Did you know that most eCommerce sites struggle to make ends meet?
In fact, out of the whopping 12 to 24 million eCommerce sites across the globe, just about a million generate more than $1000 per year.
In other words, with so many shopping options, prospective customers are spoiled for choice about where they can shop. So, to succeed online, you need to be at the top of your game.
If you want to create an eCommerce site that stands out AND makes money, focusing on the customer experience you provide is a must.
Read on for 11 simple but effective strategies you can implement today to increase traffic, customer engagement, and sales.
Excited to learn more? Let's dive in.
What Is Customer Experience?
In eCommerce, customer experience (CX) is the customer’s perception of their experience with your brand. It results from every interaction with you across their entire customer journey from the first time they learn about your company.
To put it differently:
CX is the overall experience of a customer based on each time they interact, engage, or even think about your brand. Direct or indirect interactions with your company (when buying a product or viewing a Google Ad), previous experiences, reviews, and contact with your customer service team influence CX significantly.
11 Ways to Improve Customer Journey
What creates an exceptional customer experience is a well-designed customer journey.
Succeeding online is not easy. It depends on the quality of the customer experience you provide and how well-designed the customer journey is.
Offering an excellent customer experience won't be the same for every business or target audience. Yet, every eCommerce business must consider a series of consistent factors.
But here’s the good news! You can easily enhance the customer experience of your online shoppers by paying attention to the aspects below:
1. Pay Attention to Website Load Speed
Website load speed is a significant pain point for customers, and slow page load speed will harm your eCommerce store's customer experience.
The slower your website is, the more conversions you lose as your bounce rate increases. Without improving your website speed, you are essentially handing over potential customers to your competitors.
For instance, Amazon has calculated that every 100 milliseconds they lose due to latency costs them 1% in sales. Consequently, with speed having such a significant impact on your revenue and your customer experience, it's essential to take steps to speed up your website.
So how is this achieved?
For starters, ensure your website builder offers options to reduce website load speed. With Ucraft, you can take advantage of the Site Caching option to allow the system to cache your public pages until a subsequent change has been applied, resulting in reduced server load. Not only will you improve your customer experience, but you will also improve your SEO, increasing traffic and potential sales.
Avoiding uploading pictures with very high resolutions is a good idea, too. Optimize your images to around 500-1000 KB and use the WebP extension to convert JPEGs and PNGs to WebP format.
Indications your site is slow include high bounce rates and unimpressive clickthrough rates.
Don't overthink it.
Use tools to check your website's load time and collect customer feedback where possible.
2. Ensure Your Site is Easy to Navigate
Making your website intuitive entices prospective customers to navigate it and explore your products.
Ucraft's breadcrumb element is a secondary navigation scheme that helps users understand which page they are on and return to the Home page or revert a step or two. For example, when a customer discovers a product via Google Ads, such as a lamp, they can see that it is part of a more extensive lamp-related landing page, a subcategory of the more general lighting page. Therefore, with a click or tap, customers view all lighting options.
Using hierarchy-based breadcrumbs and a simple landing page structure, you can easily see where you are along with the architecture of your site and move up page levels based on your needs. So, map the customer journey the way you decide and have your most important customer touchpoints within easy reach.
If you are looking for a fantastic way to improve customer experience and reduce bounce rates, breadcrumb navigation could be for you.
3. Make Your Site Visually Appealing
Imagery is essential for improving your customer experience, and, importantly, it's a huge factor in converting prospects into customers.
While your website design and interface are vital, you shouldn't underestimate the role of visual appeal in selling products. Imagery sets the mood and tone of the website, building the perception of the brand and forming an essential part of the customer experience.
The colors, shape, pictures, font, use of white space, and balance of the design impact customer buying decisions. Imagery and design determine whether a website appeals to the customer; it affects brand perception, aids recall, and sets customer expectations.
Compare the template of an audio equipment website with this interior design web template. Both are straightforward and use sparse text. Both sites are eCommerce-driven but are trying to appeal to totally different buyer personas.
The audio equipment site uses dark colors and contrasts. The photographs are beautiful and abstract. Instantly, you're transported to a smoky underground club where music is pumping all night long.
On the other hand, the interior design website looks like a Scandinavian furniture showroom effectively using neutral coloring and blank space. The color tones closely resemble the furniture and style of decorating they use!
While a stark contrast, both websites do a great job of using color to portray their brand. Immediately, you know what these websites are selling and what their brands represent - even before you read the content.
By matching your eCommerce website design to your buyers' profile, you can influence customer perception of your brand. Use the imagery to encourage customers to shop, support your brand, and form part of a positive customer experience.
4. Use Accurate Descriptions and Photographs
Similar to the third point, the product imagery you use is a core part of your customer experience. Shoppers love to zoom in on products they are interested in and view them from different angles, so make sure to take that into account. Pixelated, blurry, or unattractive imagery will not convince anyone to add your products to the cart.
As customers can't touch, feel, or try your products before buying, you heavily rely on images to paint a clear and realistic picture. Zooming in to view the fabric of a garment or including the dimensions of a piece of furniture can go a long way towards reducing returns and dissatisfaction, which costs money.
While a high-quality product image may encourage customers to make a purchase, they won't become repeat customers if the item doesn't meet their expectations. Besides, a good customer relationship is priceless. Always be truthful in how you present your products. Accuracy is key to customer experience management.
Likewise, not only is a satisfied customer more likely to return to your website, but they are far more likely to refer you to their friends. So, try to find a balance between product quality and profit. If possible, include reviews and testimonials. Seeing ratings and reviews build trust and help users decide on making a purchase faster.
