Virtually every ecommerce brand would agree that customer experience (CX) is a top priority. We all want to delight customers, provide smooth purchasing experiences, and leave shoppers with a positive impression.
But too often, CX is an abstract ideal that gets discussed but not implemented. Most CX advice is too vague to be actionable.
At Gorgias, CX is not abstract — it's concrete and measurable. And it's the best path to ecommerce revenue growth as acquisition costs continue to shoot higher and higher.
Allbirds, Warby Parker, and other DTC giants grew through ad spend at a time when that made sense. But the next generation of ecommerce leaders will grow through best-in-class customer experience, driving increased customer retention, upselling, and referrals.
We want to make this future of ecommerce more tactical. So we interviewed 25+ top ecommerce brands and analyzed data from 10,000+ merchants who use Gorgias. Below, we share our refined philosophy around the future of customer experience and a playbook of 18 tactics to drive revenue by up to 44% through CX.
Our philosophy rests on a simple premise: Happy customers are the best fuel for growth.
Happy customers don’t come from good intentions or even great products. To cultivate happy customers — and turn that happiness into revenue — brands must shift their mindset and investments toward customer experience. Based on our interviews and analysis, here are six key lessons about the undeniable connection between your customers and your revenue growth.
Customer feedback is an invaluable source of information for your brand. Your customers are telling you how to win (and keep) their business. Don't wait idly for this feedback, though. When customers reach out to customer service or leave a complaint on Facebook, they may have already decided to shop elsewhere. Instead, proactively seek customer feedback before they think to share it with you.
You can collect customer feedback through standalone initiatives like surveys, customer interviews, product reviews, net promoter score (NPS), and satisfaction score (CSAT). However, you already have a team that speaks directly to your customers and regularly receives customer feedback: customer support.
Your agents should constantly solicit, collect, and report feedback. They should tag customer support tickets containing customer feedback to share insights with product, engineering, and other teams — teams that can address the root cause of customer problems. (Likewise, those teams should set aside time to study tickets that contain customer feedback.)
An example: Woxer, a retailer for women’s boxer shorts, saw a sudden 10% drop in monthly subscriptions. Thanks to customer support tickets, they realized the cause of the problem within a few days: customers couldn’t update their credit cards on their website. The company fixed the issue almost immediately once the insight surfaced from the customer support team.
Our interviews and analysis confirmed that top brands treat customer feedback as a priority — even a KPI — for their customer service teams:
Company values used to be an afterthought, but now they’re a primary buying factor. Before, customers shopped online to buy items they couldn’t find in person. You tried to tell them your story, but they weren’t really listening. Today, your values matter to your customers. 82% of shoppers want a brand's values to align with theirs, according to a 2022 Harris poll. They pay attention when you discuss you values and mission, compare you to other brands, and remain loyal to brands with similar values to their own.
For example, carbon-neutral shipping or ethical practices are important enough to some shoppers to determine brand loyalty.
Be sure that your product and your customer experience align with your values. Specifically, publicize information about your supply chain and product materials on your website. Also, share positive interactions with customers, the process you use to deliver products to customers, and any other purchasing policies (like returns and repairs). If this information reflects strong company values, it will draw in new and loyal customers.
Repeat customers generate 300% more revenue than first-time customers, according to our analysis of merchants who use Gorgias. The average online apparel shopper isn't profitable until they make four purchases. And once they shop again, they shop a lot: Gorgias customer data shows that repeat customers account for only 21% of customers, but generate 44% of revenue and 46% of orders. Repeat customers should not be an afterthought. They’re revenue drivers. They’re your priority.
On top of that, acquiring new customers is unusually challenging because ad costs have reached an all-time high. To build a sustainable business model, merchants need to focus more on repeat customers. We estimate that by increasing your repeat customer base by 20%, you could increase your revenue up to 6%. Small changes, great impact.
