeating the same thing again on their home page, they've sliced it into different categories to promote product discovery.
These little details can make all the difference. Imagine a potential customer comes to your page. They've heard good things about your brand, but they are product agnostic. The above design helps to ensure the customer journey flows toward making a purchase.
2. Nail the checkout process
This one is a no-brainer. Make it easy for customers to give you money!
These days a shopping cart is expected (and is a basic feature in virtually all commerce platforms). So you'll have to do a bit more to optimize the checkout process for your customers.
Let's take a look at this example from Puravida, an accessories brand that's doing checkouts right.
Seems pretty simple, but let's break down what's here on the first checkout page:
A list of steps
Log in or create an account
All that may seem obvious, but brands often get things very wrong.
How many checkout processes only allow you to add discount codes as a final step? How many don't let you log in directly at the checkout page?
By including the simple elements above, the best customer experience in ecommerce is a little bit closer.
3. Make the customer experience personal
Here's the deal: 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. The data confirms it, but it's really common sense, isn't it?
Give people what they want! If your site allows users to log in, then you should be able to personalize customer experience using a CRM solution. Here's what you could end up personalizing:
On-site product offers
That's really just the tip of the iceberg. Make it personal and customers will reward you for your efforts.
4. Provide excellent customer support
Want to provide the best ecommerce customer experience? Show up.
These days there are tons of ways to provide an excellent customer experience:
Chatbots to answer quick and easy questions
Live chat to handle specific inquiries
Good old fashioned email
Help request forms
Extensive documentation on your site
Customer satisfaction should be the number one goal. With that in mind, giving customers easy ways to access customer service should be a top priority.
5. Don't forget to optimize for mobile
Check this out: 79% of smartphone users have made a purchase from mobile in the last 6 months. Cha-ching! Make it easy for them by nailing the customer experience.
It's fair to say that most ecommerce platforms offer mobile-ready themes. Using one of those is a start, but the best mobile experiences are crafted through custom development. Don't be afraid to take the next step by adding resources here.
6. Implement a great returns process
Customers always hope for an easy returns process. Here's one place you can win big.
It starts with a generous return policy and an easy-to-find return policy page. By offering a large return window, free shipping, and product guarantee, customers are sure to feel great about buying from you.
Take a look at our friends at Brooklinen. They offer a 365-day return window! Guess what? Business has never been better.
Another way to ensure a stellar returns process: use a returns automation platform like Loop Returns. With Loop, your brand can run a 24/7 returns portal automatically. It can easily be calibrated to handle returns based on your policy.
If you're keen on creating the best customer experience at the returns touchpoint, check out our best practices by clicking the button below:Read More: Ecommerce returns best practices: Shipping Fees + More
7. Create amazing product descriptions & product pages
Sometimes you can't let the product do all the talking. If you care about customer experience on your ecommerce site, you need to answer questions before they are asked.
A great way to do that is by optimizing your product description & product pages. There's no better example than our friends at Tecovas. Here's what they include:
Photos from all angles
A link to their return policy
It's all there and it's all clearly laid out. Are your goods and services being displayed in their best light?
8. Smash the post-purchase experience
Digital marketing doesn't end at the buy button. To create an ecommerce experience worth raving about, the fun needs to continue after payment.
What does a great post-purchase experience include? The possibilities are endless, but here are the easy wins:
Emails (more on that shortly)
Returns (we talked about that earlier)
Reviews (capitalize on customer happiness)
Order tracking (excellent shipping info makes customers feel safe)
Customer support (be there to help if something goes wrong with any purchase)
That's a lot to manage, but you're in luck. Each item on the above list can be handled easily with software. Click the link below to get our top recommendations:Read More: 5 best post-purchase software solutions
9. Perfect your post-purchase emails
When it comes to email, do the unexpected. Customers expect to receive a receipt after they make a purchase. They expect to receive tracking info.
What can you send that customers may not expect? Again, there is no limit to what can be done here.
Here's an idea from a brand that sells men's hair products: Blumaan. After you buy from them, they send emails complete with product guides and how-to articles. I guess they know how hopeless most men are!
There really are a ton of opportunities post-purchase when it comes to email. To help you out, we've curated some of our best tips here.
10. Keep customers engaged
Keep the dream alive. Customers are usually happy when they buy a product. They want it to work out well. If it does - great! Now you've got to do everything you can to maintain that excitement.
Customer retention & customer loyalty go hand-in-hand. You better believe they are a huge part of creating great ecommerce experiences for your customers.
Nobody does loyalty like Chubbies Shorts. They've created a huge customer base of raving fans by selling short-shorts... to men. There's no way I could have predicted that!
But they've done it well. It's simple in theory: turn shopping into a game. They've created a system where buyers get points for completing various actions. The points can be used to get free stuff. All this makes customers happy and keeps them engaged.
Okay... so you've got some work to do. But that's fine, isn't it? Your brand should always be growing towards a better ecommerce experience. As online shopping becomes more and more normalized, you'll need more than great products to win customers.
Here's hoping that this article has inspired you to take action! Let's face it: we all benefit when brands put customers first. By the way, we can help here too. Our returns solution can take your Shopify store to bold new heights.
Think of what you could accomplish if your support team wasn't bogged down manually processing returns. Imagine how setting up an exchange-first system could help your brand retain revenue.
If that sounds cool, book a demo with us and find out more! Talk soon.