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How to improve customer experience in ecommerce

Learn how to provide customers with a great ecommerce experience and discover ways to optimize your website.

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These days, offering a terrific product isn’t enough to stand out from the competition and win over customers. Sure, it’s important, but it’s also absolutely vital to give your shoppers an excellent ecommerce customer experience. 

Unfortunately, many companies fall short at providing what customers want in an ecommerce site. In fact, 54% of US consumers say that the customer experience at most companies needs improvement. 

The customer experience in ecommerce is the perception your customers have of how your business treats them online. It’s an important part of your overall customer experience. And since ecommerce is rapidly growing as a share of overall commerce, it’s only going to become more critical to the success of your business. In fact, ecommerce grew to an all-time high of 16.4% of all sales in 2020, and 84% of consumers made purchases online last year. These trends are too big to ignore. 

So what are some of the best ways to improve your ecommerce customer experience? This guide will cover the best ways to create a delightful online shopping experience your customers will love. 

Customer feedback 

Before you start brainstorming ways to improve your ecommerce customer experience, you need to get insight into how customers currently feel about your online shopping experience. Customer feedback is the foundation for improving your customer experience, because you can find out exactly what customers enjoy and where they’d like to see improvements. 

There are several ways to gather customer feedback on your ecommerce experience. You can use one or more of them, depending on how much insight you need to gather and how advanced your ecommerce CX strategy already is. But you should certainly use at least one, because digital feedback is an effective way to increase sales. Here are a few of the most effective ways to get insightful, actionable feedback from your customers so you can improve your website, products, and overall ecommerce experience.  

Customer surveys 

Customer surveys are a very effective way to collect data from your customers on their experiences, opinions, and preferences for an ecommerce experience. There are multiple types of surveys you can send out depending on your goals for your customer experience strategy

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

If you’re looking to measure how satisfied your customers currently are with your ecommerce experience, then sending out a Customer Satisfaction Score survey is a great idea. This survey asks customers, “How satisfied are you with the current online shopping experience?” You can also drill down to specific parts of the ecommerce experience, such as browsing products, the shopping cart functionality, the checkout process, and shipping. 

Net Promoter Score (NPS) 

A Net Promoter Score survey is an effective way to measure customer loyalty, which is distinct from satisfaction (customers might be satisfied, but likely to move on to a competitor when a more attractive option appears on the market). An NPS survey asks customers how likely they are to recommend your business or products to a friend or colleague, on a scale from 0-10. Anyone who answers with a 9-10 is a Promoter, 7-8 is a Passive, and 6 or below is a Detractor. You can use a transactional NPS survey to ask about specific experiences like the checkout or purchase process. 

Customer Effort Score (CES) 

The Customer Effort Score survey measures how easy you make it for customers to do business with you. It asks how easy your business made it for the customer to handle their recent issue, on a scale from 1-7. Consumers expect all ecommerce experiences to be as seamless and simple as those from companies like Amazon and Uber, and they will swiftly abandon your website or app if it’s not. CES tells you how well you’re doing in creating an easy, nearly effortless experience for your customers when they have a question or problem. 

Voice of the Customer survey

Building a robust Voice of the Customer program means your business can analyze and report on all your customer feedback—what buyers like, dislike, and what improvements they would like to see. Incorporating survey types like CSAT, NPS, CES, and any other surveys you may want to send into your VoC program will ensure you have a complete view of customer preferences and areas for improvement.  

Post-purchase survey 

The online purchase experience is critical for driving customer growth. If your purchase experience is clunky, complicated, or has bugs, your potential customers will quickly find an alternative that offers a better experience. You can discover how your business is performing by sending out a post-purchase survey to customers to ask them about how the checkout experience was. 

You can also use these surveys to ask them about their experience with your products or services after a week or two has passed and they’ve had time to use them. Ensuring your customers enjoy your products and find them high-quality is essential to an excellent customer experience. 

Customer support 

Providing excellent customer support is essential to creating a great ecommerce customer experience. No matter how excellent your online experience is, a few customers will always encounter an issue and need assistance. Having good customer support and product support ensures that even encountering problems is a positive experience overall for your customers as you resolve their problems efficiently and with empathy. 

Offering multiple ways for customers to get support when they need it is also part of a positive digital customer experience. Different customers will have different preferences for getting support, so ensuring they can find a way to reach you that works for them will increase their satisfaction and loyalty.  

Live chat 

Live chat support offers customers a way to get help and support in real-time without making a phone call. It’s also a native experience, meaning customers don’t need to leave your website to get help, which makes chat support seamless and easy for them. Live chat is helpful when customers have a quick question on their minds before they make a purchase, or need a question answered after their purchase has arrived.  

FAQs 

Customers on your website or mobile app may have a question or two while they’re shopping. And if they can get a quick answer, they’re more likely to make a purchase confidently. Adding FAQs to your website and app can enable customers to get answers to the most frequent questions seamlessly without leaving your website. And since customers tend to ask the same questions over and over again, adding FAQs can free up your customer support team to assist customers with more complex issues. 

Contact Us page 

When customers need assistance and they can’t find a quick way to get it on your website or mobile app, their frustration mounts quickly. Adding a detailed Contact Us page to your website allows customers to quickly find a way to get in touch with your customer service team. This helps them resolve problems fast, which benefits the customer experience. 

What should you include on your Contact Us page to best serve your customers? Including an email form is strongly recommended so customers can get in touch easily and you can respond to them quickly. Having a phone number that connects to an actual person on the other end provides a top-notch customer experience that goes above and beyond, since few companies provide that level of service. Customers prefer to speak directly to a person instead of navigating through a complex automated phone tree, so providing this kind of support increases satisfaction. 

