The world of commerce is rapidly changing. More so now than ever before, the shopping experience needs to be on the terms of the customer or your business risks losing them.
We are in the ‘now economy’.
And once a customer has made their online purchase, they want to know where it is at any given moment.
Read on below to find out how you can keep your customers reassured and informed at every step of the purchase journey.
Understand the wants and needs of your ecommerce customer
When designing elements of your online retail experience, it’s important that you understand the wants and needs of your customer. After all, consumers want their purchasing to be on their terms.
With new innovation ploughing ahead at the rate it is, why shouldn’t they? One-click purchasing, mobile payments and payment wallets are just some of the developments in recent years that have further shifted retail in favour of the consumer.
Using a good payment provider can help you to keep up with these tech advancements as you do your best to keep your customers happy.
But before you worry about despatch, delivery and customer surveys, you need to make it as easy as possible for your customers to make their purchases. And once a payment has been made, it’s important they know where their goods are – at every step of the way.
Send a confirmation email post-purchase
There’s always an element of trust associated with purchasing goods online, as a lot of the control a customer would have at an in-store environment has been relinquished.
One of the key things you need to send to your customer once they’ve made their purchase – if you aren’t already – is a confirmation email. This is essentially standard industry practice.
Your confirmation email should contain:
- A salutation
- A breakdown of your customer’s order (including total cost)
- A thank you message
- Their order reference number.
This email will do a great deal towards dispersing any worries a customer may have about your business, especially if they are new to your online store.
Your email should also contain a customer service contact number, so if anything needs to be changed, altered or cancelled, your customer doesn’t have to spend time searching for contact details.
During busy sales periods such as Black Friday or the Christmas and new year sales, your customers are likely to be making lots of purchases. Having confirmation emails sent to them will help them to keep track of the things they’ve bought.
And send despatch notices to your customer
An equally important part of the customer journey after the purchase stage is sending out a despatch notice.
Sadly, these emails aren’t yet considered standard practice like the confirmation email is. However, they provide you with a great opportunity to get in touch with your customer and let them know their order is being processed in a timely fashion.
An effective despatch notice should be consistent with the design of your confirmation email and contain similar information, including a salutation, brief order breakdown and the total cost.
The key difference is that this email is only sent when the order has been shipped.
Ideally, the extra information it should contain would be an estimated delivery date and a link to parcel tracking if the shipping service you’ve used offers that as a feature.
Don’t forget customer feedback surveys
The best way to understand how your customer feels about their experience is simply to ask them.
Arguably, the easiest way to ask your customers for feedback is sending them a survey. There are a handful of effective and free email survey design and distribution software tools that will do most of the hard work for you.
All you have to do is plug your questions in and send the email. It’s best to keep your surveys short and sweet – and you may consider incentivising people to fill them in too.
Closed questions are key in these surveys, as simplicity is the best tactic to ensure that customers are stay engaged and complete it.
As you’ll be asking fewer questions, it’s imperative you extract information that will be of use to you. You want to understand how easy the purchasing process was for your customer and how well optimised your site is.
Customers are in control of modern retail. By getting in touch with them at every given opportunity, you can improve the chances of offering them a positive experience.
This will, in turn, likely lead them to become regular customers as they form a strong relationship with your business.