There’s an old adage applicable to life “it’s the little things that count”.
Similarly, when it comes to optimising your eCommerce business to provide the best customer experience, sometimes we focus on rolling out the ‘next big thing’ – chatbots to supercharge customer service, automated behaviour-based notification triggers.
Big changes lead to big results, right? How else are you going to differentiate yourself from your competitors?
Going Back To The Fundamentals To Offer The Best Customer Experience To Your Customers
In the midst of all these huge plans, it’s important to go back to the fundamentals to provide the best customer experience for your eCommerce shop – what do online shoppers want?
A report from Namogoo surveying 1,400 online shoppers in the on what a great shopping experience is in the US has important insights for us.
Source: Marketing Charts
From this report, the factors that made or broke the eCommerce experience for customers aren’t the absence of a store’s bells-and-whistles, its fundamental factors that frustrated them. In this article, we go through 8 fundamental aspects of the eCommerce customer experience that affect the impression of your store.
1. Your site speed is slow.
Your customers expect your site to load quickly or they’ll get frustrated and leave.
A study by Skilled discovered several critical insights about page speed.
- 64% of smartphone users expect pages to load in four seconds or less
- 47% of online shoppers expect web pages to load in two seconds or less
- Site speed has a direct impact on site revenue. Up to 79% of customers dissatisfied with a website’s performance say they’re less likely to buy from the same site again
There are many ways to reduce site speed, like image caching, data compression, but one simple trick we’ve found is to ensure your images are compressed and set to the appropriate image dimensions before uploading them on your site. High-quality photography and images can be big files and slow down your page.
2. Your product images and descriptions aren’t clear
Virtually all (87%) the shoppers surveyed in the Namangoo report agree that clear product images are critical for an excellent eCommerce shopping experience. Close behind at 77% is having clear product information on your listings.
Another study found 20% of purchase failures are potentially from having missing or unclear product information. The solution to this is to be as specific as possible with your product descriptions.
For example, if you’re selling clothes, shoppers want to see the following:
- Materials used
- Cleaning and washing information
- Size guide
- Colour options.
Any specific information about the product that helps the potential customer learn more about the product and ease any potential worries or objections towards making that decision is appropriate.
3. You have broken links on your eCommerce site
Let’s be real.
Managing a eCommerce site gets messy.
The more products you have on your website or the more often you swap out links for sales promotions, the more often you will encounter these errors. Stocks change with time and people will still try to reach them via old links.
But let’s get this. According to BigCommerce, Only 23 percent of visitors will attempt to find a missing page if they encounter a 404 error page. The other 77 percent will not try at all. That’s A LOT of missed opportunities.
Error 404s also affect SEO, page bounce rates and user experience. To fix these, perform regular checks using site crawling tools, Google Analytics or Google Search Console to find and fix these errors.
4. Your checkout process is frustrating and asks for too much from your customer
A complex checkout process discourages your potential customers from following through and results in higher abandoned cart rates.
The more data you ask from your potential customer, the more you need to ensure you have a good reason for collecting that data. Furthermore, the more complex your form, the more likely your potential customers are going to give up while filling in the form. This will cost you valuable sales.
When building your checkout process, keep to the essentials. In most checkout sequences, you need to know:
- Who the shopper is
- How they’re going to pay
- Where to ship their products to
Anything else is non-essential.
5. Your search function is returning irrelevant results or not useful
Does your eCommerce site have a search function? Is it user-friendly and useful to your potential customer? If it isn’t, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity for customer experience.
RichRelevance’s Site Search Survey 2018 found a staggering 8 out of 10 shoppers used a site’s search function – often (45%) or always (35%). Of these frustrations, irrelevant product results were the most frustrating ranked at the top.
If your search function doesn’t provide your customers with relevant results, customers are likely to leave your site.
6. You aren’t clear with data protection and security
Online shopping can be a thrilling and a scary place. Customers are being asked to hand over their personal identity and financial details to purchase something. What if this data falls into the wrong hands or is mistreated?
As we previously highlighted on Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends report for eCommerce, data privacy and security has become a hot-button topic for consumers. Consumers are now more aware of these issues and will not hesitate to take action like deleting apps, disabling cookies or avoid visiting websites or even avoid buying products from stores that don’t assure them of data privacy.
Especially in the light of the recent GDPR regulations across Europe, how can you assure customers that you treat their data security with the utmost care?
Start by ensuring your website has security certificates like Secure Sockets Layers (SSL) – ensuring that whatever information the consumer provides is encrypted. Also, consider user authentication layers; for example letting users set up security questions or email confirmations to give your customers more assurance.
7. You aren’t transparent with shipping costs before checkout
Imagine this – you’ve been busy hunting for a birthday gift and you’ve finally stumbled upon the perfect one.
You whip out your credit card ready to make payment, only to realise that there’s a shipping cost that’s easily double the cost of the gift itself.
How would you react?
Did you know hiding your shipping costs right before checkout is one of the top reasons for cart abandonment? Nothing frustrates a consumer more than finding the ideal item to buy but getting hit with an unexpected high delivery cost right before checkout.
Instead, make delivery prices and delivery options visible on an actual product page before customers start the checkout process.
8. You neglect your after-checkout customer experience.
Remember, your job is not done after the customer clicks to check out.
If your customer has not received their order, their purchase journey is not complete. Online shoppers frequently rate parcel tracking after their order one of the most frustrating parts of the online shopping experience.
Whether it’s copying and pasting a complicated tracking code, going to a 3rd party carrier page to track their package or frantically going back to the merchant’s website or social media platforms to search for tracking updates, tracking a purchase can be frustrating and tedious.
Yet, 43% of consumers say they are likely to never shop with a retailer following a negative delivery experience. Retailers who invest in after-checkout improvements like parcel tracking services and delivery notifications will stand heads and shoulders above their competition.
Wouldn’t you want that to be you?
Get Your E-Commerce Fundamentals Right For The Best Customer Experience
With all the talk about new technologies and features coming in, it’s easy to neglect the fundamentals of a great customer experience to chase the latest technological developments.
As customer experience expert Avtar Ram Singh shared on LinkedIn:
“The reality is that as long as your online store is easy to navigate, quick, shows the relevant results, displays high-resolution images of products, has the delivery information, price, time and payment methods clearly spelled out – you’ve already met most of the most critical criteria that people worry about when shopping online. Until you fix the fundamentals, everything else is noise.”
Always come back to what your customers want.
Use these areas as a checklist to help you assess the fundamentals of your eCommerce customer experience and get those right if these areas are doing well. You will stand above your competition if you do the best you can in these areas.
Want to get more of such tips to improve your eCommerce customer experience? Sign up for our monthly newsletter chock-full of actionable tips and strategies on how to provide the best customer experience for your eCommerce shop!
Joshua is the Marketing Manager at Parcel Perform. He loves technology and a good book. Outside of e-commerce and Parcel Perform, you can find him in the kitchen, gym or yoga studio.