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3 tactics to improve the eCommerce customer experience

29th July 2020

Amidst competitive landscapes and changing consumer behaviours, it’s not enough to rely on the quality of your offering. There’s another factor on shoppers’ minds when they pay a visit to your site or decide whether to open or ignore your marketing emails…customer experience.

3 out of 4 consumers say customer experience plays an important part in their purchasing decisions. This means you could offer the best surf gear, diamond jewellery, or whichever product you specialise in, but if your customer experience isn’t up to scratch you risk losing the sale. Or you’ll make the sale but the customer won’t return to make another purchase. Either way, your bottom line will take a hit despite the quality of your products.

Customer experience refers to every single touchpoint and interaction shoppers have with your brand, so it pays to optimise your customer journey from start to finish. In fact, 1 in 3 consumers say they would walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience. So the margin for error is slim to none.

Read on to discover three tactics to help you improve your eCommerce customer experience.

1.Product recommendations

When a shopper lands on your website, are they greeted with products that will inspire them and resonate with their interests? Or do they have to trawl through your product category pages to find what they’re looking for (that is if they don’t succumb to decision fatigue and abandon your site altogether). 

It pays to make the shopping experience as convenient as possible for your customers, helping them find the products they’re interested in as quickly as possible. Personalised product recommendations are a great way to do this. 

For new visitors to your site and shoppers who have withheld consent for permanent cookies, use contextual data to tailor the products they see. For example, use the shopper’s location to display products that are available in their area. Or tailor the recommendations they see based on their real-time browsing activity.

This approach works with and without permanent cookies. With cookies, you get the added ability to personify based on the visitor’s current session, hence you can pick up more information and preferences as they browse pages on the site or take other actions, but still without needing the visitor’s identity.

Killstar tailors the homepage for shoppers based on whether they are browsing men’s or women’s clothing, changing the content accordingly.

Source Killstarcom

For returning visitors, use their past browse and purchase history to display recommendations that you know will resonate with them.

When visiting any of Rip Curl’s international websites every customer is greeted on the home page with a range of products ‘recommended for you’. These can include products that were bought by similar customers, frequently purchased items and exciting new Rip Curl lines.

Source Ripcurlcom

2. Social proof

Social proof covers a range of trust-building and urgency-boosting tactics, such as ratings and reviews, product popularity messaging and user-generated content.

These tactics provide useful information that makes the purchase decision easier, which in turn improves the customer experience.

Let’s take a look at one of the most common social proof tactics – ratings and reviews – in more detail.

When shopping online as opposed to in-store where customers can test and try out items before purchasing, social proof cues are all the more crucial. In fact, almost 1 in 3 shoppers say they want to see ratings and reviews for products they’re browsing. It’s something we can all relate to, as I’m sure many of us have spent our time scrolling through countless reviews before making a purchase.

In this example, Sunglasses Shop displays star ratings and reviews on their product pages to help build trust and boost conversions.

Source Sunglasses shopcouk

3. Triggered emails

Triggered emails are an effective way to provide your customers with relevant and timely information. These types of emails are triggered by an action, such as a shopper abandoning their cart before making a purchase. In this case, an email would be automatically sent to remind the shopper to complete their purchase. Triggered emails improve the customer experience by making your shoppers’ lives easier and helping them find the right products for them.

Back in stock emails are a good example of triggered messaging that can improve the customer experience.

Consumers expect to be able to purchase what they want, when they want it. So when a product is out of stock, the effect can be highly frustrating.

Wex Photo Video uses back in stock email alerts to turn a frustrating experience into a positive customer interaction, keeping customers engaged with their brand and providing them with the product they want. Our research shows that 1 in 4 consumers want retailers to send them back in stock alerts, making this a type of triggered email worth trying.

Source Wex Photo Video email

Final thoughts

Don’t rely on your fantastic products to sell themselves. Delight customers with a convenient and tailored experience to make their purchase decision that bit easier.

Here’s a recap of the three tactics we covered in this article to help you do just that.

Firstly, tailor your product recommendations to each shopper to move them through to your PDPs and checkout page faster. Use contextual data for new visitors and visitors who have withheld consent for permanent cookies, whereas for returning visitors you can use their past browse and purchase data to personalise the experience.

Secondly, add ratings and reviews to your products at key points in the customer journey, such as on your product pages. This will build trust and help shoppers decide whether it’s the right product for them.

Lastly, set up triggered emails to send customers useful information at the time they’re most likely to convert. Back in stock emails are a great example of triggered messaging that improves the customer experience.

To learn more about building an outstanding customer experience, download our Ultimate CRO Lookbook. It’s packed with 21 best-in-class personalisation and optimisation examples from real brands who’ve honed their customer experiences for maximum conversions.