A customer portal (aka a customer extranet) is a private, secure website that enables businesses to share files and information with customers. Whenever a user looks for answers to their questions from a customer service page, or through a customer service app on their phone they are using a “portal.”
Creating a customer portal on an ecommerce site can have many benefits. Portals linked to a customer's account can provide that customer with secure access to updates about their orders, back-ordered item status, returns, credits, and other useful data. According to multichannelmerchant.com, 91% of users say they would use a support portal if it were available. With such information and answers available, you can reduce user frustration and potentially decrease cart abandonment. As an added bonus, the portal can also lighten the load on your customer service staff – sending an email takes time, plus follow-up questions / emails can take up additional customer service resources and lead to customer frustration.
If your customer portal has rich content, it may be worthwhile to track and report customer activity on the portal. That way, you can fine-tune offers, functions, and features of your ecommerce site based on customer activity. Not only will you be helping your customers, but you can make your website better in the process.