May 25, 2016
Online customers want an experience, not a sales job. They want to enjoy shopping. A business that intends to attract new customers and keep existing ones needs to do whatever it takes to give that great, enjoyable experience. Given the tools that businesses now have to create seamless, enjoyable shopping, some methods to improve customer experience are relatively easy. Here’s nine of those ways.
Focus Home Page on Value
When customers land on your home page what do they see? Is it cluttered with the products and services you are trying to sell? If so, then that home page is all about you, not about the customer. Customers come because they need or want something. They have a problem to solve, whether it is finding a perfect gift for Uncle Charlie or software that is going to make their business accounting easier. It is your job to focus on their problems, to recognize them, and to show them how you can solve them.
Eliminate Text; Add Visuals and Video
An explainer or “how to” video, a slide show, an infographic – these things allow customers to get the information they need quickly. Especially for mobile users, these elements provide a much better experience. When customers go into a brick and mortar store, they do not read – they look. A great video on your homepage that addresses their problems and your solutions will be immediately appreciated.
Get the Tech Glitches Out
If your site is loading slowly, or if navigation takes too much time, customers won’t stick around and shop. Make sure images, photos, etc. are compressed; test often.
A quick and reliable load may be a result of the host you are using. Make sure that you have an enterprise level host, such as Hostgator, that has a history and reputation for minimal disruptions and rapid load time. If you need to change hosts to get reliability and speed, do so right now.
Offer Live Chat
Customers who have questions want them answered immediately. If you can support a live chat function, do it. As an alternative you can provide an FAQ page for “self-service” answers.
Consider a Mobile App
This is an important emerging trend for businesses. While it may not be the quick and easy fixes on the rest of this list, it is an important consideration. Using an app as opposed to a mobile-friendly site is much more convenient for mobile customers. And it allows personalization that they appreciate.
Personalize with Customer History
When a customer returns to your site, whether they have made a previous purchase or not, it is important that their history with you is immediately available. Nothing is worse than having to start all over again. And, if their history is available, those customers feel appreciated and valued. It’s all about the relationship.
Streamline the Checkout Process
Shoppers’ carts should be saved. And two or three licks should complete the process, particularly if customer information has been saved from previous purchases. They are trying to give you money, for heaven’s sake – make it easy. And, if customers are not yet ready to purchase, give an option to create a wish list.
Offer Free Shipping If You Can Afford It
Lots of companies offer free shipping, and they have added a bit to the purchase price to do so. Customers love it and really believes that they are getting a greater value by saving that shipping cost. Even if it is built into the price, it’s a psychological thing. At least offer it on orders that total more than an amount you set.
Use In-App Messaging
Email has been the backbone of marketing for a long time and still is. But, if you have a business app, you can take advantage of personalizing the customer experience by offering customized discounts based upon their shopping history and using iBeacon geolocation to guide customers to on-the-ground offers.
Certainly, there are more “fixes” that will improve customer experiences. Starting with these nine, however, will make a huge difference.
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