Drive online sales growth by building meaningful customer connections
How to stay one step ahead in ecommerce? By giving online shoppers a great customer experience.
In this article, you will learn about:
- How customer experience can influence and build brand loyalty
- The difference between customer experience and customer service
- Strategies to improve your customers’ online experience
- The power of customer experience in international ecommerce
How important is customer experience?
A great deal of online brands continue to believe that the key to winning customers is price and product quality.
In other words, they think that the lowest price or the perfect product will surely be a deal maker.
However, this view is very outdated and short-sighted. After all, we live in the experience economy, where the customer has power.
Price and quality are no longer the only factors influencing purchasing decisions.
According to a Forbes Insights and Arm Treasure Data survey, 74% of consumers declare that they buy based on experiences alone. Moreover, even 77% of consumers consider customer experience to be just as important as product quality.
What if we told you that 86% of customers would pay more for a better shopping experience?
Surveys don’t lie. The above stat, taken from a study by American Express, is truly eye-opening. Even more so if customer experience has not always been at the forefront of your company’s priorities.
It’s worth making an effort to ensure a compelling customer experience since it leads to customer satisfaction.
And customer satisfaction is one of the key differentiators in today’s competitive marketplace landscape.
Simply put, satisfied customers drive business.
Ecommerce customer experience: a definition
Many mistakenly think that customer experience is restricted to brick-and-mortar stores. But it exists in the digital world, too! Ecommerce Customer Experience is a broad concept.
This means all your online endeavors, not just your marketplace listings and the current purchase. Every detail counts:
- This perception affects customer behavior.
- It has the power to create long-lasting memories and feelings.
- It may also drive brand loyalty.
- It can spark brand advocacy.
Each and every single one of your customers will form a perception of your brand. They won’t all be identical.
Some of your customers will be satisfied with your service and happy to put in a good word for you with friends and family. Such customers become promoters. This segment is likely to help you grow your business.
Other customers might think your product or service could be improved. Such clients can become detractors, blocking your brand’s growth.
There will also be passive customers who have had a neutral experience with shopping from you.
The truth is you shouldn’t have detractors dominating your customer landscape. Ideally, you don’t want a single detractor in your client portfolio!
It would, however, be great if passives could be turned into promoters.
But in order to make this happen, you have to know your customers well.
How to produce satisfied customers? How to transform unhappy clients into the promoters of your brand?
You need to understand:
- who they are,
- what product they need,
- what they enjoy.
You must spend enough time talking and listening to your customers. Pay attention to their feedback. This process will help you thoroughly understand the actual issues your customers have, not the ones you think they have.
This is necessary research in order to be able to serve your clients a personalized experience and gain their loyalty.
On top of that, investigate what promoters love about your brand and enhance this experience even more. Finally, ask passives about what they are missing and what keeps them from promoting your brand.
Customer experience vs. customer service
Customer experience (CX) and customer service (CS) are related but distinct ecommerce concepts.
Customer experience refers to the overall perception of a brand or a company, including factors such as the website or app’s ease of use, product selection, and shipping options. It covers the customer’s entire journey when interacting with a business, from browsing to purchasing to after-sales support.
On the other hand, customer service focuses on addressing and resolving customer inquiries and issues. This includes answering questions, processing returns or exchanges, and handling complaints.
Both are essential in maintaining customer satisfaction and loyalty; customer experience is a more holistic concept that includes the customer’s overall relationship with a brand. Customer service is focused on addressing specific needs and problems as they arise.
What makes the online shopping experience great?
To be a successful customer-centric online brand, paying attention to your customer’s digital journey is essential.
Think of it as a path of interactions with your online store: each step provides a chance to give your client a positive experience.
The customer should receive the same level of service across the entire lifecycle.
Another important factor in planning the whole customer journey is a unified vision that brings together the distributed resources to enable extraordinary branded moments at every customer touchpoint. It may be easier said than done, but in today’s world, it’s a necessity.
We broke it down into easy-to-follow ideas on what to improve at each stage of the ecommerce customer journey.