Leading brands have already shifted their focus away from customer acquisition and toward customer retention. For example, Dr. Squatch, a natural men's personal care brand, created a team focused on retention throughout the customer journey, composed of marketing, web development, and support team members. They handle projects like communicating unexpected delays, celebrating subscription anniversaries, and identifying cross-selling opportunities.
Your agents influence revenue in either direction more than you realize. You probably don’t measure the impact of your agents on sales and don’t incentivize them to sell. But since agents impact sales whether or not you want them to, you might as well measure and reward them like salespeople. Because they are at least part-time salespeople.
To make this happen, create an environment where your customer support goals align with revenue generation. You’re in luck, because customers who ask questions on your site are 30% more likely to make a purchase. In other words, customers on the precipice of a purchase are already talking to your support agents.
At some leading brands, the customer support team reports to the revenue team. We think this is a step in the right direction. Just like you might give salespeople commission bonuses, you should incentivize your agents to upsell and cross-sell by rewarding them with bonuses or gift cards based on their achievements.
Don’t just leave upselling and cross-selling for individual agents to figure out, either. Identify the most impactful ways customer support can impact revenue for your brand and train them accordingly. For example:
One Gorgias customer, an apparel brand, re-designed their customer service department to incentivize revenue generation by:
This program didn’t just generate more revenue for the company. It was a huge hit among customer support agents, encouraging them to stay with the company for years longer than average customer support retention rates.
We encourage brands to follow suit. Incentivize support agents to sell, and they will.
Customers don’t remember one-off, transactional interactions. What matters to your customers is the whole journey with your brand. They remember stories about your brand and how you treat your customers. And your customers' impression of you multiplies by the number of touch points you share.
The most important element of the customer journey is, of course, receiving a quality product the shopper loves. But a quality product isn't enough. A quality product delivered with a seamless experience is the baseline of a great customer journey.
If your journey doesn’t yet meet some of your customers’ expectations, don’t give up. A disappointed customer is not a lost cause: you still can convert your detractors into promoters. Reach out to your customers who have left you a bad review or satisfaction score, identify what didn’t go well, and be clear about the steps you'll take to rectify the issue, whether that's a long-term product improvement or a quick-fix refund. Show your customers that you want them to stay.
We all know that your team makes your business successful — full stop.You should hire people who care about what your brand does. The best employees don’t just stick to their own daily tasks, they see beyond their scope and proactively help move the business forward. They don’t only report to their managers, they also assist other teams because they care more about impact than following directions.
Try and make your team obsessed with your product and customer experience, no matter their role. These are the two major components of your brand and customer perception. They're make-or-break.
We believe that happy customers are the best fuel for growth. Now, let's get more specific.
We built a playbook from these findings to help you increase your revenue through strong CX. For each tip, you’ll see who implemented it, an estimate of the impact it will have on your revenue, and a playbook that you can follow to implement it quickly.
The first few tips are quick wins or solutions you can implement almost immediately. Let’s be clear: there’s no “quick fix” for CX. CX is an investment that you should consistently iterate. That said, these tips are a great kickstart to see shorter-term results.
Most brands let customers reach out via social media channels, but don’t take advantage of those channels for proactive engagement. But brands that do can expect a 4% increase in revenue.
Who does this? Glamnetic sends a welcome message to their followers on Instagram to welcome them to the brand.
Why 4% lift? Brands that invest time on building an Instagram audience tend to have 40 times more followers than monthly orders. If you convert 0.1% of your followers monthly, that’s 4% more orders for your store.
How to implement this tip? Go through your followers list on Instagram and send them a welcome DM, with something like to the copy below:
“Welcome to [brand] 🙌. We love sharing our story with our community. As a new member, here’s a 10% discount code: [coupon]. Please try out our products or reply here if you have any questions!”
Then track the discount code usage in Shopify’s “Sales by discount” analytics.
Customer support agents have direct access to shoppers at critical moments: when they’re evaluating sizes, confused about a product, or debating whether to exchange or refund a product. For this reason, we encourage you to treat your customer service representatives as sales associates — and compensate them accordingly.
