eCommerce has experienced massive growth over the past few years, and there’s no sign of a slow down any time soon. Statista has predicted a market value of $8.1 trillion by 2026, registering a 56% increase over just 4 years.  The rapid expansion of the sector is a major success story, but it brings with it a new set of challenges as customers become more exacting in the face of unlimited online choice.

A positive customer experience converts leads and can turn one-time shoppers into faithful advocates for your brand. In this article we look at 5 ways to create a memorable ecommerce customer experience with the aim of improving customer loyalty, retention, and most important, your customers’ lifetime value.

Customer Expectations of eCommerce

Most poor eCommerce customer experiences happen as a result of limited attention to detail, an overstretched infrastructure, or insufficient awareness of the concerns of the customer. Their requirements are fairly simple. Consumers want eCommerce to be enjoyable, convenient, and personalised. They want to be able to track the progress of their order, using their platform or channel of choice, and any returns should be frictionless.

Table of Contents

  1. Customer-Focused Checkout
  2. Delivery Options
  3. Omnichannel Support
  4. AI Assisted Shopping
  5. Frictionless Returns

 

  1. Customer-Focused Checkout

The average cart abandonment rate is a shocking 91%. There are handful of reasons shoppers give for clicking away before completing their purchase:

  • Slow loading (more than 3 seconds)
  • Having to input unnecessary data
  • Insufficient payment options
  • Additional charges (VAT & shipping)
  • Rigid return policies

Take a look at your checkout process and ask yourself whether it’s serving you or the customer. Cut out any unnecessary steps and be up front about your returns policy and additional charges. There shouldn’t be any surprises at the checkout – unless they’re nice ones, and the process needs to be friendly and fast.

  1. Delivery Options

Customers are looking for more input into the speed, cost, and location of their delivery. Tracking helps shoppers to know when they need to be home to collect parcels. A choice of delivery speeds, or favoured delivery days allows them to keep control over their purchase in transit.

Finally, customers don’t want to be charged a fortune for shipping. Of course, the ideal is free shipping – even if there’s a minimum purchase required. Second best is a clear range of shipping costs to choose from; standard, 1st class, next day guaranteed for example.

  1. Omnichannel Support

Omnichannel fulfilment places an emphasis on creating convenience for shoppers. It’s all about providing consistency of brand experience across a number of digital touchpoints. A shopper might make initial contact in-store, then visit the website, place an order by phone, with a follow-up message to check on the order status.

There’s evidence that using more than one channel to serve customers creates more online sales. eCommerce marketing campaigns that use 3 different channels achieved a 494% higher order rate than brands using just one.

  1. AI Assisted Shopping

AI is now at offering an ever-increasing range of options for eCommerce. Its ability to predict patterns makes inventory management easier, chatbots are now sophisticated enough to have valuable interactions with customers 24/7, and it can generate personalised customer communications, and promotions, based on their data.

The challenge for eCommerce brands is to recognise where the greatest opportunities are for their business growth.

  1. Frictionless Returns

Returns are a headache for many eCommerce brands, especially those in the fashion sector. Often the expectations of shoppers simply don’t align with the resources required to manage a simple, customer-focused, cost-effective returns process.

Many eCommerce businesses are now handing over their returns management to a 3rd party logistics partner who can handle the entire process as part of the order fulfilment process. Not only do they ensure swift replacements or refunds, they also offer customer service and a cost-effective reverse logistics operation.

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