Creating Effective Ecommerce Customer Experiences [In-depth Guide]
Pulkit Singh, a 35-year-old software engineer, is a frequent user of CRED. To contribute to the ongoing relief efforts, Pulkit used the CRED app and donated his previously accumulated coins under the campaign where users could donate their collected CRED coins towards procuring and distributing oxygen concentrators where they were needed the most. Blown away by the updated UI of the app, Pulkit decided to continue using CRED for his credit card bill payments. He went on to share his experience on LinkedIn and received high engagement from his network. Some even downloaded the app based on his positive experience.
Image source: Dribble
A strong visual appeal contributes significantly to a wonderful customer experience. A memorable experience can become the strongest USP for any e-commerce brand. On the contrary, a poor customer experience can send your customers to your competitors. According to a study conducted by Forrester, 89% of consumers are likely to buy from competition after a poor customer experience.
Why are we giving customer experience so much importance?
Every interaction, engagement, or even thoughts of a customer around your brand is their overall customer experience. There has been a 70% increase in e-commerce purchases after the onslaught of the pandemic, pushing both B2B & B2C e-commerce to the center stage of the global economy. This makes it critical for the brand, product, and growth marketers worldwide to devote ample time and resources to create unique, relevant, and memorable customer experiences for their consumers.
Diligent investment in improving customer experience has a ripple effect that can help any e-commerce business grow. It leads to an increased purchase frequency, higher average order value, and, like in CRED’s example shared earlier, positive WoM can bring down your cost of acquisition.
It also helps build trust among key stakeholders across the value chain (like your partners, vendors, influencers, and new hires) and enhances the brand’s perceived value.
Taking the first steps to improve your customer experience
Great, so you’re on board and believe that a great customer experience can give your brand superpowers. Let’s delve into how you can improve your customer’s experience.
1. Empathizing with your customers
We have all heard about customer obsession. It is time we put it to practice. Your brand and growth teams need to be customer-centric and highly data-driven. Let your data tell you what your customers’ preferences are, rather than you assuming something and waiting for your customers to react to it.
One great example of customer-centricity is Zappos, an online shoe retailer that prides itself on its customer service. They understand that just like their shoes, even customer service cannot come with a one-size-fits-all policy. Hence, they tailor their customer services for each individual and provide unique experiences. Their customer service representatives are encouraged to get to know their customers beyond their shoe preferences. They would go as far as shipping a complimentary toy with the customer’s order after hearing a baby crying during a customer service call. Such thoughtful actions create moments of surprise and delight, leading to great customer experiences.
Synthesizing data and understanding your customers is essential to gain meaningful insights and is the first step towards finding areas of improvement to delight your customers.
2. Brushing up the visual appearance
Is your UI and content engaging, easy to navigate? Are they doing justice to your products? Does any element on your e-commerce platform distract customers while they are making a purchase? Is your brand voice consistent throughout the customer journey? And, is your user experience seamless for the consumer?
Answering these questions and critically examining your e-commerce platform on these parameters is a critical step to improve your customer experience.
Duolingo, a language-learning app, is an excellent example of a seamless customer experience. By answering just three simple questions, a user can set their learning goals and begin their journey of learning a new language.
Having a balance between functionality and visual appeal will take you a step closer to providing a seamless user experience throughout the customer’s journey, delighting them.
3. Listening to what your customers are saying
Are there any hurdles in your customer journey that you may have overlooked? Chances are, your users are not really a fan of your new and updated UI. Or is your website too complex for your target audience to find the information they need or in the order they prefer?
To dig deeper into your customers’ feelings, you need to reach out to them and listen to their feedback. Developing multiple surveys and integrating them into your user interface will be essential in mining customer insights. You might need to engage in other research to gain richer, nuanced feedback and understand the actual pain points.
Patagonia, an outdoor and adventure apparel company, is known for its attention to detail while creating superior quality products. They value customer feedback and go to great lengths to continuously develop great products and provide exceptional customer experiences.
Customer feedback, which can be extremely diligent, proves to be helpful while testing a new feature or an interface. Providing such valuable feedback also makes your customers feel valued and gives you the chance to win their loyalty.
4. Understanding your customers’ journey
Knowing all the customer touchpoints and evaluating and re-evaluating their path to purchase will lead you to learnings and insights that can help you improve the customer journey.
- Do you need to add more touchpoints in their journey?
- Where can you deliver moments of delight?
- Can you add more value to their path, and how?
- Will they find it easy to navigate this path?
- What happens after purchase?
Answering the above questions and a few more that are relevant to your e-commerce business is key in defining the overall experience they have with your brand. It also gives you greater control over their journey and helps you improve it.
Know all the basics of providing a great customer experience?
What more can you do for a great customer experience?
Every e-commerce brand has its own unique voice, and hence, there’s no “one-way” that can fit all brands. There are, however, several things that you could implement to create a fantastic experience for your customers.
1. Personalize, and then personalize some more!
Yes, we know you have heard it a million times. But it needs to be said more! Personalization today extends far beyond just using your customer’s first name in your communication. It’s about really listening to them and delivering experiences that are tailored exclusively for them.
Some great examples today are Spotify and Netflix, which genuinely make you feel at home on their platform or even beyond. Whereas StitchFix, an online clothing retailer, provides a personalized shopping experience for every single customer. Their entire business model is based on personalization, which makes them stand out!
Including artificial intelligence and data science in your customer journey to provide delight at every stage of your user journey continuously is becoming essential in delivering an incredible customer experience.
2. Being omnichannel, always!
Being omnichannel (and actively so) is a necessity in 2021, with e-commerce becoming ragingly popular and online being a primary source for a brand to communicate with their customer. And yes, it goes beyond just having an active social media presence.
Regular newsletters (and other communication) helps your customers stay up to date with what is new in your brand and helps them begin their customer journeys. Proactive prompts regarding cart abandonments, reminders to avail an offer, and more give an e-commerce brand opportunities to create customer touchpoints and deliver creative experiences to sway the customers towards purchase.
Providing complete omnichannel customer support and proactively providing the information your customers might need in their journey not only delivers greater customer satisfaction but also reduces the efforts & distress for the brand. Staying alert at all times and monitoring the support your customers need or anticipating it in advance lifts the burden off their shoulders and shows them you care.
JetBlue went above and beyond, and the following instance has become a classic since then! A flight attendant was ready with a cup of coffee for a customer inside the flight after he tweeted about not having enough time even to grab a coffee before boarding.
Superior customer service today is now a stronger selling proposition than a low price for many brands. Your entire brand strategy should revolve around providing exceptional experiences across touchpoints. Efficiently involve your support team to deliver more personalized experiences at all times.
3. Community: Bringing them all together as one
Nothing is more powerful than the power of a community. Efficient customer experiences bring your customers together. It helps create a community that shares your brand ethos and will rally around you to gather more people who will benefit from your customer experience and the services you offer.
Communities, either initiated by your brand or your loyalists, provide a gateway for you and your customers to share new product updates, collect reviews, monitor your brand sentiment, and so much more.
Airbnb hosts a thriving community of 1Mn+ hosts on its website to keep the hosts informed, engaged, and empowered.
It is not just important to improve your customer experience journey but to also actively keep measuring and improve it further.
Working for a better Cx!
In our increasingly digital world, where the pandemic has pushed technology and subsequently e-commerce to seep deeper into our lives, unique customer experiences are what makes a brand more humane and make the customers feel genuinely cared for. Investing in creating great customer experiences doesn’t just delight customers but is a rewarding experience for any business! After all, all that any business, e-commerce or otherwise, truly strives for is happy, satisfied customers.
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