Not so long ago, the quality of the product or service was the single most important factor in defining the success of an online business.
Things have changed a lot. Now, customer experience has become an equally important area in which online businesses need to excel to beat the competition.
The ecommerce competition, by the way, is as fierce as ever. When combined with shorter attention spans of online shoppers, breaking through in an ecommerce business poses a real challenge for businesses.
Is customer experience becoming an even more important factor than product quality?
How does one make sure that online customer experience is pleasant?
We’re going to answer these questions in this article.
Why is Customer Experience Important?
When Econsultancy conducted their global survey of B2B and B2C marketers, they sought to understand the key trends in digital marketing in the recent years. One of the questions was concerned with how organizations will look to differentiate themselves from competitors in the next five years.
To the surprise of many, product/service quality came in second. Most marketers viewed customer service and customer experience as an opportunity to stand out.
Image Source: EConsultancy
As you can see, customer experience has become a primary focus for both B2C and B2B marketers, and for a good reason.
Being able to provide a memorable, positive, and pleasant experience is a big competitive advantage in ecommerce.
In other words, at the end of the day, doing business online is all about taking care of customers.
6 Tips for a Stellar Online Customer Experience
So, how can you improve the way you care about your own customers? Here are some excellent tips for you.
Tip #1: Use Responsive Design and Ensure Quick Load Times
Mobile web browsing overtook desktop’s share of web traffic in 2016.
Make sure that your website has a mobile-friendly, responsive design. Doing so is a must for delivering an excellent customer experience. It requires making a mobile version of a website using specialized platforms.
With a responsive design, you will make the browsing experience much easier and more comfortable. Be sure to make your website mobile-friendly in order to avoid losing customers.
Page speed and load time is yet another important consideration. Online shoppers don’t appreciate it when a site takes a long time to load.
In fact, for every second your site makes them wait, you reduce the chance they will make a purchase (by up to 7 percent) or even visit your site again (by 11 percent).
In other words, you may have the best or the prettiest website design in the world, but if it loads slowly, no one will wait to see it.
40 percent of online shoppers abandon a website that takes over 3 seconds to load… So three seconds to load should be your ultimate goal.
There are a number of tools available to help you check the speed of your website, analyze where the issues originate, and optimize it. They include:
- PageSpeed Insights from Google to generate suggestions to make your website faster
- PageSpeed Modules from Google to rewrite and optimize resources on the website
- Pingdom Website Speed Test from PingDom to check the speed of a website
Tip #2: Proofread All Website Content
The customer will trust your website if they see only error-free content. On the other hand, mistakes like spelling errors will make you look like an amateur. Avoid those at all costs.
“Proofreading web content is a must,” says Brian Bledsoe, a content marketer. “Doing this is like proofreading very important college papers that define your course grade, because only one mistake can cost a lot.”
In addition to human proofreading, you can use online tools like Hemingway app and Grammarly. They are designed to help you produce error-free texts, improve readability, and give an in-depth analysis of what needs to be improved in your content.
Tip #3: Enable Live Chat Option
Live chat is one of the best options to serve customers online. If your site doesn’t have such an option, visitors will feel isolated having to wait for an answer when they have a question or a problem.
Why is live chat important?
- It’s convenient and fast – 63 percent of online shoppers were more likely to return to a website that has live chat (Emarketer data)
- Live chat reduces costs, by allowing one representative to speak with multiple customers
- Live chat ensures that customers can talk with a business when they need to.
So, make sure that your customer service has excellent live chat tools to increase customer satisfaction.
Tip #4: Offer Free Shipping
People love to hear the magic word “free.” Free shipping is a good way to make a difference between a sale and a shopping cart abandonment. For example, you can offer a reward for spending a certain amount of money or buying a particular product.
According to the Walker Sands Future of Retail 2016 study, 9 out of 10 respondents reported that free shipping option was the most important incentive when asked what makes them buy online more often. So, reconsider your shipping options.
Tip #5: Respect Your Customers’ Time
Do you know how long it takes to receive a reply from you?
What about the time it takes to resolve common problems faced by customer service?
Remember, the longer you make your customers wait to hear from you, the more profits you lose. Take a careful look at your customer service metrics and see what needs to be improved.
Also, ensure that your customer service has robust reporting tools that drive the results you need.
Tip #6: Make it Personal
According to Invespcro, 45 percent of online shoppers are more likely to shop on a website that offers personalized recommendations. What’s more, 59 percent of marketers saw their ROI increase after personalizing their stores.
There are a number of ways you can personalize the customer experience:
- Personal recommendations based on browsing activity
- “Wish List”
- Recognizing location and offering free shipping to that region
- Personalized emails (notifications about sales and discounts, birthday gifts etc.)
These are the six tips to keep in mind when you want to improve your online customer experience. Follow them, and your customers won’t go anywhere else.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.
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