How to Satisfy the Modern Online Shopper: Meeting Needs

This is a guest post from Jake Rheude at Red Stag
Fulfillment.

Shoppers want a quality experience, and if they don’t have
one, your sales are going to take a hit.

Today’s modern online shoppers are more tech-savvy than ever
before, looking to connect with you and your brand, as well as read
plenty of reviews.

They’ll check out your company on forums, ask their friends,
and even research your customer service before showing you
they’re interested in buying.

If you want to learn how to satisfy the modern online shopper,
you’ll need to meet their demands. Among the growing list of
demands: fast or same-day shipping options, social media activity
and support, exciting web design, and more. It can feel impossible
to cover it all, especially if you’re a small but growing
ecommerce business.

The key isn’t to do it all—just to find what’s right for
you and most effective for your immediate needs.

To figure out what those are and start tackling them, let’s
look at five significant shifts that your site and customer
strategy can benefit from while keeping things sane and
affordable.

Sort customer demands into two buckets.

Before we tackle any specifics for your online store or
shoppers, we should create an approach to addressing all the things
they’ll ask of you.
The best method we’ve found is to take the massive list of
demands that you’ll see and cut it into two specific sections
(throwing out the rest):

  1. Things you can reasonably afford to offer that customers want
    most
  2. Things that directly benefit you too

When you start looking across all the channels you have, you
should hopefully see patterns in the requests. Customers might want
clearer information on your site, the ability to see the colors
you’re offering, social media updates, coupons and discounts,
better shipping, or support for PayPal.

When you generate the total list, start Googling options for
resolving them. You’ll quickly come across solutions as well as
blog posts (like this one) that show how certain tasks will cut
your costs too.

Shipping partners, for example, get goods to customers faster
but also tend to save you because they have better rates with
carriers that you can’t get until you’re a giant operation.

The good news is that there tends to be a lot of overlap. Define
your elements and look for intersections with the data, so you can
cover as much ground as possible. This is about walking in with the
idea to match needs and capabilities.

It’ll be easier on your budget, and you’ll have a more
straightforward case for getting leadership to back your move.

Customers have demands.

Every online shop is a little different, so let’s briefly take
a look at the improvements that customers tend to want in general.
They’re items you might be able to tackle, though the exact
solution will be a bit different even from your competitors.

Based on the research, here are the big ones:

  • 97% of ecommerce site visitors don’t convert, with the top
    reasons being shipping costs too high or that they were simply
    doing research.
  • 88% of
    Americans
    say shipping price and speed are very influential in
    determining ecommerce habits

  • 63% of all customers
    want you to have up-to-date information on
    your website.
  • 66% of millennial customers are okay with you having their
    data, but
    you have to ask them
    to share it.
  • 60% want your mobile
    site to load quickly.
  • More than half of your customers want to find you via
    search.
  • 5% of users
    will trade email
    for a competition entry, and 4.3% will do it
    for free delivery.
  • A faster website can improve conversion
    rates by up to 78%.

And those are just a few of the things to consider. They tend to
be process-focused improvements around clarity and website
development.

Your store itself isn’t always getting judged on
products—many of these concerns occur before someone even browses
your collection. Work on everything it takes to get people to your
store pages and then get out of the way.

Make it easy for people to find your amazing goods, so they can
sell themselves.

Seek improvements that benefit you too.

There are several changes and improvements you can make to your
site to address customer needs that also enhance your day-to-day
operations.

Consider problems customers have and think about creative or
fundamental ways to solve the issues.

Improved site performance, for instance, helps customers find
your products. So, you have roughly three to seven seconds to
capture and keep their attention.

This helps the customer find what they’re looking for and
helps your business by enhancing conversion rates. Optimizing your
photos and other site details will load pages faster to give the
customer a more enjoyable experience, while potentially reducing
your costs per site visitor.

Hiring a specialized ecommerce
fulfillment partner
can help you offer better shipping rates
and faster shipping times to your customers, which they’ll love.
For you, it means more reliable orders and fewer returns, better
insight into shipping habits, and the ability to scale, even if
your current warehouse or site doesn’t have physical space.

Shipping partners also take care of the integrations with
shopping carts for you, allowing you to provide accurate tax and
shipping costs, as well as dates earlier on in the checkout
process.

This is smoother, and customers can automatically get tracking
details. You’ll get those details too, meaning you can track how
fast orders are shipped and received, verifying that you’re
getting the service that you pay for too.

One of our other most significant pieces of advice is to make
the returns and any other vital policies 100% transparent on your
site.

Make these easy to find too. When customers know what they can
and can’t do, they go into a sale with better expectations.

For example, if they have to agree that all sales are final,
you’re going to get fewer calls and emails about returns.
You’re also less likely to get poor ratings online around
customer service (we can’t help you out with product quality,
unfortunately).

Site improvements can also go hand in hand with this
transparency push. Think about product images, whether you’re
selling specific goods or it’s a software dashboard.

Real, honest photos help people know what to expect and be more
satisfied when they get your product. When things are up to date
and clear, there’s far less chance of misunderstanding or
concern.

Great photos improve your site too by encouraging more sales and
even giving you high-quality ways to make a case for an up-sell or
cross-sell when the time’s right.

Ask what your customers want most.

It’s never been easier to ask people, so don’t neglect this
step.

You have things customers want and they have the information you
need, so encourage a swap. Offer coupons for surveys and social
shares.

Send out emails with questions to prompt personalized style
guides or packages. Follow up from a sale by thanking your newest
customer and ask what you can do better next time.

The customers who engage with you can quickly become repeat
purchasers. You’re raising the customer lifetime value by asking
and listening.

That second part is essential. If you just ask what they want
and how they want it but don’t follow through, then it’s a
waste of time.

Customers may even grow frustrated when you’ve sent them the
same survey a half-dozen times, but nothing’s changed.

Incentivizing a conversation will help you get some baseline
answers. Social media conversations give you a chance to find happy
and frustrated customers as well.

Review sites and forums also show you how customers are talking
about your brand. They’re talking. Make sure you’re listening
and adapting.

When in doubt, talk it out.

Every change and shift in information can introduce issues or
concerns. Avoid this by talking with your customers about the
problems they’re having.

They’re ready and willing to tell you what they need or want,
any concerns they have, and what’s confusing about your site.

You want to talk to customers about what they need in order to
complete a sale with you. This is your chance to get all of those
concerns out of the way.

One of the best ways to start talking with them more regularly
is to add chatbot support to answer customer questions.

These tools have become readily available and affordable. They
can help you deliver better customer service and you may lose fewer
sales by offering them.

Chatbots record all of their conversations and customer details,
so many now come with their own analytics capabilities to help you
determine what customers need.

They’ll find the most frequent questions, biggest complaints,
and other data you can use to adjust your site and improve its
performance.

If everyone is asking your chatbot for a size chart, it’s time
to add one to every relevant product page.

When they routinely need help with something like fast, reliable
shipping, then ask to get more details.

Explain your process and what’s available, and keep the
conversation going. The more you’re talking, the better you can
de-escalate situations and improve relationships.

The internet is nothing if not noisy. It’s time to turn all
that noise about your brand into something useful, by encouraging
customers and listening to what they have to say.

Use their words to guide your other efforts, and you’re ready
to deliver your best service while meeting customer
expectations.

Jake Rheude is the Director of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an
ecommerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of ecommerce. He
has years of experience in ecommerce and business development. Find
him on Twitter,
Facebook,
and LinkedIn.

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How to Satisfy the Modern Online Shopper: Meeting Needs

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How to Satisfy the Modern Online Shopper: Meeting Needs