January 30, 2023

E-commerce customer experience: the ins and outs

Operating your own online business can be highly profitable and fulfilling. In fact, during the pandemic, online sales profit boosted exponentially and still continues to rise. An e-commerce business model is a company’s plan for how they will monetize products and get them directly to the consumers. From online sales to shipping options. Here are some of the “ins and outs” of the e-commerce customer experience to help your business succeed. And stay thriving!

Types of e-commerce business models

E-commerce stands for electronic commerce, which is the electronically enabled purchase of products via online services. There are four main types of e-commerce models:

  • B2C: Business to consumer. This refers to transactions from the online business to the consumer. B2C is a common online business model and the main focus of this E-commerce Customer Service Guide.
  • B2B: This refers to business to other business transfers of goods and services.
  • C2B: Much more uncommon business model, C2B is when a consumer sells or exchanges a service directly to a business.
  • C2C: This is another primary model for e-commerce when one consumer sells their product or services to another consumer directly.

If you have an e-commerce business, you are already aware that having a fantastic product or service to offer to the public is just the beginning.

Advertising your product will attract your customer base. Having a quality product with excellent service and quick delivery will keep the customers engaged and a customer for life.

What is the e-commerce customer experience?

When you hear the term “E-commerce Customer Experience,” this refers to every stop, touchpoint, engagement, and feeling that occurs and is exchanged between the customer and the business brand — as seen from the customer’s unique perspective.

Customer experience matters, the consumer’s final perception of the brand is the first block in building a strong, healthy, customer-to-business relationship. The customer-to-business relationship is vital to any company and encompasses everything that happens from the moment an individual hears of your brand to the moment the product is delivered and utilized.

Why is the customer experience always number one?

Customer service and experience have always been a number one priority. Your customer’s loyalty to your product or brand is highly based on their experience with your company. An excellent, memorable customer experience will keep the consumers coming back and has increased how much money a consumer is willing to spend while shopping. Eighty-six percent of shoppers are willing to pay more if the company has provided an excellent customer service experience. 

What makes a good e-commerce experience?

There is nothing more vital to your company’s success than to learn, understand, and improve upon customer satisfaction. Listening to customer feedback and making needed changes can be the exact thing to keep your e-commerce business flourishing. 

Listen to the voice of your customers

Creating surveys for customers is a great way to get direct feedback on your product or service. Let them tell you how and where some improvements might be needed. Learning what your customer wants isn’t actually limited to simple surveys anymore. Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram, can show your customer base that you are listening to their reviews. Engaging customers directly and timely is a new but highly effective way to solve problems that might occur within your business model. 

Product images and videos

Web presence is vital. Adding top quality, attractive, and, more importantly, accurate product images on your e-commerce site helps customers find exactly what they are looking for. Videos can be great, too, and a customer wants to know how this product or service works in real life before committing to a purchase. For example, when purchasing clothing online, one of the most significant drawbacks of online shopping is the number of returns and disappointment from buyers after shipment. Using videos to show the product first can help decrease customer dissatisfaction. Seeing how a product moves, looks, and works before the purchase can really influence how a customer’s experience ends.

Keep customers in the know

Someone is thinking about buying your product from your online site beforehand. A buyer might often do prior research to help them make a proper decision. Review pages are something they first might look for, or after buying your product, search to add their own experience. FAQ sections on business websites are great because they offer information to people asking similar questions regularly. Having a place to go so they can get quick answers to their questions or reassurance about the item will set your company on the track for customer service greatness. 

Excel at service from start to finish

If a customer has a positive experience with a company, more than likely, they will return at a later date or, even better, spread the word to others. The procedure is so crucial to overall customer happiness. Implementing no-hassle return policies gives the buyer reassurance at the beginning of a transaction. Keeping up with them about their feelings and thoughts on the product provides loyalty and transparency and will help boost future sales. 

Keep your employees happy. Customers want to buy from companies that treat not just their customers fairly but also their workers. When customer service teams are happy to communicate with customers regularly, this can affect how your brand is represented to others. Positive reviews and praise for your employees can result in entirely new business by word-of-mouth, the oldest and least expensive form of advertising in any industry. 

