The online shopping experience is a crucial aspect of any business’s success. It’s not enough to have an online store with attractive products – customers need to feel secure, have a hassle-free experience, and find what they’re looking for promptly. Fortunately, there are several tips businesses can use to improve their online shopping experiences. From utilizing customer feedback to providing various delivery options, following these nine tips can help businesses create an optimal online shopping experience that will keep customers coming back.
9 Tips to Improve Online Shopping Experiences
Utilize Customer Feedback
While it might seem obvious, businesses should seek out customer feedback actively. This can be in the form of reviews, surveys, or even customer questions via social media or an online contact form. Customer feedback can provide insight into what customers like and dislike about a business, which can help inform future decisions about products, services, and more. Customer feedback can also help businesses see if any aspects of their current online shopping experience customers feel are sub-par.
Have a Clear Return Policy
While not every business may need a return policy, those selling products they don’t return or replace (e.g., books or CDs) might want to consider having a return policy. It’s best to have this information directly on the website, so customers can easily see it without contacting customer service or emailing the company. In addition, a return policy can create a sense of security for customers and allow them to make purchases confidently.
Offer a Variety of Payment Options
Customers will likely have a preferred payment method, such as credit or debit cards, PayPal, or Apple Pay. If businesses make these payment options available, they can appeal to customers who prefer a unique payment method, such as those who would rather not use a credit card online. However, it’s also important to note that customers may have specific security concerns, such as not having access to a credit card. Therefore, offer other payment options, such as gift cards, payment through an online wallet, cash, or check.
Create a Responsive Website
While this may seem an obvious tip, it’s important to note that mobile and desktop shopping experiences can be very similar but are not the same. Specifically, mobile websites are often different than their desktop counterparts because of the convenience of a smaller screen. Therefore, a business’s website should be responsive to ensure customers have the same excellent shopping experience regardless of their device. This means the website will be optimized and designed to respond to the device it’s being viewed on. For example, a responsive website will resize to the size of a mobile screen but remain large enough to view and click on items easily.
To make it easy for customers to navigate the website, businesses should have a clear navigation menu accessible from each page. Customers should be able to easily find the information they’re looking for and quickly jump between pages, such as the product list, cart, and checkout. This might mean incorporating a drop-down menu, tabs at the website’s top, or another design element.
Include Detailed Product Descriptions
When customers shop online, they often have a lot of products to sort through, which can make it difficult for them to decide which items are best for them. Therefore, businesses should include detailed product descriptions to make it easier for them to make a decision. These descriptions should include a product’s features, how it works, and why a customer would want it. Businesses should also include pictures of their products to help customers visualize what they’re buying. Some businesses even take this further by broadcasting product-specific video streams. This gives customers a live shopping experience from the comfort of their homes.
Provide a Variety of Delivery and Shipping Options
Customers want to know that their purchases will arrive quickly and easily, so businesses should offer various delivery options. While it’s important to offer convenient options for the business (e.g., a standard shipping method), it’s also important to provide convenient options for customers. It’s also wise for businesses to consider delivery costs, such as shipping rates, as this can affect customer satisfaction.
Utilize User-generated Content
More than ever, social media platforms are an increasingly popular way for customers to interact with each other and businesses. Whether liking or sharing a company’s posts, commenting on them, or creating their content, customers use social media to interact with businesses in new and creative ways. If a business has a social media presence, it’s a good idea to encourage customers to interact with the brand. In addition to posting new content, it’s a good idea for businesses to repost customer-generated content related to the business. This can help boost engagement and make customers feel more connected to the brand.
Incorporate Real-time Customer Support
Customers often have questions about products before or after purchasing them online. While product descriptions and user reviews are helpful, sometimes, these customers still need answers to particular questions. To provide customers with real-time support, businesses can consider adding a live chat feature on their websites. This feature is often found on e-commerce websites, letting customers quickly connect with a customer support agent via a pop-up window when they have questions. Live chat features can be helpful in many situations, such as when customers are trying to decide which items to buy or after they’ve made their purchases but have questions about them. With a live chat feature, customers can quickly get answers to their questions and feel more confident with their purchases.
A successful e-commerce business is more than an attractive website and product offering. It’s also about providing an excellent and personalized online shopping experience. To create such an experience, businesses can utilize some or all of the nine tips mentioned above. Ultimately, a growing number of shoppers prefer online shopping over in-store shopping, so it is important for businesses to do what they can to keep up.