If you’re an online shop, Customer Experience should be your #1 priority – even more so than it might be for a brick & mortar store. Online shopping isn’t just a ‘phase’; it is an activity that is becoming more and more common every day. It’s easy to notice with the amount of empty retail space you see around shopping centres these days. As your customers are shifting their dollars online, it’s imperative you adjust your business to make the process even easier for them. Map out the customer’s journey from “searching” to “sold” on your website, thinking about how you can provide value to every step of that process. Here are some steps that may exist in a customer journey and how value can be added to each one.
The Step: Purchasing a product online.
Value Added Review your current online process for placing orders and work out if there’s ways you can improve.
- Are you displaying related products?
- What about enabling customer reviews?
- Could you reduce the number of clicks needed to get to the shopping cart?
- How easy is it to buy once they’re using your cart?
- Or my personal pet peeve, do you make them register before they can even add anything to their cart? (If any website does this to me, I abandon it immediately in sheer frustration. If you currently do this, I’d suggest you change it, seriously.)
- Consider adding additional product photos to make your items more enticing.
- Are your product photos up to scratch or would it pay to get a professional?
- If you aren’t able to make improvements to how your shopping cart works, add extra product details and clear Calls to Action along each step so customers know what to expect as they’re going through the purchasing process.
- What about adding a video demo to your product pages to help convert sales?
The Step: Following up After an Order
Value Added Turn your ‘thank you for ordering with us’ page into something more exciting! James Tuckerman from Anthill told me last year about a colleague of his adding a call to action to his checkout process asking the buyer to ‘Like’ them on Facebook and in return, they’d waive the $2 Admin fee. Their fans hit the roof, but the funny thing was, there never was a $2 Admin fee.
- Ask them to join you on Facebook or Twitter and provide a simple ‘Like’ button to make it easy. Also get them to opt-in to your newsletter.
- Give them an instant $10 gift voucher for their next purchase.
- Ask for feedback. Add a simple form asking how they found the buying process.
- Did your customer receive an email once they submitted their order? If so, was it just their invoice? How boring! Spice up your ‘Confirmation of Purchase’ email with some tips and tricks related to your industry that can benefit your customer.
- Create a ‘refer a friend’ campaign and promote it on your Success Page.
- If you’re offering a free electronic gift with every purchase, display the gift on the Success Page and make it easy and quick for them to access.
The Step: Delivering the order… But does the customer know?
Value Added Keeping your customer informed about exactly where their product is will keep them happy.
- If you’ve shipped the product, send an automated email to your customer telling them that their item has been shipped. Don’t have a boring, generic email either; make sure you can get clicks on some links you place in the email.
- Add click-worthy info to the order update email such as, ‘Check out the Latest Collection’, ‘Did you collect your FREE Gift?’ or you could even include some ideas for purchases based on their previous purchase – ‘Hey we thought you might like to check out these items as well!’.
The Step: The customer receives their item… in a plastic Australia Post bag.
Value Added Did you know the packaging is a big factor that impacts on a customers perception of a brand and the feeling a brand gives that customer? Well now you do! A generic bubble wrapped postage bag isn’t going to inspire much excitement for your customers. Imagine ordering from an online store and your package arriving just 1-2 days later wrapped up in a beautiful (free) reusable gift bag you didn’t expect, with the contents of your order wrapped inside that in tissue paper, with a hand-written personalised note welcoming you to the store, and also a loyalty club card with your name on it? It makes an impact I tell you. That’s what the Aussie online clothing store, Birdsnest, does and it’s the best Australian example of packaging and online Customer Experience I know of. A free gift, great packaging and a hand-written note can go a very long way in retaining online shoppers. Take a leaf from the Birdsnest girls’ book and you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of your competition. (For you ladies out there, go and buy something from their site right now just for pure research purposes only – you’ll be glad you did! Gorgeous stuff!)
The Step: Following up long term
Value Added Implement into your customer journey so that you are front of mind in your customer’s mind every couple of weeks or every month at least.
- If you have them on your subscription list, they’ll be receiving your newsletters, but why not send out some personalised emails as well?
- You could send out personalised shopping lists based on a customer’s previous purchases.
- You could also send them a special and unexpected gift just for them to help encourage repeat business and referrals.
- Don’t forget to send feedback questionnaires and ask their opinion of the overall shopping process: how fast was the shipping, were they completely satisfied with their purchase, would they refer you to others, or any other information you wish to research to improve the way you do business.
So, What Now?
After reading all the above, are you wondering about your processes? You should be! The customer journey is essential to how customers perceive your brand. Start by drawing up a mind-map style diagram of what your customers experience at every step when dealing with your business, then work out what value you can add to each step. Adding value to your customers’ online shopping journey will result in higher sales, profits and repeated purchases; you want this. So, get to work!