Try these tips and strategies for delivering an unparalleled ecommerce customer experience to your customers and scale your brand rapidly.
When you hear the word eCommerce, what comes to your mind?
For many it’s rapid growth and larger profits, lower costs and higher efficiency, convenience and accessibility, and so much more – essential ingredients for a successful business!
In fact, consumers are 2.6x more likely to buy again from a company after a 5-star than a 1- or 2-star review.
But securing these rewards is no cakewalk.
Lately, the competition across industries is gaining traction as more Indian brands opt to go online.
And with an abundance of options readily available, it has become harder to grab audiences’ attention, much less acquire and retain customers.
Which then begs the question – what can you do to keep your brand visible, engaging, and distinctive?
Well, to put it simply, begin by honing your focus on the eCommerce customer experience you offer.
By doing so, you ensure two things – your customers feel valued every step of the way, and they perceive the value you offer beyond your product or service.
There are several different ways to go about this, and we’re here to walk you through everything you need to know.
By the end of this article, you will have the knowledge and tools required to create a stellar eCommerce user journey that will guarantee your brand stands out and shines!
Read on to learn more, or use the table of contents below to navigate to a section that’s most relevant to you and your brand.
What is eCommerce customer experience?
eCommerce customer experience is the customer journey of the online shopper.
But what does this mean exactly?
Try tapping into your own insights and experiences as a consumer to understand this better.
When you’re looking to make a purchase, you’ll notice there are multiple touchpoints and interactions you have with any business.
This ranges from the way you experience a product and brand to the quality of service you are provided throughout the exchange.
All of this applies to your company too.
What are the different stages of the eCommerce customer experience?
The customer journey in eCommerce typically follows a consistent pattern, no matter what industry your business belongs to.
In technical terms, these stages are referred to as the pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase stages.
This includes the groundwork you lay down for essential processes like awareness, consideration, and purchases, such as ads, website browsing, product selection, payment, and order fulfillment.
Moreover, user experience in eCommerce also includes retention and advocacy, which frequently work in tandem.
Each of these requires its own distinct strategy, approach and execution.
Here, we take a look at how to tackle each one, and how they work to impact the eCommerce user journey.
Stage 1: The pre-purchase experience
First impressions are lasting impressions.
This requires that you make an impactful one right away.
During this stage, your target audience is performing different research actions online, such as,
- Comparing brands, their products and features, and the different price points available to them
- Reading reviews across online platforms like your website, Amazon, Google, Reddit, Quora, and more
- Visiting and engaging with your brand’s social media profiles
- Asking for recommendations on various forums
In essence, they are seeking out information to make the best possible purchasing decision.
This is your window to create brand awareness with a lasting impact.
To do this effectively, the information you provide online should answer key questions your customers are likely to have about your business at the very beginning.
For instance, what products do you have on offer? What does a customer stand to gain from buying from you?
Here, making value as clear as possible is the key to seeing conversions. Otherwise, you’re just another blip on their radar.
So make sure this information is available front and centre on your website or is easy to navigate to within a few clicks. Moreover, it needs to be inviting, attention-grabbing, relevant, and tailored to your prospects.
Checking all these boxes delivers the impression that your brand is reliable, knowledgable, and accessible. In turn, you steer the customer journey in eCommerce closer to the next stage!
What’s even more exciting is the number of ways you can use your website to accomplish this.
In fact, some of the best eCommerce platforms help you build and set up your online store with these considerations in mind.
This is most evident within the Shopify experience.
Brands can choose from a large collection of attractive website themes that are each tailored for various eCommerce industries.
With such Shopify customer experience features, your work at this stage is cut down to plug and play, leaving you room to focus on the rest of the eCommerce user journey.
Stage 2: The purchase experience
Once a prospect has selected your brand for their needs, the battle is still only half won.
At the purchasing stage, your customer is still making considerations and will have a new set of questions they’re looking for answers to.
Once more, the goal here is to provide relevant information without making customers hunt for it.
Some fool-proof ways to go about this:
- Have detailed product descriptions that mention/explain any specs and features clearly
- Be upfront when listing prices (no one likes encountering hidden charges that make an appearance at the final payment stage!)
