Humanizing the eCommerce Shopper’s Experience

Posted March 20, 2017 by   in Digital Marketing, eCommerce Website, SEO, User Experience


It’s quite obvious that shopping online is becoming more and more popular for consumers. With the growth of Amazon and competitors like Jet.com, Walmart.com, WayFair.com and Target.com adding resources to their online sales department(s), the competition is, quite literally, increasing by the hour.

While the above mentioned businesses have a whole host of competitive advantages over a small online store business, that doesn’t mean it’s time to throw your hands up in the air in defeat. Just like a brick-and-mortar store competition against “big box” stores, there is one element that can keep you in the hunt for gaining traction selling online – incredible customer service! There is