As the online shopping sector has grown to nearly $5 trillion in annual sales, customer expectations for seamless ecommerce experience have increased in tandem. Your brand needs to provide top-tier engagement, security, and convenience to compete in this area, both within your industry and across the global landscape.
In this guide, we offer our 10 best strategies for a streamlined user experience so you can enhance this critical ingredient to ecommerce success.
What Does 'Ecommerce Customer Experience' Mean?
Each and every online interaction your brand has with a customer makes up that person's ecommerce experience. The sum of these touchpoints and engagements shapes the individual's perspective about and interactions with the business.
The ecommerce experience begins as soon as someone becomes aware of the brand and continues until they permanently stop buying. Most companies connect with their customers through multiple channels in the course of this journey, including but not limited to email, text, social media, and branded app and website content.
10 Ways to Improve Your Ecommerce Customer Experience
Optimizing the ecommerce experience for customers can have a powerful positive effect on everything from retention to revenue. You can start perfecting the process of buying from your brand with these ten well-tested strategies, systems, and techniques designed to boost conversion and enhance audience loyalty.
1. Gather Insightful Data
You won't be able to optimize your ecommerce experience unless you understand what customers actually want from your brand. If you haven't developed or recently updated your company's buyer personas, it's time to collect information that reflects their needs, preferences, and pain points.
If you don't already have audience data at hand, you can start by:
- Sending satisfaction surveys to your audience through email, text, or social media. Avoid the temptation to ask more than two or three questions to increase the chances of a strong response rate.
- Spending time reading and analyzing reviews of your brand. Social media comments and a simple Google search can provide extensive insight into what you're doing right and how you can improve.
- Looking at customer purchase behavior to see how they interact with your brand online. Pay.com provides you with the Pay Dashboard where you can analyze all your transactions and get information about metrics like transaction frequency and size.
Marketing decisions based on accurate data allows your business to take the necessary customer-centered approach for ecommerce success.
2. Start at the Beginning
You can upgrade your customer's ecommerce experience as soon as they become aware of your brand with attention to how you interact before they buy. To make a purchase, potential customers need to understand why they should buy from your brand, what products and services you offer, and how these items provide value by solving a problem or pain point.
Review your pre-purchase marketing materials with an eye on these considerations. If you're not presenting a clear value proposition and call-to-action, a refresh can improve conversions by adding relevant information.
When conducting this comprehensive audit, keep customer considerations in mind. Use this checklist to make sure you're hitting all the essentials of an engaging ecommerce experience:
- Flawless navigation free of broken or confusing links
- Fast load time (less than 2 seconds) for all pages and elements
- Alignment with your brand appearance, voice and feel
- Engaging, informative content
- Aesthetic appeal
- Strong search functionality
- Lack of elements that create friction, interrupting the audience experience
- Consistent experience across website pages, social media, and other online channels (an omnichannel approach)
- Streamlined journey from product to purchase and beyond
3. Make It Easy on Mobile
An estimated 75% of ecommerce transactions take place on mobile devices, so you're missing out if your site can't easily support these types of transactions. Just like your desktop experience, your mobile UX should be simple, attractive and satisfying to use. Avoid distractions and clutter that can slow shopping and lead to cart abandonment.
In addition, if you're only selling services and products through your dedicated website, you're ignoring a huge number of customers who prefer to shop where they spend time online. Consider adopting an omnichannel strategy so your audience can browse your brand right from their social streams and inboxes.
4. Amp Up Your Product Content
If you've been selling online for a while and haven't refreshed your product content, prioritize putting an up-to-date spin on these pages. First and foremost, emphasize clear, attractive 360-degree images that show your goods in the best possible light.
Next, update the copy so it educates the customer about each item's value proposition. Gather frequently asked questions about your products and make sure your audience has the answers so they can make an informed buying decision without seeking outside info.
You may also want to consider innovative ways of presenting your ecommerce offerings. Examples include:
- Augmented reality apps so customers can "try on" items like cosmetics and accessories or see how decor items will look in their actual spaces
- Videos that show your products in motion or examples of your services in use, increasing transparency and enhancing customer trust
- Elements that appeal to senses and emotions, illustrating how it really "feels" to use the product or service
- Personalized picks like recommendations based on previous browsing and buying behavior
- Micro-animations, small moving illustrations that last just a few seconds but potentially make a big impact
Don't forget to add social proof in the form of positive online reviews and testimonials. Research suggests that more than 90% of ecommerce buyers consider this information when making a purchase, and most of those individuals place social proof at the same level as a personal product recommendation from a friend or colleague.
5. Drive the Decision-Making Process
After the audience becomes aware of your brand, they enter the decision-making portion of the marketing funnel. At this stage, the customer gathers more information to determine whether they'll follow through with a purchase.
Although the person has already explored your product pages and read reviews, you should stay in contact until they complete the checkout process. Some of the most meaningful ways to connect during this phase include:
- Reaching out with coupons and offers
- Providing details about your company's policies and procedures, such as free shipping or a risk-free trial period
- Sharing information about your brand's ethical commitments, like community involvement or clean supply chains
- Highlighting special features of the product or service in question
- Offering special prices on related items to boost purchase value
6. Stick to Single-Page Forms and Checkouts
Avoid asking your customers to click through multiple pages for each purchase. Instead, pare down your process to include essential information only. Long forms and complicated checkouts are common causes of cart abandonment, and it can be difficult to get a customer to come back after they've decided the transaction isn't worth the trouble.
