Ecommerce and Customer Service - How Adopting a Customer-Centric Strategy Can Grow Sales
Why do we shop where we do? Is it all about lowest price, what pops up first in a search result or finding the closest brick and mortar store? It is probably not too surprising that the answer is ‘no’. Customer experience plays a huge role in the buying process. If we have a great experience with a company, we will return and will be happy to recommend the business to friends and family. While most companies acknowledge customer service is important, many do not back that up with action. Do you take a customer-centric approach to your business? And if so, how can you increase retention and provide an exceptional buying experience?
Many businesses focus on acquisition more than customer retention, even though it can cost 7 times more to acquire new customers. One study reports that 63% of marketers noted new customer acquisition as the most important goal for their advertising plan.(1) In actuality, the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%, while the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%. Gaining new customers is important for your overall growth plan, but establishing a loyal customer base can increase sales now and drive referral traffic. The key is to organically create a loyal customer base.
Have A User Friendly Site
Make sure your site is user friendly, easy to navigate, and minimize the amount of clicks you require customers to perform from start to finish. Shopping cart abandonment is a huge issue facing online merchants, and one of the top reasons for shopping cart abandonment is website navigation being too complicated.
Provide a personalized shopping experience. Offer recommendations based upon the customer’s search query. Show customers your inventory in a relatable, easy to find way.
Display security logos to reassure wary customers and establish a trustworthy presence.
Prominently display your phone number to give customers confidence in their purchase and field any questions they have.
Don’t require customers to register or provide unnecessarily in-depth information in order to complete their purchase. Customers will abandon their shopping cart when weighing the idea of making a purchase versus getting bombarded with spammy emails in their inbox every day. Studies have shown a sharp increase in purchases when forced customer registration was removed from the checkout page. If you are looking to capture valuable customer information in order to stay connected to your customer base, provide a section where they can opt-in to receive specials or your newsletter.
Offer a great mobile-friendly experience. Mobile ecommerce sales are projected to reach $50B by the end of 2014, and mobile internet usage is predicted to take over desktop internet usage in the near future. Mobile devices continue to take a larger piece of the ecommerce-traffic pie, with mobile phone purchasing behavior increasing more than 20% in the last four years, and tablets doubling their share of ecommerce site visits since 2012.(2) If you are not providing customers with a mobile friendly shopping experience, you are missing out on sales.
Accessible, Friendly Customer Service Staff
Another leading factor in customer retention drop off is trapping customers in a bottomless pit of automated phone prompts and endless wait-times when they have a question. Phone numbers and email addresses should be prominently displayed throughout the buying process, especially after checkout. A friendly customer service representative can effectively combat the risk of order cancellations and costly returns. It is also a way to humanize your business to your customers, and be seen as more than just a faceless selling entity. There are live people behind your ecommerce website that provide a personal tone to customers, and the level of this customer service speaks volumes about your company. Establish yourself as approachable, friendly and helpful.
Fast Delivery is a MUST
Fast and accurate delivery is one of the most important aspects after a sale. If you can nail this aspect of the buying process, you can significantly increase your value to the customer and solidify your reputation.
We can all thank Amazon for growing the expectation of super-fast and free shipping. To remain competitive, your company should ship within 1 day of an order being placed. A reputable order fulfillment company can help you achieve this in order to gain that competitive edge.
Keep customers in the loop of the delivery process. Send tracking numbers and confirmation emails regarding the status of the order.
Follow Up. Stay Connected. Boost Engagement
Sending an automated email warmly thanking customers for their business and offering future discounts or promos is a great way to connect after the sale has been completed. If you do not offer any promotions or discounts, send that thank you email with a message that reiterates your company’s core values and mission statement. Leave them with a great impression of your company, and establish yourself as more than just a seller of goods… you are a different than your competitors so make sure you express your value proposition and keep them coming back for more.
Engage with customers on the social media. Encourage customers to like your page on Facebook and connect with you on Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Engage them not only with specials and promotions, but with rich content and information about what’s new with your company. Stay engaged and stay top-of-mind.
Fusion Fulfillment’s core value is providing the highest level of customer service to our clients. We can also improve your value to your customers. Contact us today to discuss how we can help.
(1) Kissmetrics 2014 (2) Custora 2014