All posts in "Customer"

7 Strategies to Improve Your eCommerce UX

a few days ago

Starting an online store is a lot more than just standing up a site that sells things. Just like a brick and mortar shop, there are many functional and aesthetic considerations that make purchasing an attractive idea.

When creating your eCommerce storefront, it is important to think about how your ideal customers will be interacting with it. Enter UX (or user experience, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing). As the name suggests, it is all about thinking of the user’s experience of your site.

So, let’s just get into it. These are the top UX tips for improving your eCommerce store.

Make your product easy to find and easy to buy

The number one rule of selling things—make purchasing easy.

From searching for a particular product to perusing a category, removing obstacles from the process is key to driving users to conversion.

Search

For shoppers that know exactly what they want, a robust site search function is a must. While a lot of eCommerce platforms come with this functionality built-in, you want to make sure that it doesn’t get hung up on little syntactical variations and misspellings.

Find a great site search plugin or have a great development company customize a solution. It will be worth the investment. Visitors can then easily find exactly what they want and buy it.

Navigation

The navigation menu is one of the first things that a user looks at to get acquainted with a website. When someone knows generally what they want, they can shop around by category to narrow their search to the specific.

Clear navigation menus can deliver users from the homepage to exactly where they need to be in the least amount of clicks. Fewer clicks mean less frustration and more sales. Include the most important things in the navigation menu for easy locating. Leave the less important links to the footer.

Categorization

The structure and naming of categories are also important. Again, clarity reigns. Too many categories will confuse your audience. Too few will have them digging through page after page of somewhat related products.

Create clear hierarchies that can push shoppers closer to the products they want. Breadcrumbs help keep this hierarchical system easy to navigate too. Just as a brick and mortar store will have clear signs and sections for each type of product, so should your store.

For example—Men > Tops > Button-ups. See? Easy.

Know your audience

If you don’t know who you are selling to, how can you be effective? Taking the time to identify who your ideal customer is can help drive the rest of your UX strategy. Enter personas.

Personas

These are your archetypal customers. By laying out each sort of person you expect to frequent your brand, you can understand how best to target them. Who makes up your audience decides how you construct your site to serve them.

Persona breakdowns include gender, age, economics, device preference, etc. With a clear understanding of these audience factors, your site can serve your customers in the best way possible.

Function above all else

Fancy and fun is nice, but if it isn’t functional, forget it. While great design is important for grabbing attention, superfluous features like parallax scrolling and image carousels only serve as distractions to the shopping experience.

What a shopper wants above all else when they have found a site is that the site is easy to use. The thing they are interested in is the product, and the product is not your site. The site exists to highlight the awesome things you sell.

Form without function is art, not eCommerce.

Product photos matter

What do your customers want to see? Your products. Don’t skimp on making them look great.

The rest of a site can be beautiful but if the product isn’t looking its best, customers won’t be engaged to buy. As was mentioned in the last section, great design is important as long as it serves to highlight the product.

If possible, have multiple photos available so the customer has the opportunity to really visualize it in their home, at the office, or on their person. We are visual creatures and decisions are often made, in part, with our eyes.

Mobile on the rise

As our phones have gotten more and more advanced, an ever-expanding percentage of sales have occurred on them. On buses and trains and runways and at home, people are increasingly using their mobile phones to make purchases.

Google has gone as far as to consider a site’s mobile version as its main site with regard to search indexing and visibility.

So, obviously, your site should be properly optimized to best serve this ever-rising contingent of customer. Make your site mobile-friendly and mobile responsive ASAP or else lose a significant revenue source. This is most important in menu navigation and easy checkout.

Be consistent

A brand has a unitary voice and style. This develops a unique and consistent experience for the customer. Every brand should create a style guide and abide by it.

When visiting a site, shoppers expect a consistent experience from page to page, from homepage to product pages to cart and eventually check-out. Be certain that you are providing an experience that is clean and consistent throughout.

Be yourself

The reason that you enjoy running your shop is that it reflects your own passion and personality. Create a brand and experience that follows through with who you are and who you aim to serve.

