Smart ecommerce managers and business owners build their websites with two goals: to serve customers and sell products. In that order.
The easier your site is to navigate from landing page to checkout page, the better the customer experience is, and the better your conversion rate will be.
While each brand is unique, there are some tips that can help any ecommerce site deliver a better customer experience and in turn, a better conversion rate.
In this article we’ll explore:
- Why customer experience matters
- How customer experience, customer support, and user experience intersect
- Tips to improve your ecommerce customer experience AND conversion rate
- The one tip you can’t ignore
Why does customer experience (CX) matter?
Let’s start with a reality check: your customer holds the power. Ultimately they decide where to shop and whether or not to make a purchase. And customer experience is an important factor in this decision.
73% of consumers say a good customer experience is a key influence on their brand loyalties. The same study showed that customers are willing to pay more for the experience qualities that matter most to them.
Research makes it clear that building the best customer experience possible is the key to making sales and brand loyalists.
If that isn’t enough to convince you, the benefits of improved customer experience are an even better indicator of its importance. Brands offering a great customer experience bring in 5.7 times more revenue than brands with inferior customer experience.
The intersection of customer experience, customer service, and user experience
We often hear the terms ‘customer service’ or ‘user experience’ used interchangeably with customer experience. Though all of these terms are related, they are not the same and it’s important to understand the difference as you look to increase your conversion rate through better CX.
Customer experience is the end-to-end experience involving every aspect, team, touchpoint, and channel of the brand. It is across all channels and platforms.
User experience (UX) on the other hand, is specifically speaking to the usability of your website, application, or product.
And customer service is in reference to a team on the frontlines of the customer relationship.
UX and customer service are part of the overall customer experience and live below the general CX umbrella. A bad user experience or a bad interaction with the customer service team contributes to a negative customer experience. But it doesn’t make up the entity.
So remember to look at the big picture. Ignoring any part of the customer experience lowers your chances of making a sale. So, we’ve put together these tips to help you improve your overall customer experience for a better conversion rate.
10 tips to improve your ecommerce customer experience AND conversion rate
1. Speak in the customer’s language
Avoid covering your website pages with jargon and marketing. Use your precious space to display best-selling products, images that inspire, and content that customers actually want to consume. Highlight the benefits your product offers to the consumer. Your website content should answer: how do the product features help the customer solve a problem?
2. Study the customer journey
Get a better understanding of your customer and their goals by studying the customer journey. With some well-conducted customer interviews and a deep dive into your website analytics, you can construct a journey that has ease and trust in every step. Use your understanding to layout clean, user-friendly paths to purchase and lead generation.
3. Compress your images
This might seem obvious, but you would be surprised how often website images aren’t optimized. A slow site is a frustrating customer experience. You can still use high-quality images, but make sure they’re optimized for load speed. If using stock images, try to alter or edit the images for uniqueness and so they stand out against the dozens of other sites using the same pictures.
4. Offer social proof and trust indicators
Shoppers are looking for trust indicators as they browse your site. Make liberal use of reviews and recommendations. If you have been featured in a recognizable publication, include the logo and a link to the article. If you have any guarantees, feature those prominently as well. You should take advantage of every opportunity you have to build credibility and trust with your customers.
5. Create a seamless customer support
As a shopper, I want to know that there’s someone I can talk to in case I have questions or something goes wrong. Add things like support chat or phone support to your ecommerce store so customers know any potential issues will be solved, and promptly.
6. Make your site easy to navigate
Use smart navigation and search functions to make it simple and easy for your visitors to find what they seek. We generally recommend you include only 5 website navigation links. Don’t fret though, you can (and probably should) offer additional links as sub-navigation items. Additionally, for further navigability of your site, ensure site search is available, apparent, and functions properly.
7. Invest in user testing
Understanding the ways your customers interact with your site can reveal many obstacles to a purchase. An investment of a few hundred dollars here will pay for itself multiple times over by helping you to see where people are getting confused, distracted, or otherwise losing their patience with what feels to the brand like a slick and well-constructed ecommerce site.
8. Turn bad stats into good tests
Review your Google Analytics data, and identify website pages with high bounce rates, low conversion rates, or unusual data. These are prime candidates for user testing. Choose a handful of poorly performing pages, send testers to those pages, and assign goals you expect your customers to perform on those pages.
9. Try out live site testing
In addition to user tests, live site testing can be an extremely effective addition to your toolkit. There are a number of services that allow you to test almost any change or variation on your site to see how it performs against a specific goal. These tests help you observe and assess small tweaks to links, wording, colors, and positioning of items on a page to compare how that change performs against the baseline. This is much less personal and anecdotal than a live user test, but the results are indisputable.
10. Consider personalizing your website
Site personalization is becoming popular and more accessible as technology becomes cheaper and smarter. Using data from past interactions with your site, you can provide returning visitors with a personalized digital experience, similar to something that might happen in real life. Sites that remember perform better. Sites that provide personalized experiences perform the best. Here are some actionable ideas for website personalization in a recent podcast interview.
Bonus tip: continue testing and optimizing
Now for the bonus tip, the #1 website optimization and good customer experience asset that you can’t ignore.
The key to conversion optimization is iteration. The most successful brands continue testing and optimizing, testing and optimizing their website. Your website is never fully optimized because the internet and your customers are constantly changing.
This might sound intimidating, but it’s actually an opportunity for your ecommerce brand to stay ahead of competitors and consistently offering an exciting, always improving customer experience for your shoppers.
A good conversion rate is one that’s always improving, and using these tips to build a better customer experience will help you achieve that.
If you aren’t sure how or where to start improving your ecommerce customer experience, we at The Good are here to help. We can conduct a free landing page assessment on your website to help discover the top conversion blockers that are keeping your business from delivering the best possible customer experience.