use cases | 8 min read

Providing the Ultimate eCommerce Customer Experience

Published by Khyati Badiyani on 22-Jul-2021

Last week, one of our vendors told us that they are getting a lot of traffic on their website, but not enough sales. We started investigating to find out that his website had a tremendously high bounce rate. The SEO was great, but the website had very minimal CRO activities done.

I am sure most of us have gone through this situation, where our website’s bounce rate is high because of the underwhelming experience we are providing to our customers. Sometimes it might not even be in line with the brick-and-mortar store experience we used to deliver. The biggest mistake brick-and-mortar store owners make when they come online is making a non-intuitive eCommerce website. But not to worry, here we have provided you with some excellent tips to course-correct your customer experience, KPIs that will tell you whether the experience is improving and how to make it an ongoing process for success!

Customer experience covers a broad spectrum of activities in the eCommerce industry, and communication is at its centre. At every step, it’s crucial to know that the prospect is well-informed and well-assisted. But how do you bring both customer communication and the customer experience in sync at every stage of the buying process? 

Pre-Purchase Buying Experience

The pre-purchase buying experience actually determines whether the prospect will turn into a customer or not. Prospects do a lot of research at this stage and educate themselves before they decide to move forward. Hence, your brand awareness and brand recall game need to be strong at this stage. The more you know about where your prospective customers will research about you, the more likely you can optimise those platforms to provide an excellent pre-purchase experience. 

Web Content 

Building content around your user awareness

HubSpot says that 73% of customers get frustrated over irrelevant web content. The relevance of your eCommerce content strategy differs according to your target audience and their awareness level. 

Shopify’s Editor-in-Chief Aaron Orendorff has divided awareness level into:

The most aware: The prospects know about the product and is majorly interested in knowing the deal

Product Aware: Your prospect is aware of your products and services but isn’t sure if it’s right for them.

Solution Aware: Your prospects know the result they want but are unaware if your product provides that result.

Problem Aware: Your prospects understand the problem but are unaware of the solution. 

Completely Unaware: Completely unaware of the brand, product, or problem. 

But how do you determine the awareness level of your visitors? You track your site activity. Where are your visitors coming from? Have they already purchased from you before? Have your visitors added items to the cart but didn’t make a purchase? Define such parameters and group your visitors into their awareness category. Providing a pre-purchase experience means understanding what your visitors seek from your website. 

For example, a leading Indian eCommerce company ShopClues examined the activity on its homepage. They concluded that its navigation bar was getting many clicks, especially the ‘Wholesale’ section and ‘Super Saver’ category. ShopClues figured that these were ‘solution aware’ visitors since they knew what they wanted. They just needed a better pre-purchase navigation experience to reach the page and product they are looking for instead of letting them wander aimlessly. It moved the ‘wholesale’ section on the left side to make the page more visually aligned.

Before:

After:

This experiment bore excellent results for ShopClues. It increased its visits-to-order by 26% from its home page!

Heroic Hero Section

80% of the viewers’ time on a website is spent above the fold. You know what that means- Making the best impression possible in the hero section is mandatory. In fact, according to a recent study, brands only have 50 milliseconds to make a first impression. In such a short time, what do you think your visitor will see first? That’s what I thought. Your hero section is a great starting point for your buyer’s journey.

For example, June Oven has a video on the homepage that explains what the product does. Do you think it was a good idea? Well, according to an experiment by Forbes, hero banners with a video boosted conversions by over 90%!! An explanatory or a promotional video on the hero section can capture the visitor’s attention and increase their engagement level.

Social Media 

80% of social marketers believe that brand awareness is the top goal of social media marketing. We know social media is a great platform. Still, with so much content to consume on social media and intense competition, you need to catch the user’s attention to increase brand awareness rather than letting them just scroll past. We know how proactive social media is, but your goal is to provoke interaction from your customers to enhance their engagement and facilitate a brand recall. 

Take Zomato, for example. The online food delivery app targets audiences aged 18-35 and posts funny and amusing content to urge users to engage.

The following tweet encouraged a massive level of engagement from social media users with more than 660 comments and 166 retweets. In such tweets, everybody has a name to share and gets an opportunity to participate. As a brand, you genuinely get a chance to make it about the customers rather than you. 