Your passion will extend out to the user’s overall experience of your site, engaging them to continue a relationship with your brand. Because, ultimately, you are fostering a relationship.

Obviously, UX is a big deal for your business. No time like the present to start improving your users’ experiences. Make them want to come back!

This is a guest post from Sean Flannigan, over at Coolblueweb.

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5 Reasons Why Your Ecommerce Company Needs Digital Feedback

According to Statista, global B2C ecommerce sales are set to hit well over $3.4 trillion this year; a projection which is driving many ecommerce companies to revamp their digital strategies in an effort to remain competitive.

One of the more popular ways of doing this is by adopting a data-informed decision-making strategy. In other words, leveraging the insights derived from data to improve and build upon a digital strategy. Many organizations achieve this by embracing digital tools and technologies that supply them with the data they need to move forward.

In ecommerce, one of the most critical factors for achieving success is a happy customer. In turn, many organizations in this industry put a heavy focus on the customer. This is where digital feedback comes into play. Digital feedback can help ecommerce organizations obtain both a holistic understanding of how to engage their customers, as well as valuable insights needed to meet their needs. But there’s a whole lot more to it than that…

In this article, we will examine 5 reasons why your ecommerce company needs digital feedback.

1. Online journeys are becoming more and more complex

Today’s customer journeys are – without a doubt – much longer and more complex than ever. In the past, online retailers were focused primarily on a simplified customer journey that brought their customers to a singular purchase point. Sounds fairly straightforward, right? Well, a lot has changed since then. Nowadays, they must monitor multiple touchpoints and purchase points at once. To do this effectively, it is important to have a strategy in place that helps these retailers find ways to maximize the value of each of these stages (or touchpoints) as well as build up meaningful relationships with their customers.

This is where digital feedback comes into play.

There are three stages (or parts of the funnel) in which you can collect and analyze feedback: the beginning of the funnel (e.g. measuring the quality of your product content), the actual purchase within the funnel (e.g. capturing exit insights, such as reasons behind shopping cart abandonment), and lastly the confirmation page at the end of the funnel (e.g. measuring how your customers experienced the ordering process through the level of effort it cost them to achieve their goal – Customer Effort Score).

Focusing on these these funnels will not only help grease the wheels for your feedback programme, but also put you on the path towards a better customer experience.

2. You need to better serve your mobile shoppers

Mobile shopping has exploded in the last few years. And this rise in popularity has since redefined the customer journey for retail customers in big ways. In addition to performing research on their mobile devices, consumers are now also making more purchases on their mobiles devices too.

Take it from Vice President & Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, Thomas Husson,

“Mobile is becoming not only the new digital hub but also the bridge to the physical world. That’s why mobile will affect more than just your digital operations – it will transform your entire business.”

In fact, according to Google, thirty-four percent of online retail purchases are now taking place on mobile devices. And while this figure serves as a clear sign that consumers are becoming more comfortable making purchases on their mobile devices, it also puts a bit of pressure on online retailers and how their mobile experience comes across for consumers. So how can you optimize the mobile experience to keep your customers coming back?

In-app feedback can greatly enhance the user experience for mobile users. Mobile apps are still somewhat new for a lot of companies, which means there’s a lot of room for improvement in terms of usability. Should something go wrong, you’re going to need a way of finding out where and how.

Your customers are often the first to find technical errors and flaws on your mobile app so having a feedback option available will help you capture valuable insights (in real-time) and quickly resolve any issues that sprout up.

3. Your customers are demanding personalized experiences

Ecommerce companies nowadays are dealing with modern, tech-savvy consumers whose expectations are through the roof. One of the most common of these expectations is a personalized customer journey. Whether this is helping visitors navigate the shopping experience in a way that suits them best, or simply knowing their preferences and past experiences with your brand, it is something we must all incorporate into our digital strategies – especially in the ecommerce industry.

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”  – Jeff Bezos

So how can you meet these expectations and put yourself in a strong position to personalize online journeys?