- Mention the availability of the product, especially when a certain item has only limited stocks left
- Include customer reviews and testimonials to establish trust from credible sources
Offering your customers other insights aside from these essentials can also help nudge them in the right direction. Shipping fees, return and exchange policies, or even how to care for and maintain the product are details you shouldn’t overlook.
Also, keep in mind that the eCommerce customer experience is crucial at this stage to avoid drop-offs and abandoned carts. Incentives, transparency, and support can and should be leveraged!
And last but not least we have a much-coveted action – processing the payment.
At a moment’s notice, this final step can make or break the customer journey in eCommerce. So make sure transactions can be completed seamlessly and free of any errors or hassles.
Stage 3: The post-purchase experience
As we’ve seen so far, earning the first sale from a customer takes hard work.
But imagine making that effort every single time for every single purchase.
It sounds gruelling because it is. Not to mention expensive, inefficient and unsustainable, too.
This is where an optimised eCommerce post-purchase experience comes in.
The goal here is to turn converted customers into repeat customers which sets up a cycle of continued success for your brand.
You can take steps towards this based on your brand’s product offering and target audience. Some strategies can also be applied no matter which industry your business fits into.
The eCommerce post-purchase experience can look like (but isn’t limited to) any combination of the following:
- Alleviating post-purchase concerns
- Upselling/Recommending related products
- Suggesting they set up a subscription
- Offering loyalty, reward, or referral programs
- Communicating updates and promotions through e-mail, SMS, etc
Getting your customers to return time and again to do business with you also increases the chance they’ll actively recommend you to others.
In turn, you’re bound to see lower customer acquisition costs when the same referrals make their way to your page with high purchase intent.
As an equation for profit, repeat customers + referral traffic translates to double the revenue, if not more!
What you need to know about the current landscape of the eCommerce user journey
It’s no secret that the pandemic transformed what business as usual means.
With lockdowns in place across the country, brands everywhere were pushed to adopt digital platforms to stay afloat.
It quickly became the go-to for all our shopping needs and more.
This is evidenced by the fact that in 2021, a whopping 2.14 billion people shopped online!
And as more of the world logs on, more and more businesses are placing themselves on a wider radar beyond brick and mortar.
But it’s crucial to realize that this isn’t enough.
Many fail at improving their customers’ eCommerce user journey in the right ways, or sometimes, at all.
Below, we take a look at some of the most common mistakes made to date, so that you know what to avoid.
Our focus is on two key features that can make or break the user experience in eCommerce, namely your website and support capabilities.
Are you underestimating the power of your website?
Your website is more than a showcase for your products.
It communicates a host of information, from the details of your products, to your branding, values, and even how reliable your services are.
All of this can give your customers the push they need to take the next step towards making a purchase.
At the same time, there’s a wide margin of error that can cost you your customers. Especially if you’re new to the eCommerce game.
What you need is a highly efficient website that works for you to drive higher conversion rates.
To do that, here’s what you need to steer clear of:
Providing insufficient information
Have you ever visited a product page on Amazon that hardly offered up any information?
You know, the ones with a bare minimum description, a standalone product image, and crickets in the review section?
But, the price looks like a steal.
Despite the bargain, these items rarely get picked up.
The lack of credibility they offer is the obvious guess.
Yet, there are still a lot of eCommerce stores that continue repeating this mistake, which is disruptive to the purchase journey.
In contrast, proactively equipping your customers with all the information they need will be a powerful contributor to the eCommerce customer experience.
Glitchy and complex navigation
There’s no use in having an exceptional website if, A) your website takes a lifetime to load, and, B) your customers have a hard time making sense of the layout.
And by a lifetime, we mean 1 in 4 visitors will abandon a website that loads in less than 4 seconds.
This is why you need to make sure all your website’s pages are optimised to load at ideal speeds.
Coming to our second point – it can be tempting to have a snazzy layout, or have your homepage go on and on to show off all that you have on offer.
But this can lead to confusion and possibly overload customers with too many choices at once.
Aim for a clean look with, most importantly, clear menus that direct shoppers without effort.
