What Your eCommerce Business Should Focus on for Best Consumer Experiences

  •    Maggie Aland is a staff writer and marketing expert at Fit Small Business, where she writes how-to guides and articles on marketing for small business owners.

It could be argued that stellar customer service and an above-the-top consumer experience are even more important for eCommerce stores since you don’t have the benefit of providing the tangible in-person experience.

The happier your customers are with the buying experience, the higher your repeat purchase rate (averages are 20-40%). Here’s how to ensure visitors to your website are so delighted with the experience that they come back again and again.

1. Make Sure Navigation is User-Friendly

We’ve all visited websites that were hard to navigate. Maybe there were far too many options in the menu bar to choose from or it was difficult to search for a product.

Look at your site from the user’s perspective. Simple will always beat out complicated. Minimize options so that shoppers don’t become overwhelmed with analysis paralysis. Make it easy to click to main page categories from any page on the site.

Also consider what the mobile site experience is. Navigation may me more limited than on your desktop site, but that will make it easy for people to buy from their phones or tablets.

2. Allow for Easy, Breezy Purchases

The checkout process, if daunting, can be a leading cause of abandoned shopping carts. Having to fill out an inordinate amount of information or click multiple screens can cause shoppers to leave before they make the purchase.

Simplify the checkout form you require for a purchase. Use a point of sale system tied to your inventory so that customers only see what’s in stock. Use a secure payment processing system to reassure shoppers that your site is safe to share their personal details with.

3. Use Appealing and Professional Photos

The better the product photos, the more sales you will make, and the fewer returns you’ll get. In a Weebly survey, it was found that 22% of online product returns happen because the actual product looked different than the photos.

If you can’t afford to invest in professional photos (an investment that will pay off quickly, so don’t write it off yet), take strides to ensure that the photos you take are top quality. Make sure the products are well-lit and the images clear. Show the product in different angles. If it opens up or has other positions, show those as well.

4. Don’t Forget the Follow Up

Consumer experience doesn’t stop with the purchase. The communications you send afterward can be helpful to a customer in terms of letting her know that you’ve processed her order or shipped it. You can also send a post-purchase survey or invitation to review the product, which will help you further improve the experience.

Beyond that, you can send marketing offers to get her back and buying from you again. Send a reminder to restock on a product she’ll need again (like batteries) or a special promotion for a similar product.

Selling quality products is just one component of running a successful eCommerce store. The experience that shoppers have, both browsing your site and in making an actual purchase, will determine if they come back again.