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Customer experience, among many other things, looks different than a year ago. In 2020, we all experienced drastic changes–the business world was not an exception. Resultingly, more customers shop online due to safety concerns. Online shopping has increased by as much as ten percentage points in some categories since the beginning of the pandemic. Therefore, it’s imperative that your online customer service experience is up to par. Customers expect similar if not better treatment online as they do in face-to-face environments. Customers want to be wowed, as well as safe online shopping experiences. That creates a challenge for you when fine-tuning your eCommerce customer experience.
Outstanding customer experiences have the potential to be harder for businesses to achieve when all customer interactions happen through screens. Personal service, human interactions, and live communication are taken away in the digital world. It is, therefore, essential for businesses to find innovative ways to connect with their customers online.
Here are five ways eCommerce businesses can up their customer experience game.
1. Get Social With It
Social media is a fantastic tool all businesses need to consider. Not only can a good social media strategy engage customers, but it can also simultaneously help your business with online reputation management.
In March of 2020, when the county locked down Big Bottom Market in Guerneville, California, owner Michael Volpatt closed his doors for businesses. Unsure of the future of his business, but still wanting to engage with his customers, Volpatt decided to launch a cooking show. He posted each episode on Facebook Live and Instagram TV. The show, Cooking in Place, featured various recipes using local ingredients. Valpatt’s hopes were to continue connecting with his customers as well as boosting eCommerce sales. It worked.
“Not only did we increase our total number of followers across our channels, we were also able to increase eCommerce sales,” Volpatt said, as he saw sales increase dramatically. “Our sales ended up paying for our monthly fixed expenses, which was very helpful for a business that relies on foot traffic.”
Indeed, being active on social media is a great way to not only get the word out about a business, but also to engage with customers. It creates a connection to audiences, humanizes the business, and makes customer experience more personal.
2. Chat It Up
Nothing is more frustrating for a customer than the inability to ask a question or talk to someone to resolve a problem. In a brick-and-mortar environment, a quick stop at the customer service counter can help. In an eCommerce setting, there is no face-to-face interaction. To avoid any frustration on the part of the customers, businesses must create an easy and quick way for them to connect to the business.
Live chat is a great option as it offers an efficient communication channel right at the customers’ fingertips. From a pop-up window on a homepage to SMS ability, to Chatbots that answer simple questions–live chat has many helpful options. Don’t make a customer wait on the phone or look for an email address (and then wait again for a response). The faster customers can resolve an issue, the better their customer service experience will be.
3. Simplify the Payment Process
Complexity is one of the most common reasons for shopping cart abandonment in eCommerce. So, making the payment process easy and quick can help ensure that the customer does not leave the site empty-handed.
Efficient customer transactions start with effective tools and processes in place by the business. It’s important to decide which form of credit card processing is best for you. As a business, you’ll have many options to choose from, including, virtual terminals, payment gateways, or third-party processing integrations. Decide the best route for your business and which makes the most sense for your desired customer experience.
4. Take Customers Shopping, for Real
Let’s be honest. While many customers are perfectly fine quickly loading their online shopping carts and going on with their lives, some people still miss in-store shopping. Well, guess what? In 2020, there is an app for that!
Mobile apps like Go Instore are taking the nostalgia of walking around a store or the mall and making it virtual. Customers can communicate from home with sales associates inside the store to check out products, see how they work, ask questions, etc.
Alternatively, apps such as Shop LIT Live, provide a social media-powered shopping experience. They connect brands, influencers, and consumers to create a social environment of shopping digitally.
Such apps and other mobile solutions have helped many a business during the pandemic by recreating a specific customer experience
“We have found that mobile engagement has played a huge role in helping us create lasting connections with our eCommerce customers,” said Jessica Stelly, Web Operations Manager of their client Coburn Supply Company, who has been using a mobile engagement solution provider, Moblico Solutions. “Our new replenishment ordering program allows our contractors to quickly scan barcodes to be added to a queue.”
5. Make Business Super Personal
Who doesn’t love a good ol’ mom-and-pop shop? One of the most important differentiators for small businesses is the extremely personal customer service experience they provide. A genuine atmosphere, personal attention, and a customer-first attitude are the things that make small shops flourish. This might be a challenge to recreate in an online eCommerce setting. But with the right attitude and some out-of-the-box thinking, it could bring some charming results to your eCommerce customer experience strategy.
Personalizing Customer Experience: Case Study
Take John’s Crazy Socks. It’s an online retailer selling over 2,000 fun “crazy” socks, founded by Mark Cronin and his son, John Cronin, a young entrepreneur with Down syndrome.
“We have an online business yet one of our core principles is to create a personal connection with our customers. This commitment infuses everything we do,” Mark Cronin said.
Every customer who orders socks from the online store can feel these personal touches. For example, each shipment the company sends to a customer includes a thank you note from John and a package of candy. And each packing slip includes a sticker with the picture and name of the person who did the packing. “We want our customers to see that there were actual people here working on their orders,” said Cronin.
The company strives to make personal connections with customers. From home deliveries that John personally makes to local customers to birthday promotional offers, John and the team have thought of it all.
These are the specialized customer service experiences that attract eyeballs and drive sales to your eCommerce store.
Final Thoughts on eCommerce Customer Experience
Some businesses have been exploring the world of eCommerce even before the pandemic. Others are new to it. Either way, online customer experience should be their top priority. Through the use of efficient tools and some creativity, it’s possible to make customers feel good about their experiences with companies. So write a birthday card to your customers, chat them up on live chat, or send them some candy. Whatever makes them say “wow.”