Emotion-based Brand recall

Zomato also extensively follows the meme marketing strategy to stay relevant and trendy and includes regional languages that connect better with their audiences on most social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. The result? Zomato has 1.8 million followers on Facebook and 1.4 followers on Twitter, and its social media traffic comprises 0.73%. For example, Zomato posted this tweet during the time Monoliths started appearing across the globe:

Apart from tickling the funny bones, brands also like tapping the nostalgia cord on social media. Evoking fond memories can be invaluable since emotion in general works so well in advertising.  Take Paper Boat, for example- a brand of traditional Indian juices and drinks. Before we talk about its social media strategy, notice that even its name is deeply rooted in nostalgia. Don’t we all, after all, recall those rainy days when we crafted paper boats and played with them? Paper Boat’s whole marketing strategy relies on such ‘life still is beautiful’ philosophy. One of its most engaging social media campaigns is the #floataboat campaign. People were encouraged to make a paper boat and upload it on their social media handles to help children’s education.

Within a few weeks, 231 boats had uploaded. Its videos on YouTube with more than a million views focus on the same emotion, be it ‘My First Train Ride’ or ‘A Paper Boat ride down the river of memories. This positioning and engagement activities on social media have eventually led to a strong brand recall of Paper Boat. 

Live Streaming

The U.S. Livestream shopping market is expected to reach $11 billion by the end of 2021 and $25 billion by 2023. As businesses embrace the digital outlook due to the pandemic, they are widely using social media to connect with customers personally on their preferred mediums through live streaming. 82% of people prefer a live video of a brand over a regular social media post. Furthermore, 80% of people rather be a part of a live stream from a brand than read a blog. Live streaming seems a more authentic and realistic approach to engaging with the audience. Hence, live streaming is the real deal for brand recall in the years to come. 

For example, a leading plant nursery, Molbak's Garden + Home, developed a series of live tutorials on Facebook. The motive was to engage people and provide them with gardening tips. This way, even if the customer hasn’t made a purchase, they can have a source to refer to the stream when they want to understand elements of home gardening. Educating your prospects about the product or service as a whole instead of just the brand is one way to encourage brand recall. The timing of Molbark’s Garden + Home also couldn’t have been better. They released these streams during the pandemic when the majority of the people avoided going out and were looking for recreational activities inside their homes. This proved to be a valuable piece of content that helped them achieve their social awareness goals.

Source: Social Sprout

Purchasing Experience

In this phase, the assumption is that the customer knows the brand or atleast has made a conscious decision to check the product out and see if it is providing value to them. And now, all your customer experience should be focused on convincing this customer to either purchase the product they are on or any other products that might match their needs!At this juncture, let’s look at a few critical channels you would use that would impact your customer’s experience!

Pop-ups

Pop-ups can raise awareness of your offers by 80%! They improve your conversion rates too. In fact, the top performing 10% of pop-ups convert 9.3% of visitors. This proves that they are a great source to motivate actions from the customers’ end. 

Consider the following example: A pop-up shown below quickly draws attention with its brief and on-point content, copy, design, and offer. What this pop-up also did right was that it showed humans wearing that product from the eCommerce store itself. Clothing is a very humane thing, and we can immediately imagine ourselves in those clothes. People connect with people, even when there aren’t enough words and only pictures. It wouldn’t have the same effect on the viewer if it were solely the product on the testimonial. With this, you’re laying the foundation for trust and allowing the customers to connect with you.

Source: Printful

Pop-ups also aid in reducing cart abandonment by 10%. You can achieve this by designing a pop-up for free shipping, offering alternatives, promoting other offers, and personalising on-site messages. Check out this example of a free shipping pop-up:

Source: Sleeknote

The ‘congratulations’ captures attention, and the free shipping encourages prospects to make the purchase. 93% of customers tend to buy more products if an eCommerce store offers free shipping, so a pop-up to remind customers of this particular benefit is highly effective in enhancing sales and improving conversion rates. 

Product Recommendation Chatbot

Does the term ‘Conversational Commerce’ ring a bell? It is the method of upselling and cross-selling your products through conversations. While conversational commerce can assist in every process of the buyer’s journey, I placed them here because bots are tremendously helping eCommerce industries with product recommendation technology. 86% of online shoppers prefer proactive customer support while making the purchase, which conversational marketing chatbots can offer immediately.

A product recommendation chatbot helps eCommerce companies provide a conversational buying experience to their customers. As a more advanced channel than others, chatbots leverage AI to bring an online shopping experience closer to an in-store shopping experience. Your customers get a salesperson guiding you through every step of the way; they have real-time two-way communication with the brand, and they have personalised conversations with the bot that solves their queries 24/7 without waiting for a human representative. 

