4 Ways to Increase Customer Satisfaction at Your Online Store

ecommerce storefrontIf you own an online store, you’re probably tired of reading articles of ecommerce tips that tell you all about the things your store shouldn’t do.

What I’d like to focus on in this post is the opposite – four simple tips that when implemented well will work to improve customer satisfaction with your online store experience.

I believe that your online store can provide a amazing levels of customer satisfaction.

So without further ado, here are four things your online store should do.

1. Increase Customer Satisfaction with Quality Product Images

This one is so critical yet so often put aside.  Quality product images (and by quality I mean gorgeous)will really set you apart from your competition on the web.  Not only should you invest in getting the best images possible, but also present multiple viewing angles and zoom versions in a web interface that will make viewing these images as painless as possible.

We have to remember that customers on the web will not be able to touch and hold the product before making the decision to purchase.  A customer will be far more likely to purchase a product that has good images because the quality of the image, like it or not, will represent the end-product.  A poor image will lead the customer to believe that the product itself is also poor.  Likewise, a great product image will lead the customer to believe that the product itself is equally as great.

Here are two examples of good product images combined with user-friendly image viewing controls. The first is found at BlueNile.com.

You’ll notice that the product viewer not only uses large vibrant images to teas the consumer, but it also keeps all pricing information front and center while providing the viewer with social media sharing features.

Online Store - BlueNile.com Product Viewer2. Increase Customer Satisfaction with a Robust Product Search

There are generally two types of customers who will utilize your site search.

The first type is the customer who’s at wit’s end trying to navigate through your site by the traditional means to find the product they’re looking for.  As a last resort, they look to the search feature.

The other type of customer already knows exactly what they want to buy before even arriving at your site.  This type will often bypass the traditional means of browsing in favor of the search feature.

In each case, if the search feature of your site is inadequate then the customer will be lost.  To satisfy these customers, your website’s search must return relevant results and contain intuitive filtering options. Relevant results are important to establish the base of products returned in the search query.

In many cases, and especially with larger stores, there are too many results returned for a customer to flip through to make a good purchase decision.  This is where product filtering becomes important.

Bonus Ecommerce Tips: Make sure to provide 3 to 4 high-level filtering options to help your customer narrow down their search to the few that they may actually purchase.

Also from a management standpoint, always be keeping an eye on the popular phrases your customers are searching for to identify what types of products people are having the hardest time finding so you can react accordingly.

You can see an excellent example of product filtering built into the online store experience at Zappos.com.

3. Increase Customer Satisfaction by Offering Frequent Deals

People who shop on the web are looking for the best deal around.

The web makes that easier than ever, and a great way to attract more customers is to satisfy the deal that they’re hoping to get.  Offering frequent deals, coupons and incentives will edge your site closer to meeting that need.

Here are some discount ideas that your site may want to implement:

  • Deal of the Day:  Put one product on a deep discount each day.  This will help bring customers back again and again.  It’s also a good way to get rid of products that just aren’t performing up to snuff.
  • Discount Center: Create a separate product category to contain all the products that are currently discounted or have a coupon available.  This gives the customer an easy way to view all specials currently being offered.
  • Category-Wide Discount: Put all products in a certain category on a discount for a short period of time.  Make sure the customers know that their offer is on a short time-frame so that they’re more willing to make that quick purchase.

4. Increase Customer Satisfaction by Providing Mobile Support

In 2010, mobile sales were only 1% of the entire online purchase space.  Internet retailer predicts that by 2016 that number will reach 7%. That means sales could soar above more than $31 billion from mobile apps or mobile websites!

Mobile sales numbers are simply growing too fast to ignore. If you’re on a budget, at the very least make sure your site has mobile optimized pages so customers can view products easily on any device.

However, mobile checkout can be a little pricier to implement.  What some online stores are doing is allowing a customer to email themselves a wish list from their mobile device.

The customer will then add the wish list to their cart on the full version of the site when they get home and complete the purchase.

What Comes Next for Your Online Store?

What makes online stores great is how it’s constantly evolving as people are discovering new techniques to sell better online.

How do you plan to keep your online store moving with the trends in ecommerce?  What’s next for you?

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