“The customer is always right,” is probably a phrase you’re familiar with by now. But whether or not they’re always right is beside the point. What matters is that customers have solid expectations in 2018, and if you’re going to make a success of your eCommerce venture, you have to meet them.
If you think of 2018 as the year of the customer, your mindset will be in the right place. As technologies have changed, so too has what the customer expects. And with so much retailing choice available to them online, if you can’t meet their expectations, another merchant will. Let’s take a look at how to manage your customer expectations and boost your eCommerce sales in the process.
Table of Contents
Make Your Site Accessible
A slow page loading time affects your Google rankings, which makes your store less visible – and it’s also a major turn-off to the consumer. According to research, 47% of consumers expect your site to have loaded within 2 seconds. Preferably less. If it hasn’t loaded within 3 seconds, guess what? 40% of the users are gone. Moreover, 79% of online shoppers also say they won’t return to a site if it takes too long to load, and 44% will tell their friends about their bad experience. An inaccessible site kills conversions and sales, and it also has a devastating ripple effect. If a shopper tells others via social media about their bad experience with you, you’re going to lose them and their friends.
An inaccessible site negatively impacts your bottom line, but it isn’t only a slow loading time that can damage you here. If your site is hard to navigate and modules like the search bar are hard to use or – worse still – hard to locate, customers will click away. Make sure that your online store is as accessible as possible. You can use Google’s site speed tester to see how slow/fast your site loads. If it’s taking too long, assess why this might be. The reasons why a site takes a long time to load might include:
- Images are too big
- Content isn’t compressed
- Script references are at the top and not the bottom
- Too many HTTP requests
- Web pages haven’t been cached
- Too many 301 redirects
Have you put much thought into the mobile version of your eCommerce store yet? Many of us haven’t, but ever since mobile usage overtook desktop for the first ever time in 2016, site owners need to start making their websites mobile responsive. More importantly, global mobile eCommerce revenue is projected to reach 669 billion U.S. dollars in 2018. Put simply, your customers want to be able to browse with you and buy with you via their mobile devices. Many newbie eCommerce store owners take this for granted and assume that their site is already mobile friendly. But the way the desktop version of a website and the mobile version of the same website look very different. You need to make your site mobile responsive. This will meet with consumer expectations and boost your conversions and sales. You can buy a theme for your website that comes with an automatic mobile version.
Personalize The Customer Experience
Do you know what doesn’t appeal to customers? Receiving emails from merchants who are promoting products to them that they have zero interest in. Imagine buying a lamp from a company and in the process handing over your email address. Five days later, the same company sends you an email asking if you’d be interested in their latest virtual reality gadgets and gizmos. It would leave you totally perplexed (and you may even unsubscribe if it kept happening). Thanks to the advancements in machine learning, merchants can now make the shopping experience more personalized for customers. We can use Artificial Technology to better understand who our customers are so that we only promote products that are based on their past browsing and buying history. This improves the relationship between seller and buyer, and it can boost conversions and sales, too.
Make Your Brand Consistent With Logos, Fonts etc
Brand positioning is going to be key as you seek to be a successful eCommerce store owner. “I’m not a brand,” you might protest with modesty. Anyone who runs an eCommerce store has a brand – and they need to treat it like one. Brands are what people recognize. Shoppers see their own values reflected in a brand, and these are the ones they warm to. Knowing your brand and keeping it consistent across all your channels will give you a direction with your content, and it will also ensure that the right customers start finding you. From now on, your logo, font, colours, text, content, website, social media channels, message and overall aesthetic must be consistent. There are lots of free tools to help you get your branding right. For example, Shopify provide a free (and awesome) logo maker.
Produce Valuable Content
You’re probably aware that millennials don’t like to be sold to in the same way that the generations before them did. Instead, they prefer to be marketed to. They actually like it! In 2018, your customers are all over social media. They expect you to be there too, feeding them content that informs, engages, entertains and educates them about your store and its goods and services. It’s important that you don’t miss this trick. eCommerce store owners can create content that breaks down the barriers between buyers and sellers. You can use a killer content marketing strategy to position yourself as a brand and seller that people can trust. Content can be used to educate people about your products and services, ensuring that any apprehensions buyers had are overcome. Content can include blog posts, videos, podcasts and emails. The more people see of you, the more they will begin to trust you as someone they want to do business with.
These are the consumer expectations that you need to adhere to in 2018. Remember, even if the customer isn’t right, they’ve got all the power.
About the Author
Michelle is a freelance writer that produces educational and informative content for Heroic Search, a SEO company that is based in Tulsa. She is passionate about writing share-worthy content that helps businesses grow their revenue.