9 Ways to Improve eCommerce Customer Experience

Survey every article you can find about poor, underwhelming or non-existent customer service and the overwhelming majority will be about ecommerce customer experience. Despite all our advances and seeming maturity in User Experience design and Customer Experience strategy, ecommerce experiences are still, by and large, bad. In some cases, beyond bad.

The thing is, it isn’t really that hard to make them better. To wit, here are 9 ways to improve ecommerce customer experience that are (a) painfully obvious and (b) frequently overlooked.

  1. Clear Layout & Navigation. Is this a store? Is it obvious that I can buy things here, and do I have a sense of the breadth & depth of what’s offered?
  2. Proof of Value. Social proof & testimonials. Who else has bought from you or used your products, and what do they think? If I don’t see reviews, you’re immediately suspect.
  3. Make it About Me. I don’t care that you’re the leading blah blah blah blah blah and your products are blah blah blah. There is only one thing I want to hear from you, in answer to a very simple question: What’s in it for ME?
  4. Give to Get. If you want my email address, give me something of value. Coupons, rewards, freebies, etc. Show me that you care about making it worth my while.
  5. Keep Your Promises. If you say I’ll get something valuable for giving up some privacy, you had better send me something valuable. If you say you’re going to email me valuable coupons every month, DO IT. Deliver exactly what you promised, when you promised it.
  6. Limit Form Field Requirements. I’m the customer, so my natural mindset is always minimum effort, maximum reward. Only ask for what you absolutely need, because the Internet has trained me to know you don’t need it all.
  7. Defy the Generic. What’s the difference between you and the 5 other sites that offer the same kind of stuff, not to mention the two that just launched in the last 10 minutes?
  8. Upsell, but Don’t be Pushy. Show me things that will truly make my experience with this product more valuable or more rewarding. Context is everything; otherwise I can feel your hands pulling on my wallet.
  9. No One Night Stands. Don’t forget about me once you’ve got my money. Email me a week later to see how it’s going, or if I have any questions. Get an actual human being to call and do the same. No selling, just asking how you can help. Service after the sale will impress the hell out of me and will go a long way in my trusting you and wanting to buy from you again.