In this fast-moving and hectic digital age, your prospective online customers have more options available to them than ever before. This also means they can afford to be more selective when it comes to which online shops, they choose to buy products and services from. So, if you want to keep attracting and retaining customers in 2019, you will need to find new ways to engage them online and to set your brand apart from competitors.
What Is Good Customer Experience?
Customer experience (CX) is a concept that seems to crop up time and time again. If you are not familiar with it or if you only associate it with good customer service or quickly answered queries, then you had better read on. That is because the success of your eCommerce website in 2019 depends on providing an amazing customer experience.
What Is CX?
Customer experience encompasses the entire life-cycle of your digital customers, from the moment they first learn about your online business and their first visit on your site to the moment they buy from you, recommend you to others and come back to your store and leave a review. In the past, customer experience was almost like an optional extra. But in 2019 digital businesses will need to provide the best online experience as standard.
How – I hear you ask? By putting yourself into the mind of your prospective customer and finding ways to make their interactions with your brand enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing. Since the customer experience is such a broad topic, here are a few key areas you should consider improving on your eCommerce website:
What Is On-Site User Experience?
People are generally impatient. They want something and they want it now – if not sooner! So review your website and take the steps that a first-time visitor would take to buy a product from you. Does your website load quickly? Are your product descriptions clear and your images of the highest quality? How many clicks does it take to make a purchase? How many fields do you need to fill in to sign up for an account? Can you buy without signing up for an account? Are there any broken pages that are preventing you from finalising the order?
Now, even if you have checked everything, it is possible that your first-time visitors will not find your site’s setup to be as clear and logical as you do. The solution here is user testing. This will help you to get an insight into the minds of your existing and potential customers so you can improve your website and make the purchase process easier.
What Are Personalised Recommendations?
The next big-thing in 2019 will be all about collecting data on each person interacting with your online shop and then using it to serve them more relevant content, products and offers. That is because people today are looking for products that reflect their personality, needs and desires or products that can help them solve a problem or achieve a goal.
Amazon has been doing this for years by tracking what you browse, add to your Wish list or cart and buy so they can then recommend further products suited to you. So, if you want to offer better and more personalised products and offers to your customers, start by tracking things like:
Location and demographics
Items currently in or previously added to shopping cart and wish list.
Shipping and returns
When someone buys from your online shop, how quickly is the order processed and ready for delivery? Is it clear how long it takes and how much it costs to deliver the product? Do you provide order tracking so that customers can receive delivery updates and know when they can expect their product to be delivered to their door? Is your return policy visible and jargon-free so that anyone can understand how they can return a product?
These are the critical elements of customer satisfaction that should not be neglected. Constantly reviewing and improving them can help to create a positive customer experience and promote repeat purchases.
Online Customer Service
Are you trying your best to keep customers happy? If they are not reaching out to you to leave feedback or if they are not leaving reviews and testimonials on social media sites or other platforms, that does not mean they do not have an opinion about their experience with you. Want to understand how our customers feel about your business, and what they do and do not like about their experience on your eCommerce site? Ask them!
Use surveys, emails and phone calls to gain more insightful feedback. It is the only way to find out if you are delivering a wow customer experience and if not, then what you can do next to improve it.
If people do not feel like they can trust you with their personal information or credit card details, they will not buy from you. In 2019, this is more important than ever, which means you will need to be completely transparent about nearly everything, including but not limited to policies (shipping costs, refunds and exchanges), the use of SSL certificates to ensure a safe and secure experience on your site, the way you collect and use customers’ data, to name a few. There are lots of other things that contribute to an epic customer experience.
Read our article Why You Should Have An SSL Certificate
What Are Chat-bots?
While chat-bots and live chat are not new, they will become hugely popular in 2019 and not just for customer service purposes but for marketing purposes as well. Up until recently, chat-bots have mostly been used to quickly answer customers’ queries. And they have proved to be very effective. In fact, according to the 2018 State of Chat-bots Report, speed and availability are perceived as the most valuable chat-bot factors – with 64% of respondents citing “24-hour service” as a benefit. We can see why since most often customers prefer to type a question to a chat-bot and get an answer in seconds than pick up the phone and wait for a support agent to become available to answer their question.
How Do Chat-bots Improve Online Sales?
Make personalised product recommendations or offer coupons and special discounts via chat
Run Facebook ads straight to Messenger
Add item-specific chat prompts on product pages.
Lots of big brands are already taking advantage of social media messenger apps as well as on-site and in-app chat-bots to provide better support and to sell more products.
You should consider using this technology on your eCommerce site and social media pages as well, if you are not already doing so.
What Is Community Building?
Influencer marketing is a mainstay in the marketing world, but the model is shifting. It is no longer about paying an influencer a flat fee to spread the word about your business or products. There’s another tactic that’s more effective and brings in more buzz and sales. That’s community building.
More and more businesses have started to invest time and effort into building active communities among the users of their brands. Why? Because it is easier to transform customers into your extended marketing team whose mission is to spread word of mouth when you take the time to engage with them, to answer their questions and concerns, to educate and to delight them.
Read our article on Influencer Marketing With Social Media
So, in 2019, make it your mission to build an active community around your brand. Position yourself as more than a seller of products. Join their conversation, offer exclusive discounts and promotions, free resources, helpful content and guides. The idea is to provide engaging content and social activity first, and then to sell products off the back of it.
What Is Voice Search?
One final eCommerce trend to think about in 2019 is Google’s move towards voice search. With more people using tools and voice assistants like Siri, Alexa and Google Home to perform searches on Google, you need to consider how your customers are searching for your business and products.
People speak differently to the way they type. While they may type “best web designer Exeter” to search for web designers in Exeter, when using a voice assistant, they are more likely to say, “who are the best web designers in Exeter?” In other words, you might want to look at your product or service descriptions and see how you can better optimise them for voice search.