6 Ways to deliver a compelling digital customer experience for online shoppers
Written by: Guest Author
It’s not difficult to create an engaging digital customer experience. Think about what your customers are looking for on your ecommerce store – whether it’s a product, instructions, reviews, or information – and make sure they can easily find it on your website. No matter who your audience is or what product you sell, these six tactics will help you to create a compelling digital experience.
1. Make customer service accessible
Greeting customers is an essential responsibility of staff in a brick-and-mortar store. Beyond letting shoppers know where to find help, that initial contact creates a connection, and the quality of that interaction can determine whether a purchase is made.
Ecommerce sites can’t initiate a human interaction with every customer that clicks on their webpage, but it is possible to let shoppers know you care through your customer service. A chatbot that pops up when entering the site recreates that initial customer greeting, and if it can answer common questions, it also lets people shop without interruption.
Live chat can answer more complex queries, and customers won’t need to fetch a phone or await an email reply before making a purchase.
Make sure it’s easy for customers to find help when they need it by making contact details easy to find. Natori, for example, has a “help” section at the bottom of their homepage that includes a contact us option. This gives customers a way to find assistance and lets them know when a reply can be expected.
2. Make personalized recommendations
One advantage that brick-and-mortar stores have over ecommerce sites is personalized attention. Well-trained sales staff can provide individual recommendations based on a person’s home office needs or camping plans.
This doesn’t mean that online stores are completely beaten in this area. There are many ways to offer personalized recommendations to online customers, from algorithms that show what other buyers purchased to a quiz about skin types that leads to cosmetic recommendations.
3. Make it easy to browse for products
For some people, shopping is more of a recreational activity than a focused task. For these shoppers, browsing through racks to see what catches their eye is part of the fun. Ecommerce sites that facilitate browsing can encourage people to stay on the site and find something to buy.
Use filters and categories so that your customers can easily find what they’re looking for. A romance reader won’t want to browse through horror novels, after all.
Education retailer, Home Science Tools, makes it easy for their customers to browse through items that may interest them. Categories including Chemistry, Biology, Earth Science, and Physics & Engineering are listed across the top of every page, and hovering over each category allows customers to narrow their search further.
4. Employ user-generated content
User-generated content is generally not used in brick-and-mortar stores. Online stores have a unique opportunity to show prospective buyers how other customers use their products or how happy they are with their purchase. This adds to your trustworthiness and can inspire new customers to want the same experience.
Add a hashtag to your website and encourage customers to post photos to their social media accounts. Alternatively, you can ask buyers to send photos to a dedicated email account. Make sure they know the images may be used in your marketing materials, and share the best ones on your website or through social media.
Bliss uses bright colors and arresting images to sell its cosmetics, so Instagram’s visual focus is a perfect marketing tool. Among the professional product photos are images of happy customers showing off a mask or smiling while holding a newly arrived package.
5. Focus on the role of overall site design in digital customer experience
Overall site design is like the decor of a brick-and-mortar store. It has to communicate what the brand is and who it’s for while also being easy to navigate. Just like a clothing store has to make sure customers can move around the racks and reach displays, websites must ensure that design aesthetics don’t make products hard to find.
A visually appealing site also encourages visitors to stay longer, making them more likely to purchase. Expressing who you are as a company can help people fall in love with your brand, and they’re more likely to buy from a company they love.
Skullcandy’s website is a great example of a visually appealing and consistent site. Large, high-resolution pictures show off the products, and hovering over the Inside Skullcandy menu option displays black and white images of concerts and skaters that connect to customers.
There’s also the Mood Boost page that features music videos, limited edition products, and information about the company’s mission to boost mental health, which helps communicate what the brand is about.
6. Post-purchase emails
Don’t dismiss the importance of post-purchase emails in digital customer experience. While brick-and-mortar stores can give a smile along with a receipt, online stores get an invitation to their customer’s inbox. If you use the opportunity well, receipt and delivery notification emails can turn a new customer into a repeat shopper.
You can also use these emails for far more than receipts. Include a video on ways to use their new product, styling tips, or vouchers for their next purchase. This email from Burrow is long because it answers frequently asked questions, saving customers from sending an email or searching their website for information they need.
Don’t neglect your digital customer experience
Poor design, confusing navigation, or a difficult mobile experience may end up sending prospective customers to someone else’s site. The ecommerce customer experience must be at the center of your website design in order to meet shoppers needs and exceed their expectations. Happy customers don’t just convert, they go on to become repeat patrons who recommend your store and products to others.
SEO Specialist, BigCommerce
Leigh-Anne Truitt is an SEO Specialist at BigCommerce where she researches and discovers strategies to increase organic traffic. Prior to joining the e-commerce industry, Leigh-Anne perfected her marketing skills at The University of Texas at Austin and CanIRank.
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