While there are plenty of positives to owning an online store — for example, less overhead and a more flexible schedule — there can also be some challenges. In fact, it may be difficult right away to understand how your customers feel about their overall online shopping experience.
Whereas in a traditional storefront you can get a true sense of customer expectations through face-to-face interactions, in the online world you really only know your customers by their name, address and credit card number. Consider the following tips to provide a terrific online shopping experience.
Ensure Your Website is User-Friendly
First, take an honest look at your website to see if it’s visually appealing, easy to use and doesn’t require a ton of bouncing around to make a purchase. In fact, you might want to pretend to be a customer and place an online order. Is your website intuitive, free of pop up ads and have a quick loading speed.
As SuperSimpl notes, many shoppers will bail out of an online store if the website is slow or unresponsive. Customers also desire convenience, and since many use smartphones and tablets to shop, you’ll want to ensure your site is optimized for these handheld electronic devices. Even if you offer the best prices and a terrific selection, your website must be optimized for today’s shopper in mind.
Move Operations to the Cloud
As your online store grows and gets busier, you might consider using a cloud contact center to answer questions and help customers. Customers expect a modern, up-to-date experience when shopping online, and this includes having a mechanism to assist them 24/7.
As Aspect notes, a cloud-based interactive voice response app is a great solution, one that can be highly customized to your website and its products. IVR systems also help improve efficiency, reduce costs, and make for a more efficient and positive customer experience, which can lead to repeat purchases.
Make it Fun to Shop
As BevyUp notes, if you can provide your shoppers with a personal and positive experience, they’ll inevitably be inspired to return again and again. One way to do this is by offering a point/incentive program, based on any number of online purchases. Some other ideas include setting up an online forum, where customers can chat with other shoppers, as well as implementing a “wish list” feature that allows your shoppers to bookmark products they would like to purchase during future visits.
Provide Outstanding Customer Service
Brick-and-mortar stores often have friendly and chipper employees waiting to help you— and online storefronts must find a way to replicate this experience. One way to achieve this is by offering an online chat feature that allows customers to raise questions or concerns. Through such a service, you’ll also want to thank customers and offer follow-up email surveys, which can earn them extra loyalty points.