5 ways to improve the Customer Experience in eCommerce

Offering an optimal Customer Experience in eCommerce world, is not easy for multi-channel brands. To constantly monitor all eCommerce touch points and view thousands of product detail pages manually, is an impossible job.

In this article we give you 5 ways how to improve the customer experience.

  1. Stay ahead of competition
  2. Reduce product returns
  3. Take control of product content
  4. Improve visibility
  5. Avoid channel conflicts
eCommerce Customer Experience

1. Stay ahead of Competition

Do you want to find market opportunities for new products in order to keep your customers interest? Or if you are already selling a product, find out who your direct competitors are to differentiate and stay ahead? Monitor competitors within a certain online product category that you are active in (or might want to get active in future). 

In order to deliver a great customer experience you have to differentiate from and stay ahead of competitors. The following metrics can be useful to monitor:

  • (Average) selling price (over time): How do your prices compare to your competitors prices? A stable price often shows a product to be successful (and vice versa);
  • Product availability (over time)
    How evolves availability over time (low - high stock rotation)? Is a retailer restocking your competitors' products more regular than yours?
  • (Top-3) Share of search results (on page 1): Find out which other brands' products you are competing with (at top 3 positions) on page 1 of the eCommerce search results (typically the first 24 results) for your most important keyword?
  • Products and seller details: Who is winning the buy box on marketplaces and who are 'other sellers'?

2. Reduce Product Returns

There could be a variety of reasons to return a product, such as a mismatch between expectations and reality, late delivery, damaged product, or even because the customer found a cheaper alternative elsewhere. Did you know that 22% of online returns are due to the product being substantially different in appearance than was advertised online? This is definitelynot conducive to your customer experience.

Prevention is better than cure! In order to prevent product returns the following metrics can be useful to monitor:

  • Product Content Completeness: Check if product colors and dimensions are shown correct and complete on each product detail page. This can help prevent a mismatch between shoppers' expectations and reality;
  • Review count: Monitor products that need to increase the amount of reviews. A minimum of 10 reviews per product can help consumers make better purchase decisions;
  • Selling price: Monitor if resellers are keeping prices stable in order to avoid price battles;
  • Days Out Of Stock: Monitor if your resellers keep your products in stock so shoppers don't go for an alternative and get disappointed.
  • Delivery time & Stock text: Monitor if your resellers communicate a clear delivery time and stock text.

Do you want to reduce product returns?



3. Take Control of Product Content

You might use a PIM system to centralize all your products' content at one place, but this doesn't assure that product content is shown correct and complete at your resellers product detail pages.

Complete and correct product content:

  • Makes a product stand out
  • Takes away questions from shoppers
  • Prevents returns
  • Influences findability within Search Engines and Comparison Shopping Engines such as Google Shopping.

In order to take control of product content on all indirect sales channels, the following metrics are useful to monitor:

  • Content Completeness Score - Minimal, Basic & extended criteria: Identify and complete shortcomings in product content to increase engagement and conversions. For instance, check if all PDPs that offer your brand's products show:
    - Between 5 and 8 images
    - Between 1 and 3 videos
    - A brand name mentioned in a product title
    - A minimum of 10 reviews
    - An average star rating between 4.2 and 4.5.

You can find more detailed info about the Digital Content Completeness score (DCC score) here.

Why monitoring Ratings & Reviews?

Signify (formerly Philips Lighting) has set up a targeted review campaign using SiteLucent software. Download info-graphic.

  • Quantity or Quality? Purchases most likely peak at the point where products have a minimum of 10 reviews. Besides quantity, customers care about the recency of your reviews and your overall star rating. Aim for an average star rating between 4.2 and 4.5.  A perfect 5-star rating is often perceived by consumers as too good to be true. 
  • Run Targeted Review Campaigns: Highly priced products, new and seasonable products and safety and health related products influence the importance of reviews even more during the buying decision process.
  • Show perfect customer service and commitment by responding to positive AND negative comments
  • Make your products even better using the feedback of your customers
  • Improve eCommerce site search
  • Win the buy box on marketplaces
infographic teaser

4. Improve Visibility and don't run out-of-stock

Since no one can buy your products if they can’t find them or if they are not available, it is important to keep your brands' presence consistent on all indirect sales channels to keep customer experience positive.

In order to improve your products' and brands' visibility, the following metrics are useful to monitor:

  • Product Listing Completeness:  This KPI shows the percentage of the selected portfolio which has been found on the selected retailer(s) site(s). For instance: if a portfolio bookmark called "My Hero products" contains 100 products, and the KPI value shows 85%, that means that 85 of these 100 products were found at the selected retailer's website. Find out if your resellers listed the complete agreed upon product portfolio and - which products are missing? 
  • Days-Out-Of-Stock: Track the length and timing of each product's stock-out and easily anticipate potential supply issues in the future. Stock-outs lead to lost sales, but also result in reduced customer satisfaction, lower loyalty levels and less visibility in search engine results / the buy box. 
  • (Top-3) Share of search results (on page 1): Find out if the products that you want to rank high with on a keyword are on the top, or how you score within a product category.

    A research by RichRelevance shows that irrelevant product results and search engines that do not recognize specific words are among the biggest frustrations of online shoppers.
    If needed, optimize your product pages with the tips in this article and keep monitoring your results. 

For your products to be found online it is not enough to only choose the right keywords and place them in a smart way. Each marketplace and eCommerce platform has its own search algorithm which ponders many factors such as product availability, reviews, rich content and how well your product content matches a search intent. Getting a position in the top of (eCommerce) search engine results is a game consisting of many factors.

The efforts you set forth monitoring your products and acting on it the right way, can improve your search results significantly. 

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5. Avoid Channel Conflicts

Building and preserving a fair and transparent relationship with channel partners will indirectly improve customer experience. This is because you are all working towards the same goal: making and keeping the customer happy!

(un)authorized vendors

As a manufacturer or brand, it is tough to find a balance between own eCommerce stores and wholesalers and retailers and to avoid channel conflicts. Your products are likely sold across a wide variety of channels—not all authorized or part of a formal distribution channel (grey market). 

Online Shelf Monitoring can help your team save hours of time looking through eCommerce sites to see who is reselling your products, if they are authorized vendors. 

Win-Win situation

By moving from guesswork towards data-driven conclusions and improvements, you can create joined effort to keep growing together with your resellers and partners, continuously. This makes cooperation with partners more pleasant and increases return on investments for both sides. A pure win-win situation!

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3 effects of price battling