“Optimize for search engines.”
“Invest in unique product design.”
“Choose reliable hosting.”
Those are just some of the numerous invaluable tips you will hear when starting an ecommerce business. However, when building an online retail store, many entrepreneurs fail to define their target market, listen to their prospective customers, and optimize their website to their customers’ needs.
While focusing on short-term objectives may work for you in the short-run, to maximize conversions and build a solid customer base, you need to make your ecommerce website highly customer-centric.
What does that mean and where to start? Let’s find out.
Collect Customers’ Feedback
To improve your ecommerce site’s user-friendliness, you need to connect with your target audience and ask them for honest opinions. There are many ways to collect customer feedback, including:
- Listening to your customers on social networks. There are many social media monitoring tools you could use to understand what your customers think of your website.
- Send follow-up emails. If someone leaves their shopping cart, you could immediately ask them what prevented them from finalizing the purchase.
- Create surveys and polls. Place them on your website, social networks, or chatbots.
- Provide simple feedback forms on your website. Reduce the number of questions and make them straightforward and clear.
No matter if you are creating an email survey or a website feedback form, consider providing relevant rewards, such as free shipping, promotional products, or discount coupons. This way, customers will be more likely to fill out forms.
Use Social Proof to Build Trust with Customers
Social proof is a phenomenon where individuals conform to the opinions of the mass. In ecommerce marketing, this is one of the most important tactics to apply. When browsing through your website, your customers will want to know how you are different from your competitors. Above all, they want you to prove your value.
- Add customer reviews and ratings to your product pages. This is what big brands like Amazon do. Online consumers generally trust the opinions of other shoppers, so this practice may gain their trust and encourage them to convert faster.
- Show customer testimonials on your product pages, homepage, or checkout pages. When encouraging customers to write testimonials, always ask them to provide their name and location. This way, you will make your testimonials section more trustworthy.
- Show how popular your products are. For example, use a conversion rate optimization tool to show how many people are viewing your product pages, how many users registered on your website, or how many customers bought your products. You could also show how many products there are in the stock and even display countdown timers for time-sensitive offers. Apart from indicating your online store’s credibility, those elements will also trigger customers’ FOMO and encourage them to make faster purchasing decisions.
- Encourage customers to create original user-generated content to build trust with users.
- Display trust seals, such as cybersecurity badges, money-back guarantee badges, safe checkout badges, industry certifications, accepted payment seals, etc. Given that 17% of lost sales are caused by security concerns, adding security seals to your checkout pages may build trust with users and reduce shopping cart abandonment rates.
Personalize User Experiences
Studies found that 62% of online users want to receive personalized offers. For tech-savvy digital customers that are looking for spotless and personalized interactions with brands, the one-size-fits-all approach to sales and marketing doesn’t work.
Use your customers’ data to provide them with relevant deals and offers.
On your website, you could track their geolocation, browsing patterns, and previous purchases to provide them with more relevant products and services. Give them the opportunity to continue shopping right where they left off.
The same applies to your email marketing strategy. You could ask leads about their product preferences, gender, location, or problems and segment them into smaller groups based on their feedback.
Provide personalized product recommendations.
When a customer is viewing a product, recommend products similar in design and style, but higher in price, for instance. Or, you could tell them what else shoppers buy when purchasing the product they are viewing.
You could also use AI chatbots to personalize product recommendations. For example, Sephora uses them to learn more about each customer’s needs and preferences and provide relevant products. Their Messenger bot even lets users upload their photos and try out different products to find the right one.
Create amazing content.
Creative, unique, and helpful content is what builds trust with users and sets you apart from your competitors. Start by optimizing your product descriptions. Apart from generic, keyword-rich sentences, focus on the benefits for users.
Invest in visual content, too. Use high-quality product photos to engage users. Remember that they cannot feel or touch your product, so taking photos from multiple angles or using 360-degree photography may be a great solution for them. You could also create amazing videos, as they are one of the most shareable and engaging content formats out there.
The same goes for your blog posts. Create ultimate how-to guides, infographics, and case studies that will help customers solve real-life problems. This will boost your industry authority and encourage users to choose you over your competitors.
Quizzes are highly interactive and targeted forms of content. Customers love taking them because they let them learn “something new” about themselves. This could be a great opportunity to help them find products that are perfect for them and point them to your product page to complete the purchase.
Improve Website Navigation
When landing on your website, visitors want to find the desired products fast. No matter where they land, your customers should always know where they are, how they got there, and how they can go back to the homepage or the previous page. They should also find product categories, a shopping cart, and a search box faster. Use breadcrumbs to visualize customers’ positions on your website.
Your website navigation needs to be user-centric, simple, and intuitive. For starters, simplify your navigation bar. All navigation menu categories and subcategories need to be logical. Also, reduce the number of items in the navigation bar to avoid cluttering it.
Apart from your menu, you should also add a search box for those users that know exactly what they want to buy. Filtering options on product pages will help customers find the desired item fast and convert.
Finally, create strong and convincing CTA buttons that will guide your users and tell them what to do next. CTAs should always state the benefits the customers will gain when taking the desired action.
Over to You
Amazon’s goal is “to become the most customer-centric company on Earth.” And, given the explanations provided above, it is not surprising at all that customer-centricity has become the foundation of any successful ecommerce business. By adapting your products, website design, content, marketing efforts, messaging, and values to your customers, you will gain their trust and turn them into loyal, returning customers.