These days, it’s no longer sufficient to start an online store and use SEO to rank it in the search engines. Having a presence on the internet isn’t enough. Customers now expect more. To convince customers to do business with you, you need a way to stand out from the competition.
Implementing changes to your eCommerce platform that emphasize the customer experience is how many companies are building their brands and increasing sales. Focusing on the customer experience simply means that a company is paying attention to how customers shop on their websites. The idea is to create a streamlined shopping experience without any pain points.
It’s very easy to make changes to your eCommerce website to improve the customer experience. You just have to view your website from a new perspective – that of the customer. By making a few simple changes, you may be able to dramatically improve how customers interact with your shopping platform.
Here are seven ways you can easily improve the customer experience:
Engage customers through social media
Using social media to interact with customers is one of the best things you can do to improve the customer experience. That’s because it’s both free and easy to do.
A simple way to do this is to set up a free Facebook page for your business. You can encourage customers to “like” your page to grow your following and interact with them by posting links to relevant articles in your niche and other things that encourage them to communicate with you and others in the group.
When you engage with customers through social media, you are creating a bond between the company and the customer. It’s a powerful trust factor. It makes customers feel like a company is genuinely interested in them. Customers tend to remember this when they are ready to make a purchase.
Build trust with product reviews
In the early days of Amazon, the company implemented something that seemed very counterintuitive at the time. It let customers rate and review its products. If a customer didn’t like a product, she could leave a one-star review and a negative comment. And then something remarkable happened…
The sky didn’t fall.
Many believed having a rating system would be detrimental to the sales of certain products. But it didn’t work out that way. In fact, Amazon’s sales continued to climb higher and higher as each year passed.
The reason why unbiased product reviews didn’t hurt sales is because customers look at these reviews in a positive way. It’s a powerful trust factor. A company that isn’t afraid to include the good, the bad, and the ugly on its products is a company that customers believe to be trustworthy – just the kind of company they want to do business with.
Adding unbiased product ratings and reviews to your own products is a great way to build trust with your customers. Reading what others have to say about a product helps customers better understand its qualities. It helps them make better buying decisions. Not only does that improve the overall customer experience, but it also helps to reduce product returns.
Add customer testimonials
Similar to product reviews and ratings, customer testimonials are another powerful trust factor that customers consider before making a purchase. Testimonials add authenticity to a website. Reading about other customers’ positive experiences may help them feel more comfortable with doing business with a company.
When adding customer testimonials, be sure to get permission to use a picture with a name and a short quote. It’s best not to use people’s full names to protect their privacy. Instead, a first name and the initial of the last name is all you need.
Make sure your website navigation is intuitive
Another very simple thing that can be done to dramatically improve the customer experience on eCommerce platforms is to make sure the navigation is simple and intuitive. A site navigation that is complex, like having sub-menus embedded within a main menu, could confuse customers and cause them to give up on your site, resulting in lost sales.
Ideally, you want to have as few menu options as possible, with your main menu conveniently located at the top of your website. Additional product options can be presented after a customer selects a main menu option.
Additionally, giving customers a way to conduct a product search on your website makes it easy for them to quickly find what they need. A search field should be placed in an area of your homepage where it is easy to find.
Consider adding a blog
Adding a blog to your eCommerce platform is a great way to connect with your customers, educate them on various issues, and influence buying decisions.
A blog positions you as an expert in your niche. When customers read an article that explains a difficult concept in a way that is easy to understand or educates them on something they didn’t previously know, they will consider your company to be an authority on the subject. And when it comes time to make a purchase, customers usually prefer to buy from companies they consider to be authorities on the items they sell instead of “me too” competitors.
A great thing about adding a blog to your website is that it’s a great way to connect with your followers through social media channels. Every time you publish a new blog post, for example, you can share it with your followers on Facebook, Twitter, and others to generate a discussion.
Simplify the checkout process
In some cases, customers will add products to a shopping cart and then not complete the purchase because there are too many steps in the checkout process or it’s is too confusing. To ensure a high rate of checkout completion, you want to remove any pain points in the checkout process and make it as smooth and intuitive as possible.
It’s best to avoid the temptation to upsell customers during the checkout process. By the time customers have reached this point in their shopping, they are ready to complete their orders. Upsells or other distractions could frustrate shoppers and cause some to not complete their orders.
When a customer reaches the checkout page, all products in the shopping cart should be clearly listed with both the unit price and the total price for the products ordered displayed. Shipping options and prices should also be clearly listed.
Lastly, you want to make sure you offer a variety of payment options. All major credit cards should be accepted as well as PayPal, Stripe, and other online payment systems.
Let your customers know you appreciate them
One of the most powerful things you can do to improve the customer experience is to go out of your way to make your customers feel special – to make them feel like you truly value their business. When customers feel like a company genuinely appreciates them, they will be more likely to do business with that company again in the future, or tell others about their positive experiences.
You could, for instance, set up an autoresponder to send a nice email to customers when they place orders thanking them for their business. You could also send a free product sample or inexpensive company swag with orders. Little gestures often go a long way in making customers feel appreciated.
Letting your customers know you appreciate them isn’t difficult at all. It doesn’t even have to cost anything. With just a little creativity, you could easily come up with some great ideas to make your customers feel special.
One step at a time
Improving the customer experience on eCommerce platforms isn’t difficult if you implement one change at a time. In no time at all, your website could be well-positioned to give customers an amazing shopping experience they won’t soon forget.