Self-help kiosks may make financial sense, but often consumers don’ like to deal with them in regular brick and mortar stores. Similarly, if the technology you add to your site does not encourage people to make a purchase, they will leave for a store that makes their purchases hassle-free. This can happen at any stage of the buying process, from the initial browsing, to adding the items to the shopping cart, and even if they decide later to return the product and expect a refund. All these processes need to be hassle-free to provide the maximum benefits to online consumers who have a high expectation of customer service.
When you’re trying to conduct business online, you are competing with giants like Amazon.com who have already mastered the game. Millions of people are aware of the types of customer service they can get through this marketplace and if you can’t meet and beat that, you’ll find yourself with fewer and fewer customers as time goes on. To emulate this high level of customer service, you need to adopt the same “hassle-free” mindset by promoting:
1. Personalized Browsing
Amazon keeps track of your preferences and your order history. It lets you create a Wish List to mark items you may be purchasing in the future. It mines the data on its site to understand the likelihood that when you buy one product, another product will also appeal to you based on other people’s prior purchases. These “recommendation engines” (that are highly personalized) are what Wired.com sees as a strong future trend since 35% of Amazon’s sales come from their individual recommendations. It takes the hassle out of figuring out what you need, when the search engine is built to recommend items that you need based on your browsing history.
2. Intuitive and Easy Ordering
Once the item has been located and selected, the visitor will add it to their shopping cart. It’s here that Time.com reports that at least 1 in 4 consumers abandon their carts before the sale is closed online. The reason for this is that they were required to do too many steps or found the process confusing and slow. One of the biggest grips, according to Time.com is having to re-enter purchasing information, from credit card numbers and billing history, even after having been a customer at this site before. Consumers saw it as a needless hassle and decided to shop elsewhere in one quarter of the cases. “The checkout process needs to be clear, smooth, and easy, and it should not cause repeat customers undue headaches inputting information that should be stored from previous purchases,” said Netreo, Inc. Logging into the account should be simplified with either Facebook or email logins. Lost passwords should be easily retrieved and the process not interrupted. The number of steps in the checkout should be clearly identified so that the visitor knows that it’s not going to be a long process. Not only will the sale happen more quickly, but your server won’t be bogged down with multiple people trying to get a hot sale that just won’t go through, causing them to abandon the cart midway.
3. No-Hassle Returns
Ever try to order a mattress online and then return it? Let’s face it, even with a refund policy, the consumer faces a lot of hassles trying to return the item in question. This can lead to a lack of customer satisfaction and turn even the most loyal shopper away. The Huffington Post reports that about one-third of all commerce orders end up being returned. If you use Shopify, you can integrate the return policies with your shopping cart, making it more hassle-free for the consumer. A clear return policy that is easy for the consumer to execute improves sales down the line.
Keep Them Coming Back
By providing a hassle-free environment during the purchase of an item, you increase the customer’s trust and willingness to do business with you. These types of benefits are no longer just for high-end businesses. They should be implemented by anyone trying to compete in a digital marketplace. In the long run, the benefits to your consumers return to you in the form of simpler order management, returns, and higher customer satisfaction and sales.