Making your website searchable is also paramount, so make sure to add a search bar too.
Ignoring abandoned carts
When you order yourself a meal online, you probably eye each item, adding all the ones that appeal to you most.
At this point, you’re sold on the restaurant.
The shortlist in your cart is just till you make it to the elimination round, where you factor in your budget (and appetite… sometimes) before checking out.
This is how most buyers shop online!
So it’s safe to assume the same level of purchase intent exists when a visitor adds items to a cart on any online store.
What’s not safe to assume is that they’ll definitely check out. In fact, the average rate of cart abandonment is close to 70%.
And the biggest mistake you’re likely to make here is to simply let them go.
You need to identify the cause for frequent drop-offs and start from there.
More often than not, it’s high shipping fees, hidden charges, lengthy checkout processes, or faulty payment processing. Or maybe their budget just doesn’t cut it.
You can fix these leaks in a number of ways:
- Simplify checkout with fewer and shorter forms
- Include progress indicators through the checkout process
- Don’t make registration mandatory for checkout (or offer a discount if you do!)
- Avoid placing restrictions on product quantity
- Opt for secure payment gateways that run error-free
- Include any additional charges within the listed price of the product
Beyond this, another method proven effective in winning customers back is incentive-based retargeting.
After all, who doesn’t love a pop-up or email offering a discount for the purchase they so badly wanted to make?
Your customer-facing teams deserve more attention than you’re giving them
We all value human connection wherever it’s found, even when shopping online.
At physical stores, we find this easily. Salespeople help guide us by providing information, answering questions, and making recommendations to help us find what we’re looking for.
This isn’t exactly the same online.
Which is why customer support teams exist.
But to err is human.
When you can’t shake a clingy salesperson from following you around, it sours your shopping experience.
Similarly, engaging with customers online can be a tricky business.
If not done right, it can hamper the user experience in eCommerce, if not bring it to a screeching halt.
Below are some examples of commonly made mistakes you should avoid at all costs.
“All of our agents are currently busy. We ask for your patience.”
We all hate being held up, and your customers are no exception.
In fact, 90% of online shoppers prefer instant responses when interacting with a brand.
But even today, many businesses have customers on hold for a response.
You might have this exact issue if:
- You don’t have enough agents to tackle the traffic of queries and support requests you’re receiving
- A high volume of tickets and queries are being raised outside of your business hours
- Your agents are juggling queries between multiple platforms, like your website, social media, email, and helpline.
To tackle these issues, you should consider hiring more agents or automating your responses to offer your customers quicker responses.
After all, time is money.
“Let me connect you to the dedicated team to help address this.”
Training your customer support staff well serves you in more ways than one.
Today, converted customers aren’t the only ones reaching out for help. Interested buyers opt to chat and message your help centre for more information too.
But if you view sales as the key revenue generator, you’re probably less inclined to properly train the rest of your staff.
In turn, inquiries and support requests are resolved slower (and we just went over why speed is of the essence in business), and your employees appear shaky and unreliable when they redirect customers to other staff members.
Familiarizing customer support teams with a robust understanding of your products and services stands in stark comparison to that experience.
To illustrate this better, here’s a look at what well-trained support teams are able to accomplish:
- Confidently and swiftly deal with customers
- Set a culture of service excellence
- Improve trust and build loyalty
- Deliver a brand-consistent eCommerce customer experience with every interaction.
Don’t you think that makes for a pretty impressive customer experience?
“We apologize for missing your email. Allow me to pull up the ticket you raised to this chat.”
Unfortunately, most of us have had at least one experience where our order didn’t go as planned.
And for some of us more ill-fated ones, we’ve had to hunt down the customer support team to finally be heard.
We’re talking numerous calls, strongly worded emails, comments and DMs on social media, and even posting tweets directed at the brand.
In most cases, it turned out the company in question simply didn’t have their customer support streamlined.
So they didn’t see our initial attempts at getting in touch.
This happens frequently when your support staff is busy flitting between platforms, sorting through and responding to the barrage of messages they receive everywhere daily.
This brings down response times terribly and disgruntles customers more than you ever want them to be.
An omnichannel support solution is the best course of action here.
