Making Your Ecommerce Store Customer Friendly
When you walk into a physical store, you are greeted with a carefully thought out pattern of products designed in a way that makes sense to the eye. In a clothes store, you will find trend grouped together, jeans in one area, office wear in another, and so on. You are welcomed by a member of staff, offered help if you need it, and you know you can go up and ask any employee for help at any time. Customer service desks, floors, and fitting rooms are clearing marked. Grocery store aisles are labeled for your convenience. The entire store is geared towards making your visit friendly, welcoming and efficient. So why would you make your online store any less customer friendly?
An online store has the disadvantage of not having a welcoming face greet them at the door, but it can still be just as welcoming as a physical store.
If you have both a physical and e-commerce store, then make sure that they work together. If your online store is sleek, modern and uses minimalist colors and graphics, but your physical store is all clutter and neon signs – then people are going to get confused. You want the two to flow seamlessly. Use the same promotional photos in both mediums, the same color scheme, and the same graphics. It is accepted that your online store will probably have more stock selection than a physical store, but you do need to make sure that you offer everything found in store online.
On your homepage, you want to advertise your latest offers, but don’t let them take the place or over shadow the main navigations of the page. Being able to easily access the site and be familiar with how to use it will go a long way towards customer satisfaction. Most people opting to shop online are looking to do so quickly; they might not have time to go to a store, or they are ordering because it’s easier. So the last thing you want to do is to make the process hard to follow. Luckily, most platform, DIY or professional, use the same symbols and formats as a base for you to build on. So the feeling of familiarity will kick in straight away, and your customers will find everything easily.
Making your customer feel at home goes far beyond a nice looking website and a sense of familiarity. You also need to make them feel safe. When you’re in a store you have full control over your cash and cards – no one handles them but you. Where on a website, you are inputting those sensitive numbers and trusting that they are not going to be seen by anyone else. As the owner, you need to ensure that that trust isn’t misplaced. Use an identity verification service in combination with bank verification software to ensure that your customers are not going to have their details stolen, as well as checking that the card hasn’t been stolen in the first place.
Always have a way for customers to contact someone for help. You can use a frequently asked questions page to root out the obvious questions, but there will always be issues and unique situations that require human interaction. Plus, people generally feel better about a problem after talking to someone who can fix it. Sending a message or email feels like things are still unresolved, where talking to someone on the phone can have an instant result. You can also think about using instant message as a form of communication between your customers and customer services. It’s up to your whether you feel that you need 24-hour access, you whether 9 to 5 works just fine. If you have international links, or have a huge client base halfway across the world, you might want to consider the 24-hour route, so that every customer has the same level of customer care available to them.
Linking your social media platforms to your site can be a great way of interacting with your customers on a new level. Social media allows you to reach out to your customers, including potential new ones. So make sure that you’re easy to find and are recognized by the different platforms – so that you get that little tick next to your handle. Reaching out to your customers is a great way of showing how important they are to your company. If someone makes a comment, good or bad, then don’t be afraid of jumping in there and replying – just make sure you keep things clean, ethical and inoffensive.