The eCommerce industry is a highly competitive environment, and staying on top of the game requires delivering a consistently great customer experience throughout the entire website. The eCommerce business is highly data-driven by nature, with information being gathered at every single point along the customer journey, starting with tracking customers’ search enquiries, analyzing the impact of marketing measures, and continuing with measuring the entire website experience, support enquiries, the order process, and the delivery experience, including returns handling as well. The process consists of many various details which have to be viewed as individual pieces to understand the big overall picture. To do so, modern day eCommerce companies are asking themselves the following question: “How do we improve customer experience for our eCommerce clients during the complex ordering process in our industry, and how does big data play a role in doing so?”
Part 1: Defining the Right Touch Points along the Customer Journey
The purchasing process starts in the customer’s mind. To improve customer experience right from the beginning, you should imagine what the customers might want to see when viewing a product, or think about which service they might like to have (ex: customer service chat pop-up). According to modern-day consumer behavior, customers aren’t necessarily asking themselves, “Where do I get the best price?” Instead, customers are asking themselves, “Where do I get the most convenient service? Is my preferred payment method available? How convenient is the returns process? How reliable and fast is delivery? How helpful is the customer support?” Customers 3.0 are aware of the fact that service will come at a certain cost, and are not only willing to pay more for high quality products, they are also willing to do so for high quality service. All of their questions should be answered along the entire value chain, especially in the customer-oriented, highly competitive eCommerce industry.
1. Search Results & Marketing
Once customers become interested in buying a product, they begin to look for even more information about the company offering the product. If you’re looking to improve the customer experience, look no further – it all starts here. Which offer is the most appealing? Which search result seems the most trustworthy and reliable regarding the overall service beyond the product? Are there existing customer reviews and can I trust their authenticity? If the information about your website is able to answer the above questions within a matter of seconds with “yes,” customers will most likely visit your website, therefore creating a new unique visit in your search analytics data.
2. Website Experience
Once you have gotten a potential customer to visit your website, you need to take your service to the next level to improve the customer experience. How is the navigation experience on your website? Does the content load quickly? Can customers find exactly what they’re looking for? Does the website comply with the trust I had in the company when I clicked on the ad? Is there a lively community sharing information about products and their service experiences? Reach out to customers right away to show them that you’re happy to support them in their decision.
3. The Order Process
Losing customers right before they buy is the worst thing that can happen. At that point, you have already spent money on the marketing and paid website designers and developer teams only to have customers skip out after filling up their basket. If this is happening to you, ask yourself the following questions: do you offer the right payment options? Is there enough information about the delivery and returns process? Are your options for entering addresses sufficient? How is international delivery handled? Do customers still feel confident about the service they were looking for? When it comes to spending money, people have to feel confident about where and what they’re spending it on, making the prepayment experience the hardest hurdle to overcome.
4. Delivery Experience
Before customers even finish ordering a product, they become anxious about the delivery date. They’re looking forward to receiving their shipment and have multiple questions regarding the receipt date. “What’s my order status? Where is my shipment right now? When will I receive it?” Whether they were able to choose a certain delivery service or not, the entire delivery experience is 100% connected with the shop in which the customers ordered. Improving the customer experience also includes the delivery process, and is therefore a crucial part of the overall customer experience.
5. Returns Handling
Having products turn out to be different from the original expectation is disappointing enough. Sending them back means extra work, time, and annoyance for customers. Although you have no real power over customers’ expectations of products, their disappointment will have an impact on their impression of the customer experience at your e-store. Making the returns process as easy as possible and understanding customer needs will help to retain all customers and increase the probability pf them making a new order with you again.
6. Customer Support
When a question or request pops up into the customers’ minds, it is key that they can easily contact the customer service team on their channel of choice. Do you provide a live chat? Is there a phone number they can call free of charge from their home countries? How quickly are requests responded to? Does the answer truly help the customer with his/her problem? Don’t avoid customer contact, but rather encourage customers to get in touch with you. It’s the greatest source of small data you can get: the voice of your customers.