On the flip side, minimizing friction during this stage can dramatically increase conversions. For example, it's important to offer the option of guest checkout to avoid alienating market members who don't want to make an account.
Although simple seems best when it comes to customer checkout preferences, you should still add essential elements that identify your brand. Pay.com lets you personalize your payment platform in seconds with elements that build trust like your logo and branding and security badges that show off your commitment to safe transactions.
7. Accept Additional Payment Methods
Customers increasingly expect expanded ecommerce payment options. If your brand doesn't align with these preferences, it can become harder to reach the widest possible segment of your target market. This becomes especially true if your competitors offer a wide array of payment methods.
When you select Pay.com as your payment service provider, you can accept digital wallets, debit cards, credit cards, and many more ways to pay. It's as easy as choosing the appropriate options when you go through our simple, streamlined onboarding process.
8. Communicate About Challenges
Shipping delays and other snags can keep customers from coming back to your business. However, you can create loyalty for life by communicating transparently about the issue at hand and making it right. Develop a policy for delays using these simple steps:
- Contact customers as soon as you realize you can't fill an order as expected, whether you've run out of stock or your courier can't make the delivery deadline.
- Follow up frequently until you find out the order has successfully arrived. In the case of an out-of-stock product, offer a comparable replacement along with an item of value like a discount for a future purchase.
- Reach out again after the delivery to ensure customer satisfaction. This type of personal touch can go a long way in helping you stand out from your extensive ecommerce competition.
Strong supply chain management may alleviate some of these problems before they occur. You can update your protocols and vendors to provide faster delivery, ensure product security throughout transit, and better manage inventory to avoid out-of-stock items.
9. Keep Connecting Post-Purchase
After the first transaction, don't forget to stay in touch with your brand-new customer. If problems arise, address them to the person's satisfaction as quickly as possible to avoid damaging the fledgling connection.
After a successful purchase, the right types of touchpoints can encourage someone to purchase again and increase the average value of their sales. It all starts with a confirmation email that thanks the person for their purchase and clearly outlines what to expect from the next steps. It should also list multiple ways to connect with customer support should they need to do so.
After that first message, try adding one or more of these post-purchase marketing techniques to your brand's repertoire:
- Thanking the customer for their purchase and providing customer service information in case they have questions or concerns
- Asking for feedback about the purchase and encouraging product registration if available
- Providing information about events and programs designed to enhance customer engagement
- Sending frequent promotional offers, especially for products and services related to the initial purchase
- Updating with important news about your brand, like new product lines and promotions
The more often you reach out and provide real value, the more likely you are to develop a strong, lasting relationship with each of your buyers. This approach drives authentic connection and helps build a community around your brand.
10. Evaluate the Ecommerce Experience
When investing in a new user experience for your ecommerce business, setting measurable goals can determine whether the upgrade supports the company's overall objectives. Metrics you may want to analyze include:
- Churn rate: The number of customers your company loses over a specified time period
- Conversion rate (CV): The number of people who've bought from your brand compared to your total ecommerce audience
- Customer effort score (CES): A one-question survey that measures your product's ease of use from the customer perspective
- Customer lifetime value (CLV): The total amount someone has spent on your brand's products and services
- Customer satisfaction (CSAT): A one-question survey that measures someone's level of satisfaction with your brand on a numerical scale
- First response rate: How quickly your company response to customer support messages
- Net promoter score (NPS): The number of customers who recommend your brand to others
- Repeat customer rate (RCR): A comparison of the number of repeat customers to one-time buyers
- Time to resolution: The amount of time from a customer's initial support request until you're able to resolve the issue to their satisfaction
Although you don't have to track all of these areas, evaluating the numbers that best support your goals can show whether you're making progress toward those objectives.
Your Ecommerce Business Can Accept Multiple Payment Methods
If your business doesn't already accept multiple methods of online payment, you increase the risk of customer cart abandonment. Partnership with Pay.com makes it easy to expand the available payment options at checkout, increasing conversions by understanding and aligning with your customers’ payment preferences.
Our infrastructure also complies with the highest level of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), ensuring that private information is shielded for every transaction. Protection includes high-tech features like multi-factor authentication and tokenized, encrypted payments.
As a Pay.com customer, your brand will also benefit from:
- A combination of easy-to-use code-free tech solutions and advanced APIs so we can flex to meet your team's level of expertise.
- Straightforward sign-up so your users can quickly realize the advantages of your new payment process.
- Detailed transaction reporting through our intuitive Pay Dashboard.
- A transparent flat-rate fee structure that makes it affordable to upgrade your payment services provider.
The Bottom Line
Research from organizations like the Retail Industry Leaders Association highlights the importance of offering an omnichannel experience, which means that your audience knows exactly what to expect no matter how they decide to buy from your brand.
Catering to customers' preferences and needs throughout the purchase process increases the chances that they'll convert once, then keep coming back.
Putting payment preferences at the forefront helps you give your customers the online experience they expect. Pay.com has the refresh you're looking for with solutions you can personalize to fit your business, now and as your ecommerce endeavor continues to thrive.