Customer-centric e-commerce, as the name suggests, is a strategy that starts and finishes with one goal in mind: excellent customer experiences. The shift from concentrating solely on profit and skewing more towards customer centricity has helped numerous businesses in becoming better overall.
The change is not an easy one, though – the entire structure of the company needs to be tweaked in order to accomplish this goal. The idea is not only for the client to have a good interaction with employees at several touchpoints on their customer journey – but to optimize every inch of the organization, so that the customer is in the limelight every step of the way.
Therefore, a customer-centric e-commerce business would need features like:
- A strong relationship with the customer, built through educational content, virtual events, and personalized offers;
- All the product information needed by the customer and an easy-to-use checkout process;
- Alerts reminding the clients about abandoned carts and related product suggestions;
- Easy payment options, full delivery, and last-mile CX;
- A simple returns policy, and of course, excellent customer support.
Does that sound like something worthwhile for your own eCommerce business? Stick around to find out the exact steps you need to take in order to create your own customer-centric strategy.
How to Build a Customer-Centric eCommerce Store
Analyse your customers database
You are probably spending some time looking at customer data. However, this is the main source of truth you should look at. By using, for example, RFM segmentation (recency, frequency and monetary value scoring), you will be capable to detect who your most valuable customers are, and afterwards create:
- Better and cheaper advertising campaigns based on lookalike audiences
- An improved website based on your Ideal Customer Profile
- Meaningful messages and UVPs for your store
- Highly performant retention and loyalty programs
Eventually, you will have better marketing results, happier customers and a better experience for the ones to come!
Never assume – always be on the lookout for feedback
It is said that all truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. Therefore, it’s important to make it a regular task to send your existing customer base feedback forms, ask them to write reviews on social media or Google, and to keep in touch with them in regards to their experience. This is all part of customer relationship management and is an integral part of customer-centricity.
This will offer you an objective overview of how your business is doing, as well as create a closer bond with your clients – making them feel like they matter, like their interaction with them was not just fleeting, but a vital part of your company’s activities.
Mobile browsing should be your top priority
Statistically, over half of your clients will browse eCommerce websites from their mobile devices. Therefore, ignoring mobile needs and focusing only on optimizing your desktop features is one major oversight on your part – that will cost you a lot of money.
Your number one priority should be – regardless of your business – to make sure everything is working smoothly from every possible device. Only after everything is set into place, can you start to think about bigger picture strategies.
An easy way to integrate this into your online experience is to start mobile – choose a mobile layout, make it perfect, then adapt it for desktop. The other way around might force you to compromise on certain features and that’ll be a shame.
Other factors you might consider to make the experience run as best as possible on all devices would be to:
- Let customers log in using their social media accounts. Less hassle trying to remember passwords, less time wasted to entering individual information, a greater chance that the customer will end up purchasing something quick and easy;
- Make payment as easy as possible. Most clients nowadays already have a payment method set on their phones, and already an approximate third of smartphone users have ditched their cards for mobile payments. Therefore, making it convenient for them is a must in order to create satisfying customer experiences. Convenient payment can increase customer lifetime value when it encourages them to buy more;
- Keep in mind the limitations of mobile use and prevent them. Conduct research to better understand where customer frustrations lay, where churn rate occurs, and make sure that your mobile experience does not go through the same obstacles.
Offer your support, always
Sign into any forum right now and notice a very common complaint across all channels – people that can’t find the support they need. Errors do occur in every business, so you don’t want to make a customer angry or increasingly frustrated because they’ve been charged extra, they can’t enter their account or cancel an unwanted order.
Having a 24/7 customer support number they can reach would be ideal, but in order to cut costs and optimize the experience, you could introduce a live chat support system. It’s great for clarifying misunderstandings, answering FAQs, and resolving issues.
FAQ pages, customer forums, and Facebook pages are also great to minimize costs, whilst making sure every and all questions are answered in a timely manner, encouraging a more wholesome shopping experience. Having your loyal customers’ back is a key pillar of a customer-centric approach.
Return policy – make it simple & easy to understand
A complicated return policy might deter customers from buying. That’s especially true if they’ve heard bad experiences from their peers in regards to your return process.
Make sure the policy is written in simple terms and is easy to understand from all perspectives. Try to use bullet points and straightforward actions. Especially nowadays, make as much as the process as possible online, including forms, sending receipts, and photos.
Returns will inevitably happen every once in a while, but a comfortable experience might turn a dissatisfied customer into a returning one, so make sure you take care of this aspect as soon as possible.
Warranties – a place worth investing in
It’s all fun and games until someone actually needs to return or exchange a product. It’s important to remember that even if the inconvenience wasn’t your company’s fault (maybe you’re just the middle man between the product creator and the customer), you need to take into consideration the client’s emotions.
They might be frustrated, annoyed, or even angry. A customer-centric approach understands that humans are not always perfect and sometimes blame is thrown at the wrong person. Having compassion and empathy towards them will not only solve the problem more effectively but also almost guarantee you keep those customer relationships in the long run. Plus, additional recommendations after the fact are just the cherry on top.
Remember that being a considerate e-commerce business might be of help for you in the future, but offering the wrong experience is almost immediately bad news for you – social media & online reviews are easily available and often ruthless.
Don’t write the content yourself
… Unless you are a professional content writer. But even then, working with an outsourced company for your eCommerce websites can offer you new, objective insights when it comes to digital marketing for your business.
Some people consider that an online store doesn’t need pieces of art when it comes to their descriptions, page categories, or the homepage. This is true to a certain extent – you don’t particularly need to be a Shakespearian expert to write good content.
However, content writing is more than just fancy words. The strategies, phrases, and expressions used have been researched, tested, and passed the test of time. In this way, you know that the texts on your site are not merely describing the products or services – but actually increasing customer values and incentivizing them to buy from you and not your competition.
Moreover, content marketing makes sure you differentiate yourself from other similar businesses – it’s no wonder that “I’m loving it” or “Das Auto” are so well-known and other similarly simple taglines aren’t.
Product videos are lifesavers
Product videos are one of the most useful features you can have on your website – especially if you sell tools and equipment that are rather hard to understand at first. Instead of having to read a lengthy manual, bothering a customer service employee, and getting frustrated in the process, your customers can just click play and have everything they need at their fingertips.
These are of great use before and after the sale, they are sharable (especially if the technology is unique) and can be used as a great motive to keep in contact with your clients after the sale has already been made.
Make sure to keep these videos in an accessible place on your eCommerce store website and optimize them so they are playable on all devices without a long buffering time.
Finally, stay in touch with new technologies
It’s nothing new – technology is ever-changing, sometimes at such alarming rates that it’s rather difficult to keep up with it. However, if you want to make sure you remain on top of your game, you should make an effort.
New technologies can help you improve customer satisfaction, gather insightful data more efficiently, and improve your overall strategy in the long run. So, even if it’s sometimes boring and time-consuming, make sure you keep up with the latest tools, strategies, and systems for your e-commerce business!
You don’t have to do this on your own – Reveal is here to help!
As we’ve mentioned before, creating a customer-centric e-commerce business is no easy task – but it’s not impossible either. With the right tools and the appropriate knowledge, you too can create the right strategy and implement it in no time.
Reveal is here to help you do just that. This is your one-stop-shop for everything you need to know – from customer insights to market segmentation. Understand your customer, monitor their behavior, and nurture your relationship with them. Customer-centric e-commerce made simple – check it out now!