It goes without saying that every ecommerce marketer has an online store set up with all of the conventional (and in some cases unconventional) facilities for the customer to complete their purchase. Unfortunately only a relatively small proportion of those marketers have given too much thought to how they can improve the experience of the customer in that online store. It’s one thing to create and maintain a customer experience in a brick and mortar setting where you can establish a particular environment and have your staff interact with the customer in a specific manner which dovetails with your atmosphere, but it’s quite different to transplant that experience onto an online milieu. Fortunately there are ways to bring that in-store experience to your online customer and following these top ten tips will help you boost that engagement!
1. Proactively solicit feedback – It seems almost impossible to believe but fully 41 percent of all consumers did not report negative experiences with an online ecommerce site since they couldn’t find any convenient way to do so! You are bleeding customers by the thousands unless you are able to provide prominent and effective communications links for feedback.
2. Listen to what they are telling you – Many brands spend an inordinate amount of time and resources in generating in-depth customer analytics and social media listening procedures and then they pay absolutely no attention to what they find! There’s no point listening if you don’t implement what you’re hearing people say about your brand.
3. Name, zip, and that’s it – Stop asking for the birthdays of each of your customer’s pets! When your customers are registering for your services, you have to consider that each additional field they have to fill in is one more reason to not register at all, or if they do complete it, to not trust what you’re going to be doing with that information.
4. Make a connection – Don’t provide static content on a website when you can direct your customer to an interactive FAQ or knowledge base, or better yet, provide prompt and professional Live Chat support that addresses their specific issues.
5. Set expectations – Many brands do not provide critical information prior to their form completions or even checkouts! Want to use an alternative payment method such as Paypal? Most times you have to go all the way to the end of the checkout to discover they don’t accept it! Want a download? You have to fill out a form featuring numerous prequalifying questions. Keep it simple by providing the info up front, don’t play “gotcha!”
6. Kill the rules – Almost every brand has in place some stupid rule or another which is actually counterproductive to establishing a successful customer experience. Place yourself in the position of the customer and ask “is there a better way to do this?”
7. Have it in stock – In a staggering statistical finding, 82 percent of all consumers stated that access to product availability was a top priority. Real-time inventory is not an option in online commerce, so develop a truly accurate product availability system and back it up with effective alternate supplier channels for what you physically can’t stock.
8. Segment your email list – Hello! It’s 2014! There is no such thing as spray and pray or email blasts any longer. Collect data on your user’s behaviors and segment them based on actionable data such as geography, interests, and more.
9. Provide contextual help – Let’s face it, nobody wants to scroll down 173 FAQ questions just to get to something that even remotely resembles the answer that they’re seeking. The best way to provide a satisfactory customer experience for the user who requires help is to do it contextually so that they can just click on a question mark next to the statement and get the info they need. Don’t lie – Trust is foremost in creating a positive customer experience. Be honest about every aspect of your brand!
While it might seem that these top tips should be obvious, there are many brands who are failing in implementing them. Don’t be one of them!
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