The e-commerce market is getting saturated with growing numbers of competing businesses, both on the national and international level. With COVID-19 keeping people in their homes, online stores enjoy a sudden increase in popularity. Not all e-commerce companies were ready to take full advantage of this development. In this article, we want to share some tips on how to improve your business and grow your monthly income. In short, you need to polish your processes, focus on customers’ needs, and make your brand stand out.
Grow your business by cultivating positive customer experience
One of the most important measures for your business is how well you’ve taken care of general CX (customer experience). It’s a term that includes all the experiences of a given customer as they interact with your brand and business. In other words, it’s a sum of smaller experiences and interactions, such as:
- Online shopping (checking the product catalog, looking for specific products),
- The shopping cart experience (is it easy to adjust my order to my needs?),
- The process of placing an order, payment options, and in-shop support (explanations, advice, help in decision-making),
- Post-order support (and its availability) and handling complaints,
- Social media interactions, including interactions with ads,
- The emotional impact of your website’s look, packaging, mailing lists, etc.
CX is often associated with UX (user experience). However, CX is a much broader field - in fact, traditional UX design is a part of CX. In turn, certain areas that fall outside of the standard definition of UX (e.g. interactions outside the online shop) are included in the scope of CX.
Differentiate your shop with conscious CX choices
First, make sure your offer is presented as a modern solution, and easy to understand by your target audience. If the shop looks archaic, or the displayed UI does not provide a smooth experience, the customer may very well think that your business is a website scheduled for deletion, and immediately leave your page. They will assume that any order they place will never be fulfilled, or that products purchased from your store will be subpar. If your current ecommerce solution or engine is obsolete, migrate to something modern and up-to-date - something that will meet the needs of a modern e-consumer.
Next, use effective in-store interactions. Make meaningful suggestions to customers, e.g. through product recommendation for up-selling and cross-selling. Make sure to recommend products that the user actually could be interested in. Do this in a user-friendly, non-disruptive manner at the appropriate time. You can allso supply “buy-in-a-set” options, such as “often bought together” packages.
Your shop’s navigation should be easy to understand and use by your target audience. Make the searching and browsing experience pleasant and effective. Explain the characteristic of each product, both in the general description as well as in the detailed specification. Make sure that the most impactful characteristics are mentioned and easy to find (e.g. allergens in a food product, the connector type for headphones, etc.) Offer an easy way to contact your staff to get advice. It should be integrated well with the overall design - the contact form on a separate page shouldn’t be your customers’ only option! To help users further, add a way to easily compare products, if that makes sense for your business.
You can extend your offer with purchasable “smart” post-order services (e.g. product installation, extended warranty). And make sure that your website is accessible (consider visually-impaired and colour blind people, for example) and easy to use on mobile devices.
Finally, remarket your offer with the customer in mind. Be mindful of where and when you remarket your products to people who once visited your shop. The reminder about your offer can trigger a return to shopping behaviors, but it can also be a negative experience is some situations. Take the following considerations into account:
- If your e-commerce deals with accessories for elderly people, you do not want to display your ads on a mortuary website. One possible negative scenario is that an elder from the family of your customer just died, and you have just built a strong association between your brand and acute grief.
- If your commerce deals with luxury items, you do not want to display your ads on a money lending platform. You might enrage the impoverished user, by accentuating power and income disparities between them and others.
- If your ecommerce deals with intimate hygiene or sexual health, then displaying your ads on business oriented websites or tools may be a cause of major distress for your potential client. The client will not be happy to see your STI tests offer while presenting the quarterly results in front of the company board.
Leverage service design to achieve organizational mastery
Service design is a discipline focused on designing processes and optimizing contact points for enforcing positive customer experience and organizational culture for your employees. The goal is to improve business and operations on multiple axes. This involves:
- Decreasing your costs - optimize your buying channels, the cost of customer acquisition (marketing, sales operations), and the cost of the service itself (e.g. find a payment solution with lower operational rates).
- Increasing the availability of your offer - make sure that the buying process (e.g. online checkout) is easy to follow, that you have enough products in your warehouses, and that you offer user-friendly ways to pay for your products (multiple payment options, buy-now-pay-later, worldwide payment and shipping solutions).
- Optimizing your processes - make your order completion, packaging and shipping process more efficient through automation. Make sure that these processes work well for your staff and add an easy-to-use feature for marking orders as fullfilled.
- Leveraging smart analytics - make sure that you can analyze your customers’ experience with your brand, especially when it comes to your online store. Use (within the constraints of the law) analytics solutions (such as Google Analytics or Tag Manager), behaviour monitoring (HotJar), and email automation statistics (open ratios, CTRs), to learn what makes your clients tick.
- Making your shop easy to reach by the search engines’ crawling bots - make it easy to understand what you are selling, for how much, and in some cases what the average review mark of a given product is. Make sure that your site’s structure is easy for bots to understand, and that the technical aspects of your SEO efforts are up to the highest standards.
- Protecting user’s data, and your system security - if you work with an unsupported ecommerce engine (e.g. Magento 1.X series), you are risking your users’ private data and your income channel. Trust, once lost, is very hard to regain. Update your solution and migrate to a modern platform as soon as possible.
- Making sure that your employees know the basic established rules for meaningful customer support - they should be able to convey, in terms that are very easy to understand, what the next steps are and what the current status of any order or complaint is.
Make communication look seamless
Users want to feel like they can talk to you about their issues, and that it’s seful to do so. Keep your customers informed about the status of their order. Make sure that each customer is able to access order or complaint status easily, and that they will be able to find all relevant information (e.g. last updates, decisions, actions). Finally, allow customers to interact with your team easily. Consider a general chat with customer support, a chat divided by product category (for shopping advice), and a support ticket system (especially if the number of your monthly orders is growing).
Improved CX can have an immediate positive impact on your business
Investing in customer experience goes beyond fullfilling your promise to users (that you will provide them with the product or service they pay for). It established your brand, helps you build trust, allows you to avoid major risks, and can lead to the creation of a loyal customer base.
Take the first step now and talk to a team that believes in delivering top CX. At iRonin.IT, we’ve helped numerous businesses of all sizes improve their inteactions with users. Let us help you, too.
Software products expert focused on maximizing business value of products and offering great UX. Crafting meaningful solutions with strategic and analytical approach. In love with design systems, inclusive design and user security.