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How To Improve Your Ecommerce Customer Experience

Does your ecommerce site encourage a positive customer experience? Here are some things to consider.

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Your ecommerce customer experience is critical to not only ensuring that they purchase but that their experience is positive, simple and fast. This is important because it will not only encourage them to come back again and increases brand loyalty, but to recommend the site to others.

We are constantly bombarded in our day to day with messages, ads, shouty noise everywhere.. and I for one admit to being a fussy so and so when it comes to shopping online. I haven’t got time to wade through stuff that I’m not looking for that gets in the way of what I need. A bad ecommerce customer experience for me simply means I’ll go elsewhere and I won’t feel bad about it.

Here are some areas you should focus on:

You wouldn’t believe the amount of business owners and marketing manager who haven’t ever used their own site themselves! it’s the first stop to finding out what the experience is like and especially on a mobile phone where online purchasing is trusted more than ever before (as long as it’s nice and easy).  So, try it out yourself, end to end.. what did you experience? Bet you’ll have a few items to add to a list straight away.

Homepage clutter – It’s sometimes hard to prioritise on a homepage, and often a business wants everything there. A useful exercise to carry out is to create some user profiles. Create some target customer types, examples:

  • Female shopper – 25-30 yrs old – uses a mobile to shop more than a desktop, looking for offers
  • Male shopper – 25-30 yrs old – uses a mobile to shop more than a desktop, looking for gift recommendations or guidance
  • Female shopper – 55-65 yrs old – uses an iPad or laptop to shop online (doesn’t trust mobile),  looking for security reassurance and simplicity

And so on.. once you’ve completed your list, try out your site as each one of these user types and note down your experiences.

  • Display your top categories on your homepage
  • Have a revolving image that runs through your top 3 or 4 (no more) offers or products
  • Show trust indicators – security, trusted payment methods , review stars etc
  • Display simple easy to use (on mobile too) navigation
  • Include your top products in main navigation
  • Add a sale category to your main navigation
  • Offer a search facility – user who know exactly what they want may go here
  • Ensure your email sign up is prominent and easy to use (think GDPR)
  • Resist the urge to shove popups in your users faces the minute they enter the site
  • Display a contact us link or phone number or if you have online chat ensure it is available!

Product selection

You know what you want, colour, size, budget etc, is there anything more frustrating than going through the whole process only to find what you want is out of stock, tell your customers as early on as possible that something is not available and reduce that annoyance! Make product selection easy, use filters so that customers can filter out stuff they definitely don’t want. Use tools that personalises your shopper experience (if they are logged in and you have this info), why not show them items in their size and in stock only? Think ecommerce customer experience!

Checkout process

You’ll have discovered what your checkout process is like on a mobile by now if you’ve read this post, was it pain free and straight forward? The basket and checkout is most likely where you’ll lose a customer if they have got that far.  Sometimes a customer will simply change their mind, but other times there is a problem or irritation that has put them off. Was it the whacking great big delivery charge that suddenly appeared? Was it difficult to use on a mobile? buttons not clickable?

When a customer does arrive at your checkout, lets guide them through nice and easily.  Obviously your site will be on a secure domain (we’ve written about this previously), so what is this experience like? does  your customer have to work through several pages of different fields when they could all be displayed on one page? Does your customer then get redirected to a payment site and have to resubmit the same data?  if so, are they redirected to your site after the payment has been successful? This is important!

Customer emails

So a purchase has been made, what happens next, what does your customer receive? an order confirmation email is the norm, but what does it say? is it as per your ecommerce systems default copy? This is an opportunity to strengthen your brand and to enhance your ecommerce customer experience. How about a thank you? simple as it sounds, lots of websites do not say thank you! so rude..  How about looking at the content of your customer contact emails and making them more friendly, more customer serviced based.. ‘ thank you for shopping with us, your order is in safe hands and we’ll update you in the next x mins/hours with information regarding the delivery’ and ‘ should you have any questions about your order please don;t hesitate to get in touch’ then provide multiple options. People sometimes just prefer a phone call when a purchase has been made, can you accommodate that?  social channels are popular too and always a manned email address.

Increase repeat visits and purchases

If someone has bought online from you before, and had a good ecommerce customer experience, why not keep the engagement going. Don’t get us wrong, we aren’t saying bombard away, they won’t be back! But what about setting up some automated emails,  a well timed email asking for a review (giving the customer time to receive and use the item), an email to ask if any top ups or repurchases are required 6-8 weeks after purchase perhaps with a discount code? nice.. if your email data is segmented nicely and integrated with your ecommerce system.  If you have an issue with large email unsubscribes, we’ve also written a post about this.

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)

Remember that from May 2018 your website needs to be compliant with this new regulation, if this is news to you, you need to be looking at this now!  Check out the ICO page for information on what this might mean for your business. Advice on what this is can also be found in our other post GDPR Embrace Opportunity

If you are asking for email sign ups you need to be very explicit about what you are going to send them and when, including automated emails.

Watch and learn

So how is it all working for you? Analytics data can tell you exactly that, and looking at this in detail regularly can help pinpoint any areas that need attention. There are other tools you can use that give information on exactly what your users are doing and when, click heat maps and user tracking etc. These tools can be expensive but are worth the investment if you have the budget. If you don’t then use analytics to guide you initially. We wrote another post about this; Analytics – What Can We Learn 


If something isn’t working, change it, don’t be afraid to do this, lots of people are but change is good or it can be if it’s brought about by data and evidence at least.  So with regards to your ecommerce customer experience, ask your customers what they like and don’t like and be prepared to respond to that, where appropriate!

There’s lots more to think about but we don’t want to bombard you, come back and read more, we share as often as we can.