Mobile optimization 

The growth in consumers making purchases directly from their mobile devices means that optimizing your mobile website is essential to your ecommerce success. In 2021, 73% percent of all retail e-commerce is expected to be generated via mobile ecommerce, a rise from 59% in 2017. 

But the purchase experience for many retailers on a mobile site or app is clunky and cumbersome, and that can discourage customers who are looking to buy your products. Ensuring that your ecommerce website and all your features, including the browsing experience and checkout process, look and function smoothly on mobile devices is essential. 

Mobile page speed test

One area where many ecommerce mobile experiences fall flat is in the loading time for pages. Consumers these days are impatient, and this is especially true on mobile devices, so your mobile user experience must be excellent. If your site takes too long to load, potential customers will simply close the page and go to a competitor to make their purchase. 

You can test how fast your site pages load by conducting a mobile page speed test. Google will let you conduct this test for free on their Test My Site page, and will tell you which elements are slowing down your page and what you should fix for a faster site experience. Even small tweaks can make a big difference—improving your mobile site speed by just .1 seconds can boost your conversion rates by 8%

Omnichannel customer experience 

The shopping experience has become much more buyer-centric over the past few years. Instead of expecting potential customers to come to your website, you now need to bring your products and web presence to your customers, wherever they are. That’s what an omnichannel user experience is. 

Your omnichannel experience might look like this: you build a great website and include links to it in your Instagram and Facebook pages, and include native shopping ads on those social platforms as well. You also offer purchase options through third-party retailers like Amazon and in-store experiences as well. Essentially, an omnichannel experience means customers can find your products, interact with your brand, and make a purchase wherever they are, whether they’re scrolling through Instagram or walking home from work. 

Though it’s called an omnichannel experience, of course it’s not possible to have a presence on every single channel in the world (not yet, at least). What’s most important to create a successful omnichannel experience is figuring out where your customers are, and ensuring you have a compelling and engaging presence there. 

For example, if your audience is successful middle-aged professionals, you will want to prioritize your LinkedIn presence over your TikTok one and ensure you’re engaging frequently and authentically there. Not sure where your ideal customers are spending their time online? This is a great topic for a customer survey so you can ensure you’re reaching your customers where they want to find you. 

Customer reviews 

When your customers make an online purchase from your company, they can’t try on a shirt or sit on a sofa to ensure they like how the product performs and feels in the real world. That can create hesitancy in purchasing, and a high return rate for products as well. 

Customer reviews are essential to improving the ecommerce experience. They give customers insight into how people like them have enjoyed (or disliked) your products so they can judge if they will feel the same way. Customers trust reviews from other buyers because they know there’s no incentive for those reviewers to give your business a falsely positive review—they must have truly enjoyed the product to take the time to leave positive feedback. In fact, they’re so trusted that positive customer reviews can serve as free promotions for your products or services. 

And customer reviews don’t benefit only your customers. They also provide a wealth of information on how customers feel about your products and services as well, which you can gather for your Voice of Customer program. You can use this data to determine what’s working well and what needs improvement in your product offerings, and turn that data into actions that improve the customer experience. 

User-friendly website 

Creating a great digital user experience begins with building a user-friendly website. Your website is often the first experience customers have with your digital channels, and it’s also where many purchases will be made. It needs to look great and function efficiently and smoothly to give your customers an excellent experience. There are many elements that go into creating a user-friendly website, but these are the most important. 

Website navigation design

Having a website that is easy to navigate creates a better user experience for ecommerce customers. If customers have to click multiple times to find a page they want to see, they will quickly get frustrated and abandon the site. Or if information they need while considering a purchase isn’t readily available, that contributes to a poor customer experience as well. Website navigation design that is customer-centric puts the needs of the customer first and helps you create an excellent ecommerce experience. 

Checkout process

The checkout process on your ecommerce website needs to be functional and smooth. If your checkout process is easy to complete, customers will encounter few obstacles and make more purchases. But if it’s buggy or requires too many steps, they will abandon their shopping carts without buying anything. 

Product pages 

When they’re making a purchase online, customers don’t have the option of touching a product or examining it from any angle they like. They rely on your product pages to display the product accurately and attractively. Creating product pages that tell them everything they need to know about your product without overwhelming them with information is essential to a great ecommerce experience. 

Personalized customer experience 

Consumers don’t want to feel like faceless units of consumption these days, and that’s why expectations for personalization in the ecommerce experience are growing. 52% of consumers say they expect offers to always be personalized, so your business needs to keep up. 

With the amount of data most businesses collect about their online customers, this isn’t an unrealistic expectation either. You can personalize your ecommerce experience by providing personalized product recommendations based on items the customer or similar purchasers have enjoyed. 

You can also offer personalized discounts to lure shoppers in based on their behavior, like a birthday gift or offer based on a previous purchase so they can complete their experience. And sending reminders to people who abandon their shopping carts with a gentle nudge about the great items they’re missing is often very effective as well. In fact, personalization can increase your sales significantly. People are 40% more likely to spend more than planned when they find a shopping experience to be highly personalized.

Key takeaways 

What makes a good ecommerce customer experience? It starts from a customer-centric point of view, ensuring your potential customers can get an accurate view of your products, read what users like them think of their purchases, and check out quickly and smoothly once they make a purchase decision. 

The most effective way to improve the ecommerce experience for your business is to gather feedback from your customers directly. Whether that’s by using website or mobile app surveys, social listening, or analyzing customer review data, GetFeedback is here to help with our complete customer experience platform. Your digital customer experience is vital to your business—set yourself up for success with our advanced and agile platform.

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