Who does this? Jaxxon rewards top performers on the support team with gift cards at the end of each month.
Why 1% lift? On average, 20% of customers contact support. If you can lift your conversion (from support conversations to sales) from 3% to 8%, you'll see an overall 1% lift on revenue.
How to implement this tip? At the end of each month, extract the sales data from your support team.
If you use Gorgias, you can view revenue statistics and other statistics (like first response time and first resolution time).
If you’re on another helpdesk, extract your ticket data from your helpdesk via CSV, then extract your order data from your ecommerce platform. You can attribute an order to a support conversation if it happened within five days of the customer support interaction.
Then, compute the total sales amount per sales support staff during the month, and offer gift cards to the best performers.
📚 Get more context and in-depth tips in our article on customer support incentives.
Replacing lost packages may seem like a steep expense — and upfront, it can be. But the revenue retained from repeat purchases and loyal customers is well worth the cost.
Who does this? Jaxxon
Why implement this tip? The merchants we surveyed estimate that 0.25% of their packages get lost.
If you charge the customer to send a replacement, likely, the customer won’t come back. If you replace the product for free, they just might.
Assuming a 30% gross margin, you’re essentially spending the cost of goods sold (COGS) amount for this customer to come back. Assuming there’s a 40% chance the customer will come back, you’re paying the COGS amount of the product for a future profit of 70%. This is roughly net neutral for your business and creates a positive customer experience.
How to implement this tip? Each time a customer reaches out to you for a lost package, make them fill out a quick form with their name, the item(s), and the amount spent. Nothing else. Then, set up a flow that re-sends the package to the customer. Don’t worry too much about fraud: because people have to identify themselves, fraudsters will abandon at this stage.
If you are still worried about fraud risk, you can leverage an insurance product like Route.
📚 Get more context and in-depth tips in our article on dealing with lost packages in ecommerce.
Customer loyalty is gold: it generates repeat purchases, organic brand exposure via social media and word of mouth, and customer referrals. Wherever possible, go out of your way to make your brand even more attractive for VIP customers by celebrating key moments.
Who does this? A leading brand in soap industry sends top customers free products for their first order anniversary and many customers post on social media to thank them back (which naturally generates more loyalty and leads).
How to implement this tip? Identify the key moments that you would like to celebrate with your customers:
Set up automatic flows to send them discounts, post cards, or gifts at these moments to make them feel special.
One way to do this in Zapier is to create a workflow that triggers when a customer creates their first order. Then, put your workflow on hold for 11 months, and if the customer has spent more than $200 once those 11 months are up, create a support ticket for your support team to send them a gift for their first purchase anniversary.
Your customers will almost always share positive experiences on social media, generating even more positive brand exposure.
📚 Get more context and in-depth tips in our article on customer delight in ecommerce.
The bulk of the support tickets you receive are likely very repetitive. “Where is my order?” is a common offender. Save your customers’ and agents’ time by creating a self-service FAQ page with answers to those repetitive questions.
Who does this? Brümate used Gorgias to set up an FAQ page (pictured below).
How to implement this tip? Identify the most common questions asked by your customers. Classify them in categories like “Product,” “Shipping,” and “Payment”. Write an answer to those common questions and host it on your website in a visible location.
You can also use Gorgias to easily set up an FAQ on your website. Refer to our help doc on FAQs and help centers for more details.
📚 Get more context and in-depth tips in our article on FAQ pages and help centers.
Some churns are decisive cancellations, but others are fade-outs. Customers forget to update their credit cards or addresses, and won’t think to correct the outdated information to remain subscribed — unless you intervene.
Who does this? BattlBox
Why 0.5% lift? On average, you’ll retain 20% of customers who would have left via passive churn. If you assume a 2% involuntary churn, you can retain 0.4% of your revenue.
