How to Leverage Customer Feedback for Strategic Improvements

Customer feedback is vital in any business or industry – after all, the customer is always right. Acting on the feedback you collect through reviews, emails, social media, and surveys not only helps you adapt to shoppers' preferences; it also shows that you value their input. Below are some of the major areas where you can use customer feedback to make improvements.

Products

Customer feedback can help shape your decision-making around merchandise strategy. While the exact approach will depend on your inventory and audience, it’s best to start broad. Start by examining overall customer sentiment according to product category to establish a baseline for expectations. As you narrow the focus of your customer feedback analysis, it’ll be easier to establish whether individual products or a whole category is underperforming. From there, you can discover if there are new SKUs you should be adding to your inventory, or if you should discontinue item/categories that aren’t meeting shoppers’ expectations.

Site usability & design

The UX of your ecommerce site can be one of the most important keys to its success – and customer feedback in this area can help you identify pain points and bottlenecks that you can address to improve usability and eliminate customer frustrations.

Customer experience

If your customer service department uses call monitoring tools, that’s an excellent resource for finding areas of the customer experience that need improvement. Reviewing customer service calls can reveal patterns or errors you may not find by manually browsing your site, such as pricing errors, frequently asked questions, or even areas where customer service reps need more training. You can also assess your customer experience by analyzing product return codes to look for common themes (this can also be useful for shaping your merchandise strategy).

Small Ideas to Make Big Improvements to your Checkout Pages

Speed and convenience are the hallmarks of ecommerce. But all too often, these are not reflected in checkout - causing almost 70% of shoppers to abandon their carts at the checkout stage. Any change (however small) that you can make to improve the speed and/or convenience of your checkout guarantees a positive impact on your cart abandonment rates. In this post, we'll go over some easy-to-implement changes to make your checkout process more appealing to customers.
    

Trim the fat

Part of why cart abandonment rates are so high in the ecommerce industry is because, from the customer's perspective, the checkout process is the worst part of shopping online. Filling in forms, creating an account, seeing the bill – surely we can all agree that it's more fun to fill a shopping cart than empty it. From the user’s perspective, the less time and effort they have to spend in the checkout, the better. With this in mind, try to have as few form fields as possible. If your ecommerce site requires account creation to complete a purchase, you may want to consider adding Guest Checkout functionality.

Add more payment options

Alternative payment options, like Google Wallet, PayPal, and Amazon Payments, are designed to securely store users’ information and drastically speed up the checkout process by eliminating the multiple form fields associated with credit card payments. Additionally, the more payment options you can accept, the more customers you can cater to.

Retargeting

When all else fails, you can use remarketing to get shoppers to come back to the cart they've abandoned. Whenever returning customers abandon the shopping cart, you can send out a personalized email asking them if they’d like to complete the purchase or get assistance from your customer service team. You can apply the same strategy to new customers if they've given you their email via any of the sign up incentives you have on your site. You can also use retargeted paid advertising strategies to funnel shoppers back to their abandoned carts.

Tips for Mobile-Friendly Checkout Forms

In today’s digital age, reducing usability hurdles and simplifying your ecommerce site's “path to purchase” for mobile shoppers is crucial. Responsive web designs and simplified navigation are key to creating a positive mobile shopping experience. Unfortunately, form fields tend to be overlooked in this regard.
    
A simple but essential part of any ecommerce site, forms allow e-tailers to collect customer information to complete orders and set up user accounts. However, forms can produce frustrating hurdles for mobile shoppers who must manually input information via small touch screens. To keep mobile customers from bouncing off of your site or abandoning their carts, make sure that your website forms abide by these design guidelines:

Minimal form fields

For mobile users, each blank form field is a step in the registration and/or checkout processes. In ecommerce, each step is an opportunity for users to bounce. By reducing the length and complexity of your forms, you reduce cart abandonment rates too. One common mistake is requiring customers to enter the same information for multiple form fields, such as for email and password confirmation. The purpose of repeating form fields is to reduce user-submitted errors - but there are other ways to achieve this. For example, you could make password creation forms visible by default to allow customers to easily see if they have made an error. You can also show new customers the bare minimum of forms for their first purchase, then follow up with additional forms via email.

Use autofill

By streamlining the process of inputting information, you reduce your customer’s exposure to checkout friction. Incorporating autofill features into your forms accomplishes this while also reducing the amount of user errors that come from unassisted manual input.

Streamline form navigation

To make it easier for mobile shoppers to input information and navigate between fields, make sure your forms are vertically aligned. With this layout, users see multiple fields at once and only need to scroll up or down to see more (as opposed to up, down, left, or right with side-by-side form fields). You can further streamline forms by combining single input fields that request related parts of related information. For example, instead of having fields for First and Last name, area code and phone number, or month/day/year (3 types of information, split among 7 fields) - combine them to create a Full Name field, Phone Number field, and Birthdate field, respectively.

Catering to your B2B Customers

In order to increase their customer appeal, more B2B ecommerce sites are refreshing their design and functionality to mimic some of the strategies employed by B2C ecommerce sites. For the most part, this is an effective strategy. However, B2B customers can have motivations and needs that are different from their B2C counterparts. In this blog post, we'll cover a few common reasons that shoppers are visiting your B2B ecommerce site – and what changes you can make to better appeal to these users.
    

Cost Comparison

B2B customers are often required to compare the cost of materials from multiple vendors before placing an order. Putting your prices front and center can help your customers finalize a purchasing decision. If price is not the competitive factor for your products, be sure to draw customer focus to the valuable differences or features of your products.  

Product Research

If you have technical content for your products (e.g. spec sheets, video demonstrations, performance testing results, etc.), don’t force users to dig for it. Keep your product pages organized and keep your content in a designated area to help customers easily find the information they need.

Ready to purchase

If a customer visits your site intending to place an order, don’t change their minds with a difficult checkout process. If your B2B customers place orders for large amounts of different SKUs, the B2C approach of including lots of product info (like images and descriptions) in the cart can add unnecessary complexity. A better approach may be as simple as an order form with fields for SKUs and quantities.

Mobile Functionality Tips for Ecommerce

Making sure that your ecommerce site is compatible with mobile devices is critical for maintaining a good shopping experience – not just for your current customers, but also for new customers who may get their first impression of your brand through a mobile browser. While developing your strategy for mobile users, remember these guidelines for giving your customers the best mobile experience.
    

Size & Speed

On average, internet connection speeds for mobile devices are slower than desktops. More features and content take longer to load - and this time is emphasized for your mobile users. A feature-rich desktop version of the site is a great idea, you'll need to turn off some of these features on the mobile site to keep loading times down.
    

Navigation

Screen real estate on mobile devices is limited. While working on the size and speed of your mobile site, consider how you can simplify the navigation. People love mobile devices because of their convenience, so as a general rule of thumb – the fewer steps it takes to find a product or complete a purchase, the better.

Mobile app vs. mobile website

Depending on the experience you want your customers to have, you may want to invest in an app over a mobile site. Compared to a mobile-friendly website, apps are more expensive to develop, but they can incorporate much more functionality without sacrificing speed. If you decide to create an app, it should provide an experience that is distinct from visiting your ecommerce site. Otherwise, customers will have little incentive to download and use it.