How to build a great eCommerce customer experience?

How to build a great eCommerce customer experience?
Story of AMS
Story of AMS

A good product is no longer enough. The products you sell do have a tremendous effect on the success of your company but there is more to it than that.  You need to have a customer experience in place that attracts, engages, converts, and retains customers. In today’s world, it’s of the utmost importance to deliver a seamless experience to your customers. 

Read on to learn more about:

  • What an eCommerce customer experience is

  • Why do eCommerce brands need to invest in the customer experience

  • Top 5 ways to improve the eCommerce customer experience

  • How to monitor the success of your customer experience

What is the eCommerce customer experience?

The definition of customer experience is “the sum of all the interactions a customer has with a company, from the moment they hear about the company to when they stop doing business with it”. It’s the perception customers create based on their interactions with a company. For eCommerce brands, the customer experience generally consists of 3 different stages. 

Pre-Purchase: It all begins well before someone becomes a customer. The customer experience starts when someone hears about your brand for the first time. This is immediately a key moment in the customer experience, capturing someone's attention and engaging them to move further down the funnel. If someone encounters your brand for the first time, and the result is that they now only know you exist. You didn’t really engage them… However, if this person immediately knows what you do and how your products will benefit his or her life, your customer experience is doing what it needs to do. 

Buying: This stage consists of the moments surrounding a customer’s first purchase. This is the stage wherein you need to convert website visitors into customers. According to Forrester, 80% of customers abandoned their purchases because of a bad customer experience. Again, the way to convert more visitors into customers is with information, or in other words content. Keeping customers well informed through every step of the journey is key to converting customers. More on that later in this blog.

Post-Purchase: Don’t expect your customer to return once they made a purchase. Retaining customers requires hard work. In the post-purchase phase of the eCommerce customer experience, you need to focus on keeping your new customer engaged. With the goal to get your customers to continue buying more. To accomplish this you need to stay in close contact with them and build a relationship. Meaning, regular email updates on promotional offers, new products, and sharing valuable insights or entertainment. 

Why do eCommerce brands need to invest in the customer experience?

The experience you deliver to your customers will greatly determine whether they will return or not. Even more, it will impact how long they’ll remain loyal and how much they are willing to spend with you. A recent study by Oracle showed that 86 percent of customers are willing to pay a premium for a product when the customer experience is top-notch. With 89 percent of customers switching to a competitor because of a bad customer experience. So clearly it’s essential to invest in your eCommerce customer experience. 

Even more, a good eCommerce customer experience can help differentiate yourself from competitors. If you are able to provide something of value to your customers, your customers have no reason to switch to another brand. 

The 5 best ways to improve the eCommerce customer experience

Now, let’s dive into the top 5 ways to improve the eCommerce customer experience. 

1. Optimized for mobile: At this time alone, more than half of all web traffic is coming from mobile devices. In order to deliver a good experience, you need to have a different site architecture. One that lets customers easily navigate through your site and discover your products while on the phone. In addition, ensure that your listings and product images are optimized for mobile devices or have a mobile app – whether they sell through their own website or a third-party marketplace.

2. Speak to people's emotions: People buy based on emotion and later justify their purchase with logic. Your eCommerce websites should spark emotions. It should have an impact on your visitors, or they will never become your customers. Make people feel something, inspire, educate and motivate them. If you don’t accomplish this, you will most likely be forgotten. 

With regards to the five senses, eCommerce is missing a few of them. Smell, taste, and touch are out of the picture, meaning what people can see and hear are of the utmost importance.  It’s crucial for your digital experience that it's visually enticing and audibly engaging. You can accomplish this with great content, but with technological advancements, Augmented reality is also becoming a more feasible option. Make sure to read this blog, if you want to learn more about how to deliver powerful content-driven experiences. 

3. Focus on omnichannel: Customers are using multiple devices to make a purchase and to research brands and products. Your eCommerce site should be responsive and tailored to each and every device so that customers can do what they want from every device they own. Alongside this, Instead of driving traffic to solely your website, you should bring your products to wherever your customers are. Whether it’s Instagram, TikTok, retail stores, or marketplaces like Amazon. 

4. Create good product pages: The best product pages build trust. Trust is built by answering all of the questions a customer might have about your product. To do this you want to find a nice balance between providing all the information customers want about the product, without overwhelming them with information.  

Visuals, such as photos, graphics, and videos are a great way to provide lots of detail without overwhelming visitors. Look at making use of lifestyle and textural images to help potential customers visualize how your product could be of benefit to them, but, don’t forget to highlight details like shipping dates, size, color, and materials.  The more a customer knows about a product, the more likely they are to be happy with their choice.

5. Smooth checkout process: If the checkout process isn’t ticking all the boxes, you are doomed to fail. It’s a harsh reality but truer than ever with the increasingly high demands of consumers. Instagram, with its social commerce efforts, recently launched a new shopping feature. This lets Instagram users buy products with just one click. It’s the definition of seamless shopping and eCommerce brands can learn a thing or two from them.

First, consider the different payment methods you offer to your customers. This is especially important when you are selling in multiple countries. Every country has its own preferred local payment methods. Find out what they are and let your customers use those to buy your products. Offering every payment method is overkill, but picking a few of the most used ones doesn't hurt. Then consider guest check-outs and a ‘save cart’ feature. Watch this video, for  more tips on how to optimize the checkout process

Then, fifty-three percent of consumers say subscriptions are a more convenient method of paying for goods or services they regularly use. If you are selling products people buy on a regular basis, let’s say wine, it’s worth considering offering a subscription. 

How to monitor success?

If you are investing in your eCommerce customer experience, it’s also important to track the progress and success of your experience. There are 3 great ways to do that listed below.

1. Customer Satisfaction Rate

With the customer satisfaction rate, you can see how satisfied your customers are with your experience. To calculate this score you need to ask your customers how satisfied they are on a scale of one to five. From very unsatisfied to very satisfied. 

2. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

The Net Promoter Score is a score ranging from -100 to 100 that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company's products or services to others. This is useful to know since your customer experience has a large impact on word-of-mouth marketing. The higher the score the more likely your customers are to recommend you to their friends and family. 

3. Customer Effort Score (CES)

This is a score that identifies how much effort customers have made to interact with your brand. So how easy it was to let’s say buy a product or research what they needed to know before buying your product. To get your CES, brands often ask their customers how easy it was to interact with their brand on a scale from very easy to very hard. 

Final thoughts

Brands that have an excellent customer experience, have great power in their hands. It results in more conversions and retention of customers. Whether you are just starting out or are more established, it’s key to always optimize your customer experience. 

The fact is that if you are running on a template, monolithic solution, making these optimizations can be hard or even impossible. Templates are a great solution for brands just starting out, but if you want your customer experience to be one of your competitive advantages, you need to switch to a headless setup. Headless eCommerce, allows brands to create the webshop that represents their brand and build the customer experience their customers expect.  At Story of AMS, we build headless eCommerce websites with Shopify Plus. If you want to take your eCommerce customer experience to the next level, it’s worth considering headless eCommerce. Check out this article to find out why Shopify Plus is the best solution for headless eCommerce.

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