How to implement this tip? When a customer’s card fails on the renewal date, start a predetermined process: run additional attempts on the card, send automated emails from multiple team members, and even text message the customer to prevent passive churn. Export a list of the still-failed renewals and begin the outreach process with multiple personal emails if necessary.
If you don’t have a subscription service, set up post-purchase flows to drive repeat customers by following the recommendations in step 12.
📚 Get more context and in-depth tips in our article on customer churn.
Once you implement the above quick fixes, take a step back and tweak your ongoing customer service processes. These are improvements you can implement in the medium term. But, since they’re structural changes, they’ll have some of the most compounding benefits.
Live chat is an incredible tool to increase conversion rate because you can proactively approach customers when they’re exhibiting pre-sale behavior. Offering product recommendations or a discount code at the right moment could be the difference between a sale and an abandoned cart.
Who does this? Franklin Pet Food
Why a 13% lift? 70% of customers who add products to their cart won’t end up making a purchase, according to Baymard Institute research. If you recover 4 of those 70 through live chat, 34 customers out of 100 make a purchase (instead of 30). You've lifted your gross merchandise volume (GMV) by 13%. Some leading companies achieve 25%-30% conversion rates from live chat.
How to implement this tip? Sign up for a live chat platform and set up chat campaigns on your top best-selling product pages. This will initiate conversations with customers which you can then leverage to increase your cart conversion rate. You can use the following copy:
“ 👋 It looks like you’re interested in [product name], can I help?”
Here’s a detailed article on how to set up a live chat with Gorgias.
📚 Get more context and in-depth tips in our article on proactive customer service.
By default, Shopify asks you to create collections manually. While common sense will get you far when setting up collections, you may achieve a higher average order value (AOV) if you group collections based on past user behavior (like purchases). This way, you adopt a data-based approach to showing off the product collections people are most likely to be interested in.
Why a 10% lift? The 10% number is based on before-and-after feedback from merchants we've interviewed.
📚 Get more context and in-depth tips in our article on product categorization.
More and more brands are creating communities — either on social media, forums, or another community app — for their shoppers. These communities improve CX by giving people a place to ask questions and discuss your product. They also help you by creating opportunities to convert website visitors and collect customer feedback to improve your product and CX.
Why 6% lift? We estimate you need to have 20 times more members in your community than your number of orders. If you convert 0.3% of them, it will generate a 6% revenue uplift.
How to implement this tip? Create an online community on social media (such as a Facebook group) or a forum on your website. Invite your customers as they place orders. You can also run giveaways for customers who invite a friend. Post valuable content there regularly, such as special events, new videos, new products, and promotions.
Designate one owner to manage your community (by creating content and keeping the community engaged). The manager can also partner with influencers and community power members to attract new people to your community. For an example of how to keep your community engaging and fresh, see how 310 Nutrition rotates its community page header weekly.
Your community shouldn’t be a salesroom floor. Fun storytelling videos are a great way to generate engagement. For example, Kitsch gets videos viewed 10k+ times the first day they release the video on TikTok.
📚 Get more context and in-depth tips in our article on community management in ecommerce.
Social proof is one of the most powerful influences on a prospective buyer. Reviews from other shoppers will likely resonate much more than the best sales copy in the world. Collect and share those reviews where they matter most: when a customer’s browsing your products.
Why a 1.5% lift? 10 reviews on a given product can uplift conversion by 53%, but 100 can more than double the conversion. If you reach 100 product reviews for at least your best-selling products (likely 50% of your revenue), you’ll double your conversion for these products. For instance, you’ll shift from an average 2% on-site conversion to 4% conversion. As your best-selling product likely accounts for 50% of your revenue, you’ll lift revenue by 1%.
How to implement this tip? Set up a product review tool, either on its own or integrated with your customer service platform. Regularly ask your customers to leave you a product review after their purchase. Create a rewards program for customers who let you a lot of reviews: discount codes or invitations to private sales are compelling motivation.