The integration of customer data/profiles and digital feedback can provide your business with rich insights into the customer journey, and thus equip you with the means to provide them with memorable and desirable customer experiences. Combining your feedback with customer data, such as segmentation data & AB test sessions, which are usually stored in cookies and Javascript objects (such as Google Tag Management layers) serve up insights such as loyalty levels (e.g. NPS) across different age distributions or struggles to achieve goals (e.g. CES or GCR) in certain regions of the world.

Not only will this data help you contextualize your feedback and allow you to pinpoint which customers are struggling to reach their online goals and which customers are most likely to churn (less loyal), but it will also guide you in providing your customers with a more relevant and personalized user experience in both the short and long-run.

4. You’re struggling to differentiate from the competition

As a smaller webshop, you do everything possible to steal market share from the “big dogs”. Competing with price is an option, but competing with service and experience is a smarter long-term strategy. By gathering feedback at key moments in the customer journey it becomes clear how your customers experience important online processes. It also shows that you value the opinion of your customers.

Asking your customers for feedback provides useful and actionable insights. It allows you to make structural improvements that make it easier for your customers to order. The easier it is for customers to get something done via your digital touchpoints, the more likely they are to come back. This ensures a higher level of customer loyalty, leading to more sales and better experiences for your customers.

5. The industry is continuously evolving

Customer satisfaction often stems from continuous improvements made to online funnels and web pages, which means your website or app should not be a static medium but rather something that is changing all the time. In other words, analyzing and acting on your feedback is an ongoing process.

Companies are constantly innovating and consumer behavior is constantly shifting. Habits will continue to evolve along with technology and where will we be? We’ll be forced to adapt to the circumstances we are given or lose relevance.

Keeping up with the competition

As you can see, the struggle is real. But every ecommerce company has the same chance of achieving success. The key is recognizing that listening to the voice of the customer is what will put you on that path. Digital feedback provides you with the opportunity to enhance your offerings online, from the customer journey as a whole to each and every individual touchpoint that your customers are wrestling with.

Author Bio: Erin Gilliam, Content Marketer at Mopinion, has a background in international business and digital marketing. Mopinion is an all-in-one user feedback software that helps digital enterprises listen, understand and act across all digital touchpoints (web, mobile and email). It is now one of the fastest growing companies in the digital customer experience space.

 

 

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7 Ways to Prevent Ecommerce Disputes

Ecommerce merchants are more susceptible to customer disputes than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Because of this, it’s important to take the necessary steps to prevent disputes from happening.

What are Disputes and Why Should I Prevent Them?

A dispute, also known as a chargeback, is a transaction reversal that is meant to serve as a form of consumer protection. It starts when a cardholder contacts their issuing bank when they believe there is a fraudulent transaction, unfair service, unreceived merchandise, or many other reasons. If the issuing bank finds the claim to be valid, they issue a dispute.

When a merchant receives a dispute the revenue from the transaction gets returned to the cardholder, you lose the merchandise or service provided and get hit with a dispute fee. Then the merchant has the option to respond to the dispute to try and regain the revenue from the transaction. Even if the merchant wins the dispute and gets the money back, you will still have to pay the fee associated with the dispute.

The goal of this process is to protect the cardholders, but some cardholders take advantage of the process. This leads to the merchant receiving invalid customer disputes and unnecessary revenue loss. To protect your hard-earned revenue, customer relationships, and retain your merchant account, it is important to try and prevent disputes from ever happening.

Here are seven tips on how to do just that:

1. Make Sure Your Product Descriptions are Accurate

For physical products sold online, merchants must convey the product as accurately as possible. Doing so is vital, because the product that is viewed online may not meet the customer’s expectation when it arrives. This can lead to a high number of costly product returns. Or even worst, a high number of ‘product not as described’ customer disputes.

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. The customer only knows what you have told them about your product. They have never touched, tried on, held, or even truly seen the product until after they completed the transaction and the product is shipped to them. This is why accurate product photos and descriptions are important tools for ecommerce merchants to stop excessive returns and disputes.

