Understanding Your Online Shoppers: 4 Ways to Create a Positive Experience

Your customers are the lifeline of your business. While certainly, you can thrive by selling to each one once, you can grow your ecommerce business even faster if you focus on exceeding customer expectations and drawing them back in to buy from you again and again.

But online shoppers have different needs from those that buy from a store in person. How can you ensure that their online shopping experience is one that is so positive, they come back for more?

1. Make the Shopping Experience Seamless

Have you ever been on an ecommerce site that threw unwanted popups at you? Where it was hard to find what you were looking for? That took forever for the pages to load? These are all examples of negative user experience.

You can do better.

Spend time ensuring that navigating your site is simple. Your menu should be easy to access and make it intuitive to find the category of product a shopper wants. Your search bar should be visible at the top of the page. Pages should load quickly, and adding an item to a cart should be brain-dead simple.

Ask friends and employees to browse your site and even add products to their shopping cart and give you feedback on the process. Address any bottlenecks that come up. You want it to be simple to shop on your site, so it’s worth investing more time in streamlining your site design.

2. Offer Hassle-Free Returns

Brands like Amazon have made a name for themselves with their no-questions-asked return policies, and that has raised the bar for all other ecommerce brands. Accept the fact that returns are just part of doing business, and work on your return process so customers can easily get a refund or exchange without having to call your customer service line and sit on hold for an hour.

Building in an automated return process into your website can eliminate much of the human interaction you need for most returns. Make it simple for people to click on a past order, select the item they wish to return, and print a free return label. On your end, once you get the return (or even once it’s scanned with the mail carrier), process the refund immediately. This makes for happy customers that will come back!

3. Connect to Your Offline Point of Sale System

If you also sell products at a brick-and-mortar store or farmers’ markets, it’s essential that you use an inventory management and credit card processing tool that works for your ecommerce site as well.

Why? The last thing you want to do is process an online order for a skirt that you sold out of at yesterday’s market. Then you’ve got to refund the order and let your customer know that the product is out-of-stock. You risk irritating that customer to the point that she doesn’t shop with you again.

Using a system that manages online and offline orders ensures that your inventory counts are up to date – no matter where the product was purchased.

4. Ask Your Customers What They Want

It’s simple, but effective: if you want to understand your online shoppers, talk to them. Send a survey post-purchase to understand what they thought of the shopping experience, as well as whether they were satisfied with the shipping speed and the product they received.

Take feedback to heart. If a customer complains about one aspect of your business – rather than sticking your fingers in your ears and ignoring it – you can use that information to improve the business. It’s a nice touch to follow up with that customer once you’ve fixed the issue to let her know you heeded her suggestion. Offer her an exclusive coupon while you’re at it, and you can pretty much guarantee she’ll buy from you again and tell her friends about your store.

Remember that delivering the best customer service possible is always going to be a moving target. What worked yesterday might not work today, so be diligent about staying on top of what your customers want and making them fans of your ecommerce site.

Have any additional tips for providing great customer service? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!