Happy shoppers enjoying a frictionless experience (whether online, offline, or a combination of both) are more likely to convert and become repeat customers. Shoppers who have a bad experience – whether with returns, customer service, or any other part of the journey – overwhelmingly decline to shop with that retailer again.
The importance of a good shopper experience cannot be overstated. To help ecommerce businesses create the best experience on- and offline for shoppers, here are 9 tips to consider:
9 tips to improve shopper experience for cross-border ecommerce customers:
- Build a community online and offline
- Ensure localized sizing is available
- Frictionless checkout
- Tracking information
- Delivery options
- Clear returns and refunds policy
- Make returning items easy
1. Build a community online and offline
Community is becoming a bigger and bigger part of the shopper experience, both online and offline. Having a community of what are essentially ‘fans’ of a brand, will help to create and develop that trust in that brand.
Building a community is important as 60% of businesses have lost a customer because they feel a company is indifferent to them. Not only that but 86% of shoppers are willing to pay more for better customer experience.
Some ideas of community include a Facebook group or Instagram page that is curated, and the brand is active on, offline meetups or events for shoppers – especially popular if there is an influencer or celebrity as the ‘face’ of the brand who can attend meetups.
2. Ensure localized sizing is available
Different markets use different sizing methods for apparel and footwear and it’s important to localize these, so the shopper is comfortable ordering these items. Doing this will also help to reduce returns, including when shoppers order several the same item in different sizes intending to only keep the one that fits. If local sizing is not immediately possible, a ‘sizing guide’ comparison chart can easily be added in a pop-out window, or as part of the footer/FAQs.
3. Frictionless checkout
A frictionless checkout helps the shopper move through the most important stage of the journey – converting – quickly and easily. Some ways to help create a frictionless checkout include limiting the number of taps needed to fill information, asking only for essential information required for purchase and delivery, auto-verifying postal addresses, formatting address fields properly for the market the shopper is in (ie Post Code for the UK, Zip Code for the US) and optimizing the checkout for mobile.
Other areas to look at can include making sure that the most popular payment methods are accepted in each market and having a guest checkout option where shoppers don’t have to save their details/create an account if they don’t want to.
4. Tracking information
Having clear tracking information – with communications if packages get delayed – will give customers peace of mind, even if their orders get delayed, and will help to reduce calls/emails to customer service.
5. Delivery options
Giving the shopper multiple delivery options – from pick up, drop off (PUDO), buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) to delivering on their preferred day. Some carriers can even provide updates to delivery midway through – so if the delivery comes on a different day, the shopper can change the delivery location to suit themselves and where they might be.
Having clear communications throughout the whole shopping experience is key, as shoppers will be more forgiving of delays to delivery or refunds if they are flagged in advance. Additionally, having clear communications around different parts of the experience, for example, returns or delivery, will reduce calls or emails to customer service. A thorough FAQ page will help, as will making sure the correct information is on the correct page for every step of the shopper journey.
7. Clear returns and refunds policy
A clear returns policy will help shoppers understand the costs and processes associated with returning items, and as 13% of shoppers say they would not shop again with a retailer where they had a bad returns experience, a clear policy is essential, so that expectations are set upfront.
Keeping shoppers in the loop regarding their returns and subsequent refunds is also important. According to a Narvar survey, ‘59% say they want notifications about the status of their refund and 50% want notifications about the status of their return package.’ Clear communications throughout the process will increase customer confidence in the brand, even if delays to refunds do occur. A lack of communication leads to frustration and an increase in calls/emails to customer service.
8. Make returning items easy
An important part of the returns process for shoppers is making sure that they’re able to return the goods in the condition they received them in, in order to obtain their refund in a timely manner. Packaging that’s easy to reopen and reuse will not only be appreciated by the shopper for the ease of using it, but they will also appreciate the fact that it’s reusable.
Additionally, give shoppers the opportunity to return directly to the store where possible, as they often pick up other items in-store when returning. According to a Narvar survey, ‘17% said they would not make a purchase without the option to return to a store’ and ‘40% say it’s easier to return to a store.’
Advocacy goes a step beyond creating a community – it creates special status for selected shoppers who can become VIPs and access promotions or events before the rest of the community. This has proven to be popular across multiple brands and can easily be implemented.
Creating an excellent end-to-end shopper experience – starting before the shopper even gets to your site – is the way to build customer loyalty and increase a retailer’s reach off-platform. It can be challenging to create a good shopper experience in the beginning, but the hard work will more than pay for itself in shopper conversions.
To find out more about how ESW can help your ecommerce business create an amazing shopper experience, contact our Sales team.