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4 E-commerce Tips to Take Your Virtual Store to the Next Level

E-commerce professionals tend to be data driven, basing marketing decisions on the metrics that tell them what’s working—and what isn’t—on their websites. Most know, for example, that the average shopping cart abandonment rate typically hovers at about 75% (according to Optinmonster). And common solutions to the cart abandonment problem include post-site-visit targeting and email marketing, but it’s vital to catch these customers in the moment. There’s a lot more data out there about how people really feel about most e-commerce websites, and why they end up abandoning your website altogether. Before you miss out on any more revenue loss, take these e-commerce tips about virtual shopping solutions to help you widen your net to capture more sales.

Most E-commerce Customers are Unhappy with their Virtual Shopping Experiences

Even the most seasoned of e-commerce veterans were caught a bit flatfooted at the release of RetailDive’s recent report: “Few consumers are happy with their online shopping experience.” Consider, for example, these eyebrow-raising metrics from that survey:

  • Just 1 of every 7 online shoppers is “happy” with their experience on e-commerce websites.
  • Almost half of e-commerce customers find pop-up ads on e-commerce sites frustrating.
  • About half of online shoppers point to sites crashing at checkout as their number one problem.
  • More than 40% of e-commerce customers reported that they had trouble finding the products they wanted while shopping.
  • A whopping 70% of online shoppers said they were not “content” with their overall digital shopping experience

How to Make Customers Happy With Your Website’s Shopping Experience

Every e-commerce business is different, of course, with different target audiences, different business goals, and different marketing challenges. That said, far too many suffer from a common set of weaknesses.

Needless to say, you can’t fix your e-commerce site if you don’t know what’s not working. With an eye towards fixing the problems that are hurting your online sales, here are 4 of the more common e-commerce marketing boondoggles that a tool like INSIDE can solve:

1. Dig Deep to Make Sure Your Customers Are Who They Say They Are

Spoiler alert: some e-commerce shoppers, perhaps concerned about security issues, provide false information about their identity. This can lead to a host of problems, not the least of which is potential fraud, as well as maintaining communications with those customers after a sale is made. Simply stated, e-commerce merchants need to verify the online identity and contact information for every customer and prospective customer.

That usually means leveraging effective identity verification software, such as LexisNexis that ensures a customer is who they say they are. For a more efficient approach, you could have an identity verification tool built into your customer service software that prompts a rep when a transaction looks fishy to engage with the buyer via video. This allows you to verify if it’s true fraud or not, and recover any losses associated with false positives. False positives cost companies upwards of $118 billion a year in lost sales, while only $9 billion equates to true fraud. How much money are you willing to lose?

2. Research What Your Competition is Doing – Especially Those Who May Sell Your Products

Odds are, your website isn’t the only e-commerce site offering the products you sell online. Unfortunately, far too many e-commerce marketers have little to no understanding of the businesses that constitute their principal competition.

A list of e-commerce tips wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t include conducting a thorough competitor analysis. This kind of careful study can reveal what they do better than you (such as a more engaging customer experience or bringing the in-store experience to the online shopper). Armed with this knowledge, you can make the requisite fixes on and additions to your site to increase your market share.

3. Improve Your Customer Retention

The experience that customers have with your online store will determine whether they return to make subsequent purchases. If their experience with your online brand is less than satisfying, the odds that they’ll return are likely to decrease. In fact, more than 15% of consumers say they’re not happy with their e-commerce experience. And to layer on to that staggering stat, Google is currently launching a new ranking algorithm designed to assess and reward (or ding) web pages based on user experience, making it more important than ever to get this right. And, that eats into your bottom line.

You can improve your retention rate if you first benchmark that metric against the average for your industry. If you discover that you’re losing more first-time buyers than others in your market space, you’ll need to identify the problems that visitors to your site are having. Remember: on average, your odds of selling products to a returning customer are greater than 70%, while less than 20% of new customers make a purchase.

To increase retention rates, make sure the customer service you offer is second to none, providing robust assistance at every stage of the buyer’s journey. This necessarily includes proactive outreach while customers are online, initiating seamless conversations in real-time across multiple platforms.

This typically includes providing easy-to-find contact information, immediate customer service response, smart email follow-ups, video capability and a seamless buying process to help them solve every problem they encounter on your site. Forbes reported that 84% of companies that take a purposeful approach to improving their, customer experience report an increase in their revenue.

4. Empower Your Customer Service Reps to Connect with Customers

It’s not unusual for your in-store customer service reps to experience relatively low traffic, especially during a pandemic. But your sales don’t have to suffer. By empowering your reps to reach out to current website visitors, engaging them with live chat and live video shopping service, you both increase their productivity and add to your bottom line.

Still, no matter how careful you are with the design of your e-commerce website, a subset of your customers (as noted above) is going to encounter problems with their online transactions. Unfortunately, most e-commerce businesses fail to provide customers and prospective customers with customer support services in real-time—which is to say, the moment they encounter those problems.

The good news is that one of the most forward-leaning e-commerce tips is to leverage powerful customer engagement apps that let customer service reps communicate directly with frustrated customers during their shopping experience. Using these powerful communications tools, for example, your reps can see customers while they’re shopping online, reach out to them with help when they encounter problems, and initiate video chat sessions to direct them to where they need to go. Imagine bringing the brick-and-mortar customer service experience online.

The best of these apps are omnichannel, providing robust support across multiple devices, and offering service through video chat, chatbots, proactive chat, SMS and more. Not surprisingly, this kind of active help solves a wide range of customer problems, boosting your conversions and sales. It also keeps you out of being roped into the negative aforementioned statistics.

Putting E-commerce Tips into Action Can Be Complex

Using these e-commerce tips to improve customer satisfaction and engagement issues in your virtual store can help you achieve your principal marketing objectives, increase sales, and boost profits. Unfortunately, it can also be both complicated and confusing. That’s where we can help

To learn more about the ways our INSIDE store app and video solutions can bring the in-store shopping experience to shopping at home—and take your e-commerce business to the next level, contact us today.

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