A quarter of online shoppers around the world are making weekly online purchases now. The constant growth of e-shopping is redefining the customer experience, as e-commerce is becoming more competitive and engaging.
Customer satisfaction is a dynamic process and there are constant improvements; however, with new ideas meeting new needs, there’s a chance e-tailers can get lost in it all.
So, what are the best ways to improve customer satisfaction for online shoppers? We get expert advice from Yvette Hooites, International Product Manager at Asendia; and Ellen Kop, Strategic Account Manager – E-commerce Industry at Asendia Benelux.
- Who are the key influencers behind changes to the customer experience?
The customers are driving change with new wants and needs, and it’s down to the supply chain and e-commerce retailers to work together and come up with solutions to satisfy the customer. Nowadays, the supply chain – which includes not only logistics and operations teams, but also IT – is getting more involved with this customer experience, collaborating with sales and product teams. You could say they’ve become ‘e-commerce operations’ in their pursuit of enhancing the customer experience.
It’s important to point out that their objectives are different, though. E-commerce retailers want to give shoppers maximum choice, but the supply chain wants to simplify processes as much as possible. When e-commerce retailers want to offer new propositions to shoppers, it will most probably complicate operations! If a good balance is found, then customer satisfaction will be improved.
- What should etailers be doing to improve customer satisfaction?
Shoppers want more flexibility and options to suit their lifestyles. They desire greater control over shipping and delivery, with different pricing options at checkout. Look into giving your customers more choice, such as PUDO (pick-up/drop-off) points or redirecting parcels. Make sure there is a strong enough business case for this, since it will involve enhancement of IT, along with the possibility of new suppliers and processes.
You could allow shoppers to steer delivery in other ways. One approach would be to offer flexibility to change delivery after the order has been placed. This way, you’ll be serving the modern customer with their busy, changing schedules. Try to offer affordable and easy-to-use international shipping and returns options too.
- How can you ensure a consistent customer experience across global markets?
Global consumers face a range of challenges, so try to resolve them in the customer experience you provide. For example, trusting e-tailers can be an issue when it comes to international online shopping if the shopper is new to the brand or buys from a SME. An e-tailer must therefore work very hard to develop a trustworthy relationship with their shoppers. They need to understand their behaviour through careful research and then meet their expectations.
I believe a good idea is to set up wish-list functionality on your website so you know exactly what your shoppers want to buy. Then think about promoting those items for reduced prices at key points of the retail calendar, such as Black Friday and seasonal sales. Satisfy them with personalised messages on those promotions. After all, it’s all about making them happy so they will keep coming back to your web shop! I would also advise adapting the content on your website so it’s relevant for them. Create a website with the local URL, offer items in the shoppers’ local currency and give them info on international size conversions.
- What is the key to winning customer trust?
Transparency is crucial because it ultimately leads to customer trust and loyalty. It’s about being open, honest, and straightforward in the way you operate and present your brand, so avoiding unexpected bills for customers is really important. DDP-like solutions (Delivered Duty Paid) is one solution and is good for customer experience overall. However, it’s an investment for retailers to set up and absorb the payment of duties and taxes into their systems.
The alternative could be to have everything precisely explained on your website, such as how duties and taxes will be collected by the local postal operator, and the clearance fees involved. Think about how you’re presenting this information at checkout, since unclear or missing information leads to negative experiences. It’s vital to have a robust returns strategy too and to be able to process refunds quickly. This will depend on having efficient procedures and reliable IT.
- What trends are you seeing in customer experience?
Fun communication throughout the whole customer journey is on the rise. From checkout to delivery, brands are engaging people in highly personalised ways, building relevant messaging to improve the experience. This is only possible with IT technology. Customers are even getting localised, up-to-date messages such as: ‘Your parcel is ready for pick-up. Be aware it’s going to rain today, so take an umbrella with you!’ This helps with relationship-building and you can use these types of features to create an improved experience and reinforce your brand image.
These trends tend to start with bigger corporations, but SMEs and start-ups can invest in them too – Asendia’s Track & Trace is very effective with respect to building customer trust and ensuring transparency on deliveries that are going out of the country. Satisfaction isn’t just about giving customers what they want: it can be about surprising them and putting a smile on their faces. You’ll distinguish your brand from the competition too in the process.
Thank you, Yvette and Ellen!
So, for e-tailers around the world wanting to boost customer satisfaction, think about offering more choice along with personalised communication to make their journey more engaging. And remember to focus on transparency at all stages to build that all-important trust with your invaluable customers.