It enables your employees to
- Cut out redundancies in their processes
- Increase productivity and speed up response time
- Spend more time engaging with dissatisfied customers
Suffice to say, an efficient support team makes for a happier eCommerce journey.
Your one-stop-shop solution to the hurdles in the eCommerce customer journey
What if we told you that you could address all of these problems with minimal effort but maximum efficiency?
At LimeChat, we help businesses like yours accomplish this every day.
Our goal is to reduce the burden of work that falls on businesses.
Leaving you with more time and energy to scale your business to even greater heights!
Here’s a glimpse at each of our products, and how they address problems like the ones detailed above:
Level 3 AI chatbot:
The first of its kind in the world, LimeChat’s chatbot is like no other.
For starters, chatbots are usually incapable of processing queries that require more than a single step.
But with Level 3 AI technology, this is no longer an issue.
And our chatbot is the first and only one that employs this technology and is tailored specifically for the eCommerce segment.
Beyond that, it delivers an eCommerce journey that simulates the in-store experience with its human-like conversational capabilities.
This means it can understand queries, intent, emotions, and more.
It then crafts personalised responses to help customers with precision and sentiment!
With every interaction and conversation, our AI assistant also learns and adapts to deliver an experience that each unique buyer responds to.
By building customer profiles while tracking the different pages a user visits, this smart chatbot can also help deliver an eCommerce post-purchase experience that improves re-engagement and re-targeting efforts.
For your customers, our chatbot helps by:
- Performing searches that offer precise results
- Providing suggestions based on their needs
- Recommending products of high relevance to them
- Responding to queries and messages right away
LimeChat’s integrated dashboard helps you run a tight, smooth-sailing ship from a single command centre.
You can set up, manage, and run integral processes here.
Some noteworthy items are:
- Manage one inbox for all channels and reduce your response times
- Reduce cart abandonment by 13% with our multitude of signature drip campaigns
- Automate customer support by 70% and reduce live agent costs
- Set up automatic ticket and agent assignment so you never lose track of conversations
With state-of-the-art technology like ours available to you, reviewing your approach to user experience in eCommerce with a fresh perspective is also worth exploring.
There are always ways to provide your customers with an experience that goes above and beyond.
And with LimeChat cutting your work in half, there’s more room to tweak your customer’s journey with greater precision.
Yes, you can go by the book and iron out the kinks we listed previously. It will still help you excel.
But serving an enhanced experience that offers customers something they’ve never experienced before?
That’s worth its weight in gold.
What is the importance of the eCommerce customer experience?
There are always other fish in the sea, even in eCommerce.
But the relationships that customers forge with brands stick when companies show they genuinely care.
And with literally hundreds of other brands selling something similar, you need to set yourself apart somehow.
By offering a good experience every step of the way, this message rings loud and clear.
Long-term, a memorable experience also drives the following benefits:
- Higher customer satisfaction which strengthens trust in your brand
- Builds a base of loyal, repeat customers
- Increases the likelihood of repeat purchases at higher prices
- Strengthens your brand image and improves your reputation
- Reduces CAC and grows profits
Read a more detailed piece about the points mentioned above here.
How can you deliver a great experience for your customers?
When doing business online, your customers are everywhere.
Which makes the first step identifying where your target audience flocks.
For many, it’s WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, email, and SMS, among many others.
To deliver a customer experience well you need to tailor each journey to the platform in question.
What works on social media doesn’t translate as well over email, and strategies used for email don’t convert on social media. And so on and so forth.
So whether it’s your Shopify store’s layout and navigation, the numerous email, SMS, and WhatsApp drip campaigns you send out, or simply your brand’s Instagram Stories and Reels, the customer experience your brand offers will have its nuances.
You can learn about this more here.
Wrapping up – get going, but get it right
With eCommerce raring to go in today’s age, it’s never been a more exciting time to amplify your business online.
At the same time, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and make a mark of distinction to truly stand out.
At LimeChat, our solutions are geared towards helping you do this right.
Our products get you where you want to be with 10x the speed and 10x the results.
Here’s the best part – finding out costs you nothing!
Book a Free demo with us today to learn more.