📚 Get more context and in-depth tips in our article on ecommerce product reviews.
When customer service agents engage shoppers, you can’t be too pushy with a product the shopper didn’t ask for. Especially if they have an issue that needs solving. The agent’s signature is a subtle (but effective) way to bump a relevant product to still-interested shoppers.
Why 1% lift? If 20% of your customers reach out to support and 5% of those customers convert due to personalized recommendations, you’ll see an uplift of 1% in revenue.
How to implement this tip? Include an upsell link in the signature of customer support agents. The product link can come from a product the customer has checked previously or that was in the abandonment cart.
When a customer makes a purchase, imagine you’re at the starting line and not the finish line — even if they don’t buy again. Engage with first-time and non-repeat customers to understand their reasons for not purchasing another product and re-engage them in a creative, motivating way.
Why 1% lift? You can improve your repeat by 3% with an improved delivery flow. Given that 40% of orders from an ecommerce brand are from repeat customers, you can lift your revenue by 1%.
How to implement this tip? When a customer doesn't buy again, health and beauty brand Obvi sends a Typeform asking why. If the reason is pricing, Obvi sends a discount code for the next purchase.
Dr. Squatch sends their customers postal cards with QR codes that contain promo codes set up for 1-click payment. You can also consider doing this via SMS for your VIP customers.
If you have a subscription model, BattlBox may inspire you. Their first-time customers get the new-joiner box and start getting the regular sequence of boxes in their second month. BattlBox decided to reach out to their first-time customers and ask if they wanted to buy the box they would have gotten the month they originally subscribed. It worked: BattlBox achieved a 35% upsell rate among first-time customers, which generated a 2% revenue uplift.
Net promoter score (NPS) is a bread-and-butter metric for a reason. If customers would recommend you to a friend, they are likely (but not guaranteed) to stay loyal to your brand. They’re also, of course, likely to send additional business your way.
How to implement this tip? We recommend you set up a process to monitor your NPS score. Specifically:
For example, you can include gift cards or send an automatic email from the founder if the order is canceled. You should communicate proactively with your customers when you’re informed about exceptional delays from carriers or when a product is out of stock. Activate your phone support channel and use it as a final line of defense to keep your best customers if they have a negative experience.
📚 Get more context and in-depth tips in our article on calculating and improving NPS.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: customer feedback is gold. Go out of your way to request (then tag, organize, and share) insights you get from your customers, whether they’re positive or negative
Who does this? Figs, Woxer, and Waterfield Designs
How to implement this tip? Let's discuss how you can leverage the 3 most popular sources of customer feedback:
For support tickets: Ask your support team to tag tickets based on the intent of the customer. Refer to our list of intents to get started. Then, at the end of each month, export your support tickets with the tag data, along with the list of orders from your ecommerce platform. Then match the two. You can assume that one ticket correlates to one product ,since 80% of orders only contain one product. Then, build a pivot table with the most common types of feedback per product. Finally, make sure to send this report company-wide via Slack or email to everyone for whom these insights of the voice of the customer might be valuable.
For NPS responses: If you don't respond to NPS surveys, you can classify them in batches at the end of the month. Then, follow the same logic as you did for the tickets. That said, we recommend that your support team classifies and responds to NPS comments by creating tickets for every NPS response.
For product reviews: If you don't respond to product reviews systematically, simply export all of them at the end of the month and follow the same classification process as above.
For instance, Waterfield Designs’ customers are filling out a survey on bags they would like to see in the incoming collections. Support agents tag tickets with feedback on products and report to the design team when patterns emerge in the feedback.
Another interesting story is from Woxer. In March 2022, many customers ended up buying the wrong size of garment. They caught (and solved) the issue quickly because they were monitoring support channels for feedback patterns.
To place customer feedback at the heart of your culture, create processes to promote agents who get the best customer feedback.
📚 Get more context and in-depth tips in our article on collecting and implementing customer feedback.
