Customers visiting your site for the first time can be turned off by the slightest thing, so it’s crucial that you add those features which blend seamlessly into the background, while elevating you above the competition in terms of customer experience.
1. Ease of Navigation (UI)
The most important thing about a website is the ease of use. Potential customers can spend as little as 10 seconds to decide whether they want to carry on viewing your website, so in that narrow time frame, you have to convince them of three things:
a) Your website is easy to use
b) Your website is easy to navigate
c) It’s easy to return a search result that is exactly what they want
They assume that this is easy to achieve, as so many websites have made that level of engagement a top priority – and so should you! If you can get their undivided attention for over 20 seconds, they are far more likely to look around your site more thoroughly, so don’t waste the opportunity. Make it perfectly clear from the first look that your website is simple to use but also easy to understand. You need to be clear and concise on the homepage, describe exactly what it is your company offers, and make the navigation obvious as well as clearly comprehendible.
2. Understated Marketing
Once you have their undivided attention, it is time to direct them down your sales funnel. By using the embedded marketing functions of your CMS, you can put across your advertising in a much more subtle manner; for example, why not make the most of your website skin to promote a certain range, sale or theme, while your search bar can drop down to not only reveal the categories the user wants to look at, but offers and bestselling items. This kind of low-key, targeted marketing can make all the difference when catching a user’s interest, and can prove the key for turning them from a one-click customer to a buyer.
3. Ease of Checkout
Countless pages of personal details to enter, boxes to tick, options to choose from – these are the nightmares of today’s customer when it comes to their eCommerce experience, so much so that you get cart abandonment at this stage if your process is that bad. With the right eCommerce package though, you can streamline the entire process for the customer to just a page or even one-click purchasing, making it just as easy as the rest of your site.
There are tonnes of little tricks that can help make this happen. Postcode lookups and the retention of customer login details can drastically reduce not only the time spent entering data and the duplication of entry, but also the space taken up on a page, giving the customer the impression of a simpler process. Plus, clear delivery schedules and the inclusion of any costs attached to it give the customer the feeling that they can trust you.
4. Real-time tracking
Not only do your customers expect every part of their online experience to be a breeze, but after they’ve made their purchase they want to know exactly where it is and how long it will take to reach them. Real-time tracking is one of those features that today’s customer just can’t do without, but they can often abandon their purchase if taken to a different site to enter any details.
Most companies will use one of the big-name couriers to ensure that an element of trust is maintained with the use of a well-established brand, but one way of combatting this desertion is to have the re-directed site re-branded to look like your own – that way, you maintain that trust.
5. Going Live
You might think that customer service is all wrapped up with an email team and call centre crew in place, but think again. Customer service is expanding to include those avenues which today’s consumer is all too familiar with. Namely, instant messaging and social media integration.
Live chat is becoming a must-have function for eCommerce sites. When a customer finally has the time to sort out an issue with their service – whether that be an undelivered item or the switching of a utility provider – they want to be able to sort it out there and then; they want to sort out the problem quickly by talking directly to someone, but without the hassle of waiting in a call centre queue. Live chat is a really easy way of providing that service, and it’s presented in a way which the modern consumer is completely familiar with.
The other avenue is social media, and this is something you really can’t afford to take for granted, especially when negative feedback can be seen by the entire Twittersphere or Facebook population. These comments are public and instantaneous, so if you can respond to a customer’s problem quickly and efficiently in this area, it will send a hugely positive message to all other users.
It can sometimes feel these days as though satisfying (and anticipating) the needs of today’s customers is a challenge; the key to success is in recognising those basic needs which a customer expects and delivering them well. With the right eCommerce system in place this is easily achievable, and it will give your business that much needed edge over the competition.
There are many more tips besides, but if you want to know how to provide those top five things that customers take for granted:
2. Enlist the help of understated marketing to drive your audience in the direction you want them to go.
3. Streamline the entire checkout process into a one-click action to avoid last minute cart abandonment.
4. Real-time tracking of deliveries will ensure that the good reviews for customer service keep rolling in.
5. Enable the instant messaging and shared browsing opportunities of live chat and social media, so that you only get positive tweets.
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