Four Customer-Centric Tips to Compete with E-Commerce Giants

May 23, 2017

Last year, Amazon alone accounted for over 40% of all online sales in the United States.  Don’t worry though, even with big fish like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart.com, there’s plenty of room for small and mid-sized fish in this ocean, too—e-Commerce sales are expected to reach $23.4 trillion in 2017.  What’s the key to standing out?  Your customers.  These four tips will help you create a customer experience that will make your site their go-to.

  1. Build relationships with visitors and strengthen relationships with customers.Whether it’s through an app, email list, direct mailings, or desktop or mobile notifications, discover their preferred method of contact.Keep them informed of new products, give them early access to coupons or sales, and offer great content and recommendations.Most importantly, personalize!Personalization is the difference between spammers and companies that provide relevant, interesting material that is useful to the recipient.

     

  2. Make it easy!Not all visitors will enter your site at the homepage, so make navigation and search simple to find and use.Checkout and payment processing must also be straightforward.Bonus:Google gives higher ranking to e-Commerce sites that are easy to use.

     

  3. Give your customers choices.Even if you offer super-premium expedited shipping that you think is more expensive than your customers will likely choose, just having a choice can noticeably increase your order volume.Let them decide how you contact them.Give them options on how to have a return shipped or picked up.By letting customers choose per their own preferences, you put them in charge of their experience.And no matter how much market research you do or how perfectly you segment your customers, no one will know a particular user better than the user.

     

  4. Be as clear and exact as possible regarding delivery and order status.This is an area where you can take a lesson from an e-Commerce big fish. Even if you aren’t in a rush to receive an order, and chose a No-Rush Shipping option, it’s useful to know exactly when it will arrive.Customers appreciate being notified when an order ships and when it is delivered.In the B2B world, you may need to inform buyers about lead times as well.The more information and the more precise information you can provide, the better.Not every vendor will be offer exact dates for each delivery option, but narrowing windows as much as possible (with reliable carriers to fulfill promised delivery windows) will be a big help in gaining your customers’ trust.It’s not enough to offer customers choices; you have to give them enough information to make educated decisions.

When an online store puts its users’ interests first, it shows.  By offering an easy, personalized online experience, and by putting customers at the helm of their delivery experience, you give a value to them that is independent of your company’s size or market share.  That’s something everybody can root for.