5. Avoid Using Too Much Text, Images, or Content
You might be tempted to clutter your screen with images or long pages describing your products and services, but it hinders the user experience and makes it difficult for consumers to find what they are looking for.
Too much content can distract a customer and send them down a rabbit hole, rather than laser-focusing on the end goal: making a purchase! If a customer can't find what they are searching for, chances are they will bounce, and you'll lose the sale.
Every piece of content has to have a goal in connection with your business objectives and target audience. Every time you include something on your website, be clear about why it's there and what purpose it achieves.
Google Analytics is your friend. Use the software to see which pages, categories, or products generate views and clickthroughs and where customers are dropping out of your funnel. Learn which pages are delivering or meeting customer needs and which can be improved.
6. Communicate Early and Often
After an hour of searching, nothing is more frustrating than finding an item out of stock or subject to a lengthy delay. Think of the experience customers have when something isn't available - you’ve probably come across such situations yourself. Make sure to show whether an item is in stock or not, the backorder or preorder dates, and the delivery options your company can offer.
Manage expectations with your customers during the earliest stage of interaction. If your company is hand-tooling leather shoes and customers should expect a six-week delay in delivery, let them know before they purchase.
With the rise of colossal eCommerce sites like Amazon, users have become accustomed to same or next-day delivery services. You might think it's hard to compete with this customer experience, but most customers will be prepared to wait if they receive an early indication of how long it will take.
Sure, this might mean that you miss out on a sale in the shorter term. But if your customer plans to surprise someone for Christmas or wear a special outfit for a party, and their package doesn't arrive in time, your website is the Grinch that ruined their experience. It's better to lose out on one quick sale than losing a customer for life because they perceive your service as inadequate.
7. Make It Easy to Complain and Correct
Good customer support must be available. Besides, you can't deliver good customer service if the customer can't find you. If they've had to spend hours hunting down your contact details, chances are they're going to be pretty frustrated when they finally get in touch.
If your customer is unhappy with their product or service and can't quickly get a hold of you, it sends them straight to social media, where they can post a lengthy rant in just a few clicks for everyone to see.
Make sure you respond to customer feedback (positive and negative) on social media, too. You don't want negative word of mouth to tank your business. Even if a customer experiences less than ideal service, you want to show the world that you are willing to respond to customer feedback and resolve the issue.
The consensus is: be there for your customers, no matter what.
8. Offer a Live Chat Option for Customer Support
Even if you are a one-person band with no employees on your team, you can have live chat support. Chatbots can efficiently perform the same function as a customer service representative and deliver positive customer experiences. They can also gather valuable feedback for your company.
Most queries that customers have are straightforward requests for password resets, delivery information, or product requests. Bots can be programmed to answer FAQs or direct customers to knowledgebase articles on your site.
9. Use Frequently Asked Questions and Care Tips
Improving the customer experience doesn't have to be limited to hands-on interaction. Believe it or not, customers feel much better about themselves and their experience with your company when they can answer a question or solve technical issues independently.
Your eCommerce website should anticipate and solve as many queries as possible through thorough, helpful FAQs, product descriptions, and how-to guides. If you sell products that need special care and handling, include tips upfront in your product description, like cleaning instructions for cast iron pans, watering tips for plants, or links to the leather cleaner if you sell leather shoes.
10. Simplify Shopping and Checkout
Your online checkout should be simple and easy. It should be straightforward to access the shopping cart and final checkout anywhere on the product pages. Ensure that you provide visuals that clearly and intuitively lead customers to add items to their carts, checkout, and pay.
Frustrated customers are more likely to abandon their carts than persist with checking out. Nearly 75% of customers abandon their carts at some point due to complex checkout procedures or because they aren't ready to make a purchase.
Extend your cart life as far as possible. You can even offer opportunities for customers to save the items in their cart to a wish list. Customers might like to window shop and return to pay for items at a later stage.
Use push notifications reminding customers that they have items in their cart that they haven't checked out yet.
Ensure that the Pay Now button is visible on your site at all times and display your cart contents well. Make it easy for customers to remove items from the cart and modify quantities. If possible, offer a guest checkout.
11. Measure Your CX Regularly
You can't improve what you don't measure, so make sure to keep an eye on your customer experience performance. Some tools you can use to measure your customer experience include:
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
The Net Promoter Score tracks which percentage of customers will recommend you to friends and family. It's typically measured by asking customers how likely they are to recommend your business on a scale of 0-10. People who score you 9-10 are promoters. People who score you less than 6 are detractors. Calculate your NPS score by subtracting the percentage of detractors from promoters.
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
The CSAT is the average satisfaction score of customers for a given experience on a scale that ranges from Very Satisfied to Not at All Satisfied. You can apply a CSAT survey to interactions, including returns, customer service calls, and successful checkout. Keep in mind, though, that many customers avoid them.
If you’re measuring your customer satisfaction, don’t forget about customer loyalty strategies. A vital part of customer experience is encouraging loyalty. Consider implementing a point-based customer reward scheme or some form of paid subscription that offers your customers extra value for being part of.
Customer Effort Score (CES)
Customer effort determines the effort required by a customer to complete an interaction. This metric helps you determine how difficult it is for a customer to resolve an issue within your eCommerce site by asking how much effort it took to complete the action. It's a good way of determining whether you are reducing customer experience obstacles.
The Importance of Customer Experience for eCommerce
Don't neglect your eCommerce customer experience. A beautiful design and high-quality products are essential to your success, but if customers find it challenging to check the products out or discover what they are looking for, your efforts won't pay off.
Ucraft can help you design beautiful eCommerce sites with the end-user experience in mind. Templates are clean, expressive, and easy to modify without compromising on usability. Pick the template that suits your style and start customizing.