The customer journey is not always linear, and a customer can return to earlier stages at any point.
Understanding the customer journey #1: Pre-purchase
This is the stage in which potential customers become aware of your offer.
- They get acquainted with it and consider buying your product.
- They first do some research, including reading about your products, visiting your website, comparing your offer with other sellers’, reading reviews, etc.
- They also assess and consider multiple factors, such as the price and quality of the product and delivery and return conditions.
Understanding the customer journey #2: Purchase
Once a potential customer has decided on a product, they will complete the purchase by adding an item to their cart, typing in their shipping information, and completing the payment, thus completing the checkout process.
Understanding the customer journey #3: Post-purchase
After the purchase is complete, the customer receives the product. This stage includes the actual delivery of the item and any follow-up customer service. After receiving their product, customers may purchase it in your store again or recommend your brand to others.
Building connections through customer experience
Your brand won’t suit all customers.
That’s why it’s so important to build the right expectations. You want to attract customers who are genuinely looking for the product, price, and value you offer.
Keep your promises, or avoid making promises you cannot keep.
Managing or failing to do so will lead to either customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction. So be honest when advertising your strong points.
Setting the right expectations is more about a guaranteed good experience, not the promise of it.
This strategy allows you to thrive on marketplaces and sets you up for long-term success.
How? By increasing sales in the short term and fostering brand loyalty in the long term.
Need more ideas to build meaningful online connections through customer experience? We broke it down into easy-to-follow ideas on what to improve at each stage of the customer journey:
Avoid bad customer experiences at all cost
Remember, it all comes down to customer experience and the level of customer satisfaction. A satisfied customer will come back to you or even promote your business.
In turn, bad customer experience will simply cost you money and can lead to business failure.
Not only does it directly affect your sales, churn rate, and acquisition cost. It dramatically harms your reputation.
One in three consumers (32%) say they would walk away from a favorite brand after a bad experience. According to research by Temkin Group, 86% of those who received a great customer experience were likely to repurchase from the same company.
It has never been so easy to check a company’s reputation: your potential clients may look you up online before they buy from you. Don’t let poor customer experience destroy your reputation and stop potential clients from doing business with you. Let the amazing customer experience and reviews hype your brand up!
Why brand reputation and customer retention matter
Reputation matters, and excellent customer experience resulting in satisfaction is the basis of that reputation. This is why you should appreciate each new customer.
However, it’s the loyal, returning customer that should hold a special place in your brand’s heart!
According to a 2021 study by Invesp:
The cost of acquiring a new customer can be up to five times higher than retaining an existing one.
Online brands must focus on customer retention strategies to increase profitability and sales.
Customer experience across cultures
When it comes to cross-border trade, it is essential to understand that customer experiences can differ significantly across cultures.
Various cultural values and norms can influence how customers perceive and interact with your brand.
To effectively navigate these cultural differences, it is essential to do research on your target markets by conducting surveys to understand customer needs and preferences better.
We also strongly recommend adapting your entire communication style and adjusting your customer approach.
We asked Paweł Bączkowski, Webinterpret’s Customer Care Team Leader, about his take on customer experience across cultures.
As Bączkowski emphasizes: “Online brands can improve their services, provide a localized customer experience, and enhance their overall appeal to international shoppers thanks to the systematic integration of innovative technologies“.
Once you have a better understanding of the cultural differences that may impact customer experience, it is crucial to adapt your marketplace strategy accordingly. Typically, this process involves tailoring your product offerings to better align with your target audience’s preferences.
This means translating your marketplace listing into different languages. However, a well-rounded product localization strategy involves much more than that. It is also about creating customized rules, dictionaries, size, and currency conversion tables, etc.
Conclusion: Improve customer experience at your online store
Customer experience is key to long-term business success.
The top reasons to improve customer experience are to:
- grow customer retention,
- improve customer satisfaction,
- increase cross- and upselling.
The long-term goal is not to meet customer expectations but to exceed them at every level. This is how building meaningful customer connections will allow you to drive your online brand’s growth.
Learn how to improve customer experience at your online store!