Just as with customer experience in every other business segment, eCommerce customer experience is growing increasingly important in our current economic climate. Given that almost everything is up in the air at the moment—from shipping times to supply chain issues—having a rock-solid CX strategy can be the difference between a loyal, excited customer, and the next viral rant on social media.
Typically, customer experience and UX professionals rely on tools like Google Analytics or Hotjar to understand what their customers are doing and feeling. But, making assumptions based solely on data without any qualitative or experiential information backing it up leads to a soulless, crumby experience overall. You can’t know the “why” behind a customer’s actions unless you ask them. And their reasons are likely changing as the world changes – just like their daily habits.
In this article, we’ll talk about key strategies to improve your eCommerce customer experience, how to create a more memorable customer journey for your users and the best ways to incite loyalty and excitement as you do.
Start by identifying bottlenecks in your processes
When customers have committed to buying something, the worst thing that you could do is put a barrier in front of them actually purchasing or receiving the product. Right now, that barrier could show up as supply chain issues, shipping delays, or even bugs in your product that make the purchasing experience difficult. Focus the brunt of your eCommerce customer experience strategy work on making the buying process as easy as possible, and your customers will remember that long after they’ve received and started using their product.
Take, for example, functional kids’ wear brand Reima. Reima used Lumoa’s advanced AI to discover key cross-platform issues with their experience that made it difficult for users to purchase:
Antti Hänninen, Consumer Data Analyst at Reima tells about how the purchasing process included some problems they were not aware of before seeing the feedback via Lumoa. Problems with the mobile user experience, and issues with how the shopping basket behaved were identified based on Lumoa’s customer feedback analysis and fixed accordingly.
Take the time to understand where your purchasing process doesn’t hold up, and dedicate resources to fixing it. You don’t want your customers’ first experience with your brand to be memorable because of how negative it was.
2. Know your customers’ goals
If you’re trying to provide an excellent eCommerce customer experience, you need to understand what your buyers are trying to accomplish and what their preferred way to get there is.
One of the best ways is to create a company-wide customer journey map. This should include points of contact from every organization within the company: sales, support, marketing, and even engineering. Once you have this mapped out for everyone to see, you can start to tailor your experience to allow the customer to navigate the process as easily as possible. Take as much work out of your customers’ hands to get where they need to go, and your experience and product will feel effortless and easy.
Craft onboarding experiences, blog posts, UI changes and purchasing paths to specifically reflect the things that your customer cares about most.
3. Work with your data effectively
eCommerce customer experience designers have the tendency to think about either qualitative or quantitative data being the end-all-be-all of their metrics. But there are benefits to both, and they’re especially useful when you view them together. Viewing both qualitative and quantitative data, either side-by-side of combined allows you to:
Identify issues and obtain information not typically collected by quantitative surveys. For example, you can hear in your customer’s own words what they do or do not like about your product.
Generate hypotheses from qualitative work to be tested through a quantitative approach. Confirm your gut feelings and back them up with data!
Use qualitative data to understand surprising results from quantitative data. If the numbers don’t necessarily make sense, take anecdotes from your qualitative data to try to understand.
Triangulate data accuracy. Verify or reject results from quantitative data using qualitative data (or vice versa)!
That being said, there are so many different metrics that it can feel difficult to know which one to pick. While there’s never a one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to key performance indicators, there are a few good rules of thumb to follow:
Calculate individual segments separately
Different customers will care about different parts of the customer experience. For instance, your enterprise customers may care about getting the correct answer as quickly as possible, whereas a trial (or free) user, might just be happy to receive a personalized response.
Customize the success metrics that you use for each individual user segment—there may be some overlap, but the metrics should address the individual needs and wants of each segment.
Monitor both in real-time and over-time
It’s great to know how your customers feel in the moment or over the past week, but it’s also important to compare that to how your team was performing a year ago or longer.
Being able to view analytics in both contexts helps your team understand what you’re doing well (now and historically), and what things are opportunities for your team moving forward.
Survey at the right time with journey analytics
Make sure that you’re asking your questions and surveying at the right time. Your survey questions can mean totally different things to your customers, depending on when you ask them.
Make sure that you target the correct types of inquiries at the right time to avoid asking leading questions. If you’re curating your answers, they will be less meaningful in the long run—especially if you’re actually trying to make a change to your customer experience and not just boost your own vanity.
Some metrics that people like to use and find helpful are:
Net Promoter Score
Customer Effort Score
First Contact Resolution
Time to first response
Time to resolution
Some of those may resonate with your company, others might not. Take what works for your team and leave the rest.
4. Act on feedback in real-time
According to Microsoft, brands are viewed more favorably by 77% of consumers if they proactively invite and accept customer feedback. That’s all well and good, but perhaps even more important is what you do with that feedback when you get it. When you receive customer insights or feature requests, make sure they go to the right place right away. Your product team, marketing team, sales, and engineering are all elevated by knowing what your customers are keen on or having trouble with.
Without genuine customer insights on how your product is functioning, you can never expect to blow your eCommerce customer experience right out of the water. Shore up your bug reports and feature request processes to make them airtight. Be sure to respond to every inquiry that comes through your inbox, or wherever you collect customer insights.
Effortless and easy is best
Using your product or paying for your services shouldn’t feel like work to your customer. The best eCommerce customer experience strategy is creating a seamless experience that feels like your team isn’t even there. Allow your customer to help themselves, but be present and active as soon as they indicate that they need you. You should blend into the scenery when things are going as planned, but be ready to pop up to help in the moment. Your customers will appreciate your proactivity!