If you own a physical, bricks and mortar store, it’s likely that you have taken a range of actions and undergone a series of processes to add the personal touch to your shop, in an effort to make each customer’s visit a more pleasant and rewarding experience – and a more profitable one for you.
It’s easy to see shopping through an e-commerce outlet as an impersonal experience; it’s even been called remote shopping. Yet, to an extent, it doesn’t need to be. Working with a professional Magento Agency, for example, it’s thoroughly possible for any commercial enterprise to make the online shopping experience one that a customer can enjoy – and even enthuse about to others.
- Personalising the start of a customer’s e-commerce experience
A physical store’s starting point is their window display, which has to be interesting enough to grab the attention of prospective customers as they walk by. Not only that, it then has to entice them to venture through the doors and into the store itself – what they see has to mean something to them.
This is equally true of the welcome or homepage for an e-commerce site. Apart from the information that’s presented, the first impression gained will often be from the look of the site itself. This site’s appearance is an area worthy of serious consideration – don’t forget, the attractiveness of the layout should be the same, regardless of which device is used to access it, from mobile phones and iPads to laptops and desktops. The welcome should suggest to each individual visitor that they want to come in and have a look around.
- Make specific-purchase customers feel welcome
If the previous point was about the people who visit an online store with no particular purchase in mind, this tip is about other customers who know exactly what they want, or have a clear problem they expect your products to solve. This is where wise online retailers make maximum use of landing pages, which are designed to meet precise customer needs.
Some e-commerce stores still direct all interest to a homepage and expect the visitor to take themselves to where they need to be. Imagine, in a high street store, asking a sales assistant where a specific product line was, only to be told: ‘Go and find it for yourself’. You’d walk out, often ready to tell everybody you meet how dreadful the service there was. Online is no different; if customers fail to be clearly directed, they’ll likely return to their original search and try elsewhere. It’s also quite likely that they’ll mention your frustrating experience on social media, and not in a positive way!
- Facilitate a journey from entry to purchase
‘Can I help you?’ is the cry of sales assistants down the ages, and often the answer is: ‘Yes please’, followed by a question about a product or a description of the problem to be solved. E-commerce sites should always aim to provide the same level of care; chat boxes are an increasingly popular and instant contact way of emulating that level of speedy personal service.
When a visitor has made a buying decision, it’s vital that the sales completion process is as simple as possible. Purchasers do know that an amount of information is necessary for both purchase and then delivery, but don’t like any idea of having to jump through hoops to get to the end point.
- Personalise that end-point
You would hope, in a bricks and mortar store, that, after buying, you would be thanked for making the purchase and you’d appreciate an invitation to contact the store if any questions or problems arose during your use of the purchased product. Online businesses can achieve these with an automated message after purchase is completed. Although essentially an anonymous experience, there is still that tiny bit of personal pleasure gained from good manners being shown.
- A vital final point about an e-commerce store
When your online store is visited, it’s important that what is said can be clearly understood by each visitor. Many are much less expert than those who work in that business; this can lead to the use of over-technical language, or insider jargon – and this often proves to be a real switch-off for potential customers. Equally, it’s important to be careful to include all the information; familiarity does breed, if not contempt, then a forgetfulness that others don’t know everything the content writer does.
Comparing an e-commerce store to its high street counterpart and following the same guiding principles can help make the buying experience as simple and enjoyable as possible.