2. Set Up Excellent Communication Channels

Communication is a key element in any healthy relationship that helps makes it work. The relationship between the merchant and a customer is no different. When a customer has been trying to reach a merchant about a problem with no response, they can easily turn to the dispute process to solve the problem.

To avoid a frustrated customer turning to the dispute process instead of working through the merchant, it needs to be as easy as possible for the customer to find your contact information. Make your customer service phone number or contact information is obvious on the website, in the footer of emails, and even put it in the merchant descriptor that is on the cardholder’s statement. Anything that will make it easier for the customer to contact you instead of their bank.

3. Easy Returns and Clear Return Policies

Ecommerce shopping is easier and more popular than ever before, but it also means more returns for merchants. As we described about earlier, one challenge that ecommerce merchant face is they don’t get their product physically in front of the customer until after the transaction and shipment of the product. Thereby resulting in a higher amount of returns. The logistics and cost of returns have been an ongoing strain for merchants, but making the return policy more restrictive may not be the answer.

A strict or an unclear return policy that prevents the customer from returning product easily and within the time restraints may increase disputes. When conflicts arise around returns, the customer may feel justified and motivated to get their money back in any way they can. Chargeback fraud is when a customer uses the dispute process to regain the transaction dollar amount while retaining the product or services rendered. Frustrated customers may commit chargeback fraud to get their money back from a rejected return.

4.Fraud Deterrents at Checkout

True fraud is when a stolen card is used and the transaction is disputed by the true cardholder. Merchants are liable to prevent these fraudulent purchase from happening. There are a few easy steps merchants can take to prevent true fraud disputes.

Verify Billing Addresses with AVS

Address Verification Services or AVS is a commonly used fraud prevention tool that matches the billing address given at checkout against the address that the card issuer has on file. Its purpose is to ensure that the person making a purchase is indeed the valid cardholder.

Use CVV to Deter Most Fraudsters

Another common method of ecommerce fraud prevention that merchants can use is to require the card security code at checkout. These will deter fraudsters that only have the credit card number.

Both AVS and CVV requirements are widely used by ecommerce merchants to verify card-not-present transactions and should absolutely be included in the checkout process.

5. Helpful Customer Service

71% of consumers end a business relationship due to poorly designed or non-existent customer service policies. Well trained and responsive customer service can help prevent disputes from happening. If a customer reaches out with a problem and the issue is resolved quickly and amicably, the customer will not look for another way to take of the issue. In the opposite situation, a frustrated customer that had a bad experience with customer service or the customer service is not responsive, they will turn to the dispute process to take care of the problem.

6. Clear Merchant Descriptors

Friendly fraud is when a customer accidentally disputes a charge they actually authorized. This can result from family member making purchases, simple forgetfulness, or unclear merchant descriptors. Merchant descriptors are what’s displayed as the merchant’s name on a cardholder’s statement. Unclear or vague descriptors can cause a cardholder to panic and dispute a transaction thinking it was fraudulent when it is really not.

Merchants should make sure to display the name of the company that the customer will recognize instead of a legal name – such as a parent organization or the name recognized by the IRS. Merchants should also provide a way from the customer to contact them. By having an email address, phone number or URL where they can contact customer service will allow customers to directly contact you and ask questions about the transaction before disputing.

7. Logistics and Shipping

Another challenge that ecommerce merchants face is shipping the product effectively and quickly. With expectation set like Amazon Prime’s two-day shipping, customers have a lessened tolerance for long shipping times. If your product takes too long to ship the customer may think that you never shipped the product to them or they never received the product. This can lead them to file a ‘product or services never received’ dispute.

To prevent this type of dispute make sure you are communicating with your customer through the processing and shipment of their purchase. Allow them to track their package or see the status. It is also helpful if you can provide them with a delivery confirmation to let them know that the package successfully delivered.

Prevent Disputes to Protect Your Bottom Line

When it comes to disputes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So taking steps like those described above to prevent disputes is a smart move to protect your bottom line. For the disputes that do slip through, make sure you have a stockpile of the right chargeback response templates to help you create the most compelling rebuttal possible.

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