The following tactics are long-term investments. While they aren’t switches you can flip overnight, they are important steps for developing a mature, revenue-generating customer experience.
Customer satisfaction (CSAT) score is one of the most direct metrics to measure your customer experience. We consistently see investments into improve CSAT return multifold in revenue.
Who does this? Public Goods
Why a 4% lift? The repeat purchase rate after a positive customer support interaction is significantly high.
If your CSAT is 5/5 (compared to the average industry CSAT at 4/5), your repeat purchase rate from the 20% of customers who reached out to support will likely be 43% higher for the next 180 days. This means you could lift your overall purchase repeat by 2% for the next 180 days.
Given that 40% of orders from an ecommerce brand are from repeat customers, this means that improving your CSAT could lift your revenue by 1% over the next 180 days. And if you consider the average retention of 2 years for customers and you keep your CSAT at 5/5, you can lift your revenue by 4% over the next 2 years.
How to implement this tip? Each month, quality test your negative CSAT responses and look for common themes. Pick the top three themes (e.g. speed of response) and sprint to fix those issues. According to our analysis, it takes about 6 months of effort to get 5/5 territory.
📚 Get more context and in-depth tips in our article on improving CSAT.
Response rate isn’t everything — customers would rather receive a helpful response than a quicker (but useless) one. That said, our data suggests improving your average resolution time lifts revenue because it provides a stronger CX.
Who does this? Jaxxon
Why a 2% lift? The typical conversion from email tickets is 1%. If you resolve your customers’ concerns within 6 hours, you will double your conversion from support, thus you will double your revenue from support i.e. you can lift from an industry average of 3% of revenue from support to 6%. As email tickets represent 80-100% of revenue from support, you should lift your revenue by 2 to 3%.
The best-in-class brands generate 10%+ of their revenue from support.
How to implement this tip? Export your response and resolution times for the week from your helpdesk. Then, consider outsourcing extra support staff during the hours of the week when you’re slower to respond. An outsourced ticket costs between $2 and $3 per hour. We recommend connecting with these outsourcing agencies to double your conversion from support.
Returns are a necessary part of ecommerce, and they’re the first thought for customers who aren’t 100% satisfied. However, if you can intervene when customers go to return an item and instead redirect them to exchange the item, you’ll protect your revenue.
Who does this? Jaxxon launched a live chat on their return portal powered by Loop and reduced their return rate by 4%.
Why a 0.02% lift? We came up with 4% as a benchmark for reduced return rate from Jaxxon’s results. As returns typically represent 5% of orders, you could expect to protect 0.02% of your revenue.
How to implement this tip? Sign up for a live chat platform and set up chat on your returns page. You can pre-load the chatbot with frequently asked questions and, once agents have finished their ticket queue, put them on live chat duty.
📚 Get more context and in-depth tips in our article on reducing returns.
At scale, the cost of a customer conversation should be about $4, compared to $5.6 if you manage everything in-house. You can get solid economies of scale by outsourcing the repetitive part of your support to a BPO (business process outsourcing) agency.
Who does this? Steve Madden uses Simplr to complement their support team. The cost of a ticket handled by such a BPO is about $3.
Why a 1% lift? By working with a BPO partner (if you need some additional resources for your support), you could expect to save 1-2% of your operations costs depending on your size and the plan you need.
How to implement this tip? We work with BPO agencies that can help you outsource your support or a part of your support. If you realize that you either need additional resources (and can’t further optimize your in-house operational costs), consider working with one of those partner outsourcing agencies. Build a business case on what would it take you to hire additional agents compared to the cost of these agencies to make a decision.
I hope these tactics help you grow your store. If you try some of these tips, please share your results in our Gorgias community. If you have suggestions on other tactics, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I'll share them with the community.
Also, bookmark this page or follow us on LinkedIn to catch the rest of the posts in this series. We’ll deep dive into each of the tactics, giving you more examples and actionable advice to drive revenue through CX.