Streamline processes

When everyone at your company shares the same goals and works well with other companies, such as engineers and delivery services, you promote this more streamlined workflow and get the job done, done together, and executed with excellence! Do everything you can so that the work-process functions from purchase to delivery without issue. When you can get a quality product quickly to your customer, it shows that the company really cares. Streamlined Processes make e-commerce retail easier and more effective, and it will set your company apart from others in the vast market. Further keeping customer experience at a 5-star rating and keeping your brand trending. 

Some examples of e-commerce

  • Online stores: Online retailers like Amazon, eBay, Shopify, and Olx are just a few examples of popular e-commerce websites. These could be several different online commerce and follow various business models like B2C or C2C plans. If you are a C2C-style business venture by chance, it is helpful to streamline your sales using online outlets and choose shipping options through a professional parcel service. 
  • Dropshipping: The simplest form of e-commerce and retail business, dropshipping allows you to set up a store and take customer payments through credit cards or PayPal. Instead of having stock on hand, the seller transfers the orders and their shipment data to either manufacturer, wholesaler, or other retailers, which then ships the goods to your customer. Some examples of trending drop shipping stores include Blue Crate, OddityMall, and Dude Gadgets.
  • Government/Public administration e-commerce: This refers to government sales to private businesses and the general public. These businesses can range from smaller tech companies to ones as big as Boeing, who builds airplanes and defense systems.
  • Mobile commerce: Examples of mobile commerce are relatively new and growing quickly. They include but are not limited to in-game app purchases, mobile banking, digital wallets, and virtual marketplace apps. An example of m-commerce proud parents are most likely familiar with are in-app purchases in video games like Fortnite and Roblox, purchasing digital merchandise, and character skins.

Some important steps in e-commerce customer experience

Make customers happy

Online shoppers love surprises and appreciate great deals. Added content like discount emails and promotional code blogs can surprise new and old customers with updates and redeemable gifts. Reward and loyalty points make a big statement in a big market. Thank you letters and referral programs show the customer that the company cares and wants to know the purchase is appreciated.

Update content and track social media accounts

Highlight your unique brand by using and keeping up with social media outlets. Addressing the customer directly and addressing questions and problems along the way in complete transparency to the public puts a positive light on your brand. Incorporate live chat and widgets on your website that allow you to connect to your customer base in real-time with little wait. Personalizing the customer experience and learning what they like in a product and service can set you apart from a similar business. Regularly providing related information and exciting content to your company website can help keep your fans engaged and informed. 

Build a community

If you please your new consumer base, you tend to make long-term customers. It is the ultimate hopeful outcome of proper branding and represents a vast goal almost every company works so hard for. Create a community of advocates of your products, and encourage them to share their stories. Build up a community that loves your brand and wants to share that with the world. 

Deliver quality quickly

It is a cutthroat market, and sales competition has saturated the market, dramatically affecting pricing and end-of-year sales. The bottom line is – customers want an excellent product for an affordable price. They expect and deserve amazing customer service, even through an online store, like e-commerce. They also want that product to arrive quickly, correctly, and in excellent condition. If you have a great product, it is only just the beginning of excellent service. The company must take steps to ensure that they also meet consumer delivery dates and consumer experience expectations.

How do you measure e-commerce customer experience?

While brand perceptions of a shopper’s retail experience can be a challenge to measure, there are a few go-to metrics that can help:

  • CSAT (Customer Satisfaction): Getting information through studies, surveys, and questioning is a commonly used metric to track a customer’s experience and overall happiness with the product, service, and support team. 
  • NPS (Net Promoter Score): Another market research metric is a single survey question, basically asking if you would recommend the service or product.
  • Customers: There is no better, more efficient way than to ask your customers firsthand how they feel about your company and hear those comments. Formulate plans to make things better for the majority of their fanbase. Making customers happy by sending them the quality product they expect and getting it to them fast and safely is the key to a positive e-commerce customer experience. 

No matter what business model you follow. The steps to own a successful business are very much the same. Be organized from the beginning and take detailed records. Understand and build relationships with your buyers. Analyze and keep up with the competition. Always provide Grade A Customer service, and don’t be afraid to personalize the shopping experience for each individual. Be creative and unique in your process, and don’t forget to think out of the box. 

For shipping that ensures your goods get delivered, CIRRO E-Commerce has you covered