Ecommerce is becoming an increasingly noisy industry, with more people spending and selling online than ever before. This makes it difficult for sellers to stand out and differentiate themselves. However, outshining your competitors and winning customers is crucial to ecommerce growth.
What is a Seamless Customer Experience?
A seamless customer experience is setting up every customer touchpoint to be smooth and frictionless. It means that everyone in your organization — all departments — are working to make sure the customer has positive experiences with your brand.
Merchants can stand out to their customers by providing a stellar customer experience, from discovery all the way through purchase and beyond. In this article, we’ll focus on how to provide a seamless customer journey after the customer clicks buy.
The importance of a seamless customer experience after purchase.
Research from Linnworks on Total Commerce shows that shoppers value convenience. In fact:
- 76% of shoppers say convenience is a key priority when selecting a retailer.
- 72% of consumers have abandoned a purchase over shipping transparency.
- 62% of consumers say they are more loyal to a retailer who is open and honest about delivery costs.
A seamless post-purchase experience makes customers happy, which leads to better customer retention, higher lifetime value (LTV), and more social proof to increase your overall business profitability.
The business case for a seamless online shopping experience isn’t new. What is new is the shift of focus to later in the customer journey. And now is the perfect time to get ahead of your competitors by making your post sales experience unforgettable.
How to provide a seamless buyer experience.
The great thing about meeting the rising expectations beyond the buy button is that it’s relatively simple to do and affordable to achieve.
1. Send a purchase email confirmation straight away.
That moment after clicking the buy button is, arguably, one of the most nerve-wracking moments for customers. They’ve just handed over their credit card details, and the longer it takes to hear from you, the more they worry they entered the wrong email address, the transaction didn’t go through, or they’ve been totally and utterly scammed.
The quicker you send a confirmation email, the better.
Your post-purchase confirmation email sets the scene for the rest of the customer experience, so make it as friendly, helpful, and reassuring as possible.
- Thank the customer for their purchase.
- Include information about any causes supported (e.g., charitable donations).
- Set out the order details, including products, prices, and delivery address.
- Confirm the delivery date and when they should expect the next update.
Essential reading: A guide to post-purchase emails: useful tips and examples
2. Hop to work behind the scenes.
To make the experience beyond the buy button feel seamless, you must work hard behind the scenes.
Quickly get to work downloading, picking, packing, and shipping orders. The sooner you start preparing an order, the longer you have to deliver it on time.
Here are some tips:
- Use an order management system to download and sync multichannel orders in real-time.
- Distribute stock across a wide network of warehouses so inventory sits closer to end customers.
- Use a shipping label printer to reduce the time spent finding, completing, and printing shipping labels.
3. Provide shipping updates.
The definition of seamless is: “smooth and continuous, with no apparent gaps or spaces between one part and the next.” To achieve this, you must keep customers updated on where their order is by providing timely tracking information via email, SMS, or Messenger.
Shipping updates bring many benefits, including:
- Reassuring customers their delivery has left your warehouse.
- Creating anticipation and excitement about their order’s arrival.
- Providing information about their order’s whereabouts and EAT.
By sending shipping updates, you also stop the customer from sabotaging the smooth and continuous experience by sending a “where is my order?” email.
4. Provide seamless customer support.
Another way to avoid customers writing in with complaints is to provide proactive customer support. You need to reach out to shoppers during the delivery process before they need to reach out to you.
- Sending a list of equipment they need to use their product (e.g., batteries or installation tools).
- Sending instruction manuals, user guides, or helpful information (e.g., recipe ideas).
- Making recommendations for relevant products (e.g., new shoes to go with their new handbag).
Not only are these messages helpful, they also open up the lines of communication should the customer need to get in touch with you or ask a quick question.
5. Deliver fast, on time, and in full.
The quickest way to ruin the experience beyond the buy button is delivering an order late, damaged, or not at all.
Delivery promises matter to customers, which is why many customers won’t return to your store following a bad delivery experience.
Ideally, you want to deliver orders within 2-days or on the next day with:
- Dynamic shipping tags that display accurate delivery estimations on product pages.
- Secure packaging and dunnage to reduce damage and deter thieves.
- An outsourced fulfillment partner to cost-effectively meet fast shipping speeds.
Useful bookmark: What to do when your deliveries are late
6. Facilitate easy returns.
Returns happen – it’s part of the deal when you sign up to selling online. However, a product return doesn’t have to disrupt the post-purchase experience. In fact, it can enhance it.
Make product returns easy by:
- Adopting a clear and fair returns policy.
- Providing customers with pre-paid return options.
- Facilitating returns with a variety of methods (e.g., different couriers).
Building Customer Relationships.
To keep customers coming back, you’ve got to build strong relationships with them. Everything that happens after the customers purchases your product will determine the strength of their relationship with you.
In every stage of the customer journey — from consideration to purchase to continuing the relationship — the experience must be positive. This positive experience is how you build strong relationships and build loyalty. And eventually, this is how you build brand advocates. These are the people who refer you to friends and family, who rave about you on social media, and who will keep coming back to buy from your business without looking elsewhere.
The key message we want you to take away is never to underestimate the power of a seamless customer experience beyond a simple purchase.
Customer retention statistics show that your existing customers are the most profitable — making up an average of 23% of your revenue while taking up less than 12% of the total customer base.
The journey beyond the buy button is your time to shine, impress, and bring customers back for more.