It provides help through the purchasing process, solving any hassles that customers might find along the way and decreasing customer service waiting time. This automation can also help you scale your support and save costs. According to a report by IBM, bots reduce costs for brands by 30%!

To learn more about how to build a product recommendation bot, check out this article: https://wotnot.io/blog/how-to-use-airtable-for-conversational-commerce.

Post-Purchase Customer Experience

Now your customer has already purchased from you. All your efforts in customer experience should be to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Following are a few tools, examples and techniques that could help you improve your customer satisfaction KPI.

Emails

You’d think why I included emails. Weren’t they very 90s? But for eCommerce marketing, it’s still highly relevant since brands are always looking for a way to personalise. At this stage, your customers know you. You now need to build a foundation for a long-run collaboration post their purchase to increase their post-purchase customer satisfaction. Crafting an engaging email that provides product information can also help businesses reduce their cost of product returns, which, by the way, stands at $642.6 billion a year! For example, let’s say your customer has brought leather shoes from your site. Post their purchase; you can send a mail explaining how to keep leather in the best condition. With this, you’re going above and beyond to ensure a top-notch post-purchase experience. 

Sending out order confirmations and digital receipts over emails can also add post-sale value. Provide every information that your customer needs. Receipts have a 61.7% open rate, a 5.1% click rate, and a 0.1% conversion rate. Since receipts have such a great open rate, look for ways to make them more readable and engaging. 

Some aspects that you can include along with your receipt are:

  • A specialised discount to urge visitors to come for more

  • Product recommendations based on previous purchases

  • Facility to share the purchase experience on social media by adding sharing icons

  • Requesting Customer Feedback

  • Incentives for referrals

Check out this example from Trainline, which added some extra information about the weather, maps of the train destination, and social sharing buttons along with the e-ticket on emails. 

Sending an email for ticket confirmation was a need, but the brand went above and beyond to ensure the customer has a convenient journey and stay- ensuring customer satisfaction. 

SMS Marketing

A widely underutilised marketing tactic, SMS marketing has made it very easy for marketers to communicate quick and short messages to customers. Since phones are always at an arm's length, it is easier to send immediate notifications to customers about shipping status and special offers. Due to its limitations in characters, SMS marketing requires a meticulous strategy that conveys more in fewer words. According to Gartner, SMS enjoys a click rate of 14.8% and a conversion rate of 2.13%. 75% of millennials say that SMS messages from brands are most helpful for appointments, delivery, and payment reminders.

Businesses can create targeted SMS campaigns to better understand the customers from mobile databases that can help them segment out numbers that are least likely to respond. 

Live Chat Support 

It’s easy for a physical store to provide the human touch to the customer experience. From a simple greeting at the door to giving advice, they can ensure the customer is well looked after. You cannot create the same experience online, but you can still provide a human touch by offering a live chat. Your customer sometimes doesn’t have as many questions about the product while making the purchase as many as after it. While chat automation is also a great tool to provide a conversational medium to the customers, there always comes a time when a customer seeks proactive human interaction. If an agent can solve the problem right away, you know your customer will be satisfied and will likely return. 

It’s not all just theory. If we, in fact, compare other forms of channels, live chat provides the highest satisfaction rate at 73% as compared to phones (61%) and emails (44%). And while live chat can be leveraged throughout the customer journey, it has the highest use in post-sale customer support (39%) as opposed to marketing awareness (29%) and early-stage sales development (32%). Delivering the right live chat experience means to 

  • Provide faster problem resolution

  • Ensuring customer convenience

  • Provide 24/7 Customer Support

  • Proactive Outreach

  • Have Mobile Optimization

Live chat offers real-time availability and accessibility, something that other mediums don’t. It brings the ASAP factor in solving customer issues leading to a positive customer experience.

Final thoughts

Considering the plethora of communication channels that we have today, it’s very easy for companies to adopt it and tick off a to-do list. But you need to understand which channels benefit how, when, and where. We’re always thinking on the lines of eCommerce not having the same ecosystem to replicate an in-store buying experience. But let’s change that. You have better opportunities to provide the right experience online through an omnichannel strategy. Let’s think of how eCommerce can turn those limitations into advantages, and you wouldn’t be pressured to replicate an in-store experience but rather be motivated to provide an even better one.

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