10 Ways to Improve the Online Customer Experience

Mar 15, 2016

As the shift to shopping online continues and the influence of millennials grows, e-commerce retailers must be diligent about optimizing the customer experience—it no longer matters if your business model is B2C or B2B because the line between them is blurring. The following are the top ten ways you can improve the online customer experience:

  1. Online Self-Service — Today's customer is busy, mobile, independent and they conduct business 24 x 7. Make it easy for them to check order status, update account information or process a return without having to contact Customer Service.
  2. Personalized Shopping — Target products and promotional offerings based on the source of a visit, browser, state, or custom parameters to deliver the most relevant content.
  3. Customer Reviews — More than 86% of consumers view reviews as essential. Brands can significantly improve the customer experience by [showcasing] product reviews not only on their site but also on their mobile apps and in-store displays,” says Theresa O'Neil, senior vice president of Marketing at PowerReviews.
  4. Robust On-Site Search — On-site search matters and most retailers fail to deliver.  Site search accounts for over 30% of all website activity; the right on-site search solution can not only improve the customer experience, it can drive real money to the bottom line.
  5. Consistent Navigation — Consistency between Search and Navigation provides the best customer experience and results in faster findability and increased conversions.
  6. Complete (and accurate) Product Details — Poor product detail information costs sales, according to a survey by Shotfarm, 90% of the participants surveyed reported abandoning an purchase due to the absence of information.
  7. Accurate Inventory — Having accurate product availability information isn't limited to your website, it's important across all channels. 46% of shoppers expect sales associates in the store to have access to a mobile device to locate products, arrange deliveries, and help find substitute items for items that are not available in the store. At a minimum, they expect the staff members of the store will have access to a desktop to provide these same services.
  8. Streamlined Checkout Process — Allowing customers to save their carts is one of the most important things an online retailer can do. Make it as easy as possible to to access the shopping cart and checkout. Don't forget to optimize the checkout experience and streamline it across multiple touch-points.
  9. Multiple Payment Methods — Consumers like options and the use of alternative payment methods is becoming more popular. If you do business (or want to) globally, alternative payment methods are the path to increasing sales.
  10. Visible Contact Options -— It may seem counter-intuitive, but it's important to make it easy for online visitors to contact you in real time.

Now is the time to review your customer experience and implement improvements and make it your online customer experience the preferred path.