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Top tips for creating a better online customer experience

If there’s one focus that unites online business owners, it’s conversions. Even if your website enjoys substantial traffic, getting those people to make purchases can sometimes be a Herculean task. Fortunately, there are lots of things that can be done to drive sales, but many businesses seem to revert to pricing in the mistaken belief that it’s the only factor that influences customer conversion rates. In reality, making small changes to create a better customer experience could have the most impact of all.

According to consulting company Gartner, customer experience management is the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed their expectations. If that description was not enticing enough, the most common benefits of enhancing a customer’s experience include greater satisfaction, increased brand loyalty, and advocacy. As the online marketplace becomes ever more saturated, customer experience management becomes even more important too – since businesses need to separate themselves from the competition.

It’s easy to see the benefits of creating a better experience for your online customers, but talking the talk and walking the walk are two very different things. It helps to remember that a customer’s experience is comprised of every interaction they have with your brand – from browsing your website, to receiving an order confirmation email and eventually accepting the delivery of their purchase.

With these challenges in mind, here are some of the easiest and best ways to improve the that way your ecommerce stores work for online customers.

1.      Know your customers

The first step in any user experience design process is mapping out who you’re actually targeting. Knowing your customers is crucial if you’re to understand what they want and how you can address those needs.

Customer profiling is one of the most popular and effective ways of deciding which direction to take your eCommerce user design project in. By creating mock personas of your potential customers, you can start to map out exactly what it is you need to make your website more appealing to them. It might be, for instance, that Amy the 32-year-old marketing executive is interested in speed and convenience – meaning you need to focus on your website load speed and checkout efficiency. Contrastingly John, the 65-year-old retiree wants to have a slower and more detailed experience that clearly sets out his options – requiring you to focus on product descriptions and features.

With these personas in mind, you can get to work on creating better product pages whilst speeding up your checkout process with an efficient UTP ecommerce payment gateway. You would be surprised by how such small changes can really boost the appeal of your internet store.

2.      Be clear about what you want to provide

It is tempting to say that you want to improve everything. In reality, though, doing so is often too challenging, prohibitively expensive, or both. Instead, it is necessary to set parameters for your user experience design project to ensure you tackle your website’s most pressing issues.

The most effective customer experience strategies have a clear, customer-focused vision that illustrates exactly how the changes you’re planning will fit in with your brand and its values. If you’re all about fast delivery times, make that the key focus of your work. Perhaps you want to entertain and engage with website visitors, and if that’s the case then you’ll need to spend more time on design.

Whatever it is that you want to do, make a plan and stick with it. You’re work will be more effective and it will show in the results.

3.      Establish a connection

Regardless of your intentions, you will want to make a connection with your customers. Appealing to them on a more emotional level is among the best ways to create brand loyalty, and it’ll make their shopping experience memorable too.

In fact, a study published in the Harvard Business Review suggests that customers who are emotionally engaged with an ecommerce brand are at least three times more likely to recommend the product or service, and three times more likely to shop with you again.

There’s clear value in making a connection with potential clients, so be sure to go the extra mile for them. Great customer service never goes out of style.

4.      Make sure that your site works

Moving towards more practical matters, it is essential to make sure that your website actually works well. Even the best designed user experience will fall flat on its face if customers cannot access the site in an easy and convenient way.

To ensure that you aren’t losing out, make sure that your website is optimised for cross-platform (PC, mobile, table) use, and that it loads quickly. You should also focus on creating a simple yet effective navigation system that doesn’t require potential customers to scroll through endless products in the hope of finding what they’re looking for. It’s well worth thinking about incorporating a site search function into your website design, since this will make it super simple for people to find the products that they’re most likely to buy.

Modern consumers want information when and where they need it, so optimise your eCommerce website to make shopping easy.

5.      Showcase what you’re selling

Look at any underperforming eCommerce website and you’ll probably find that the product descriptions and images aren’t very good. Nobody should underestimate the power of clarity and detail in user experience design, and you could get some quick wins simply by improving the information you provide about your products and services.

Similarly, too many ecommerce businesses just don’t invest very much time or effort into providing high quality photographs of the items that they sell. No customer wants their online shopping experience to be a lucky dip, so clear, detailed photographs are an absolute must when consumers could easily shop somewhere else with better photos and descriptions.

We live in a visual world, and conversions simply won’t come until you make it easy for site visitors to understand exactly what you’re selling.

6.      Display reviews

Social proof is an essential aspect of the modern shopping experience. With so many review websites offering consumers the chance to read up on reviews, few people make any purchase without first checking out what others think.

According to data from communications agency HigherLogic, customer reviews are trusted up to 12 times more than any corporate marketing piece you could put out. With that in mind, it makes sense to let your customers know the consensus on what you’re selling. If you’re getting great reviews, show it off! If the feedback you’re getting isn’t all that great, maybe it’s time to shake things up a little.

Measure your success, and learn from mistakes

Finally, regardless of the steps you take, it’s important to measure the impact of your user experience improvement efforts. From increased site traffic to business results, everybody wants a good return on investment – but user experience design is often as much a learning experience as it is a commercial project.

You need to keep learning, tweaking, and changing your ecommerce website to make it as relevant as possible to consumers. And if you can do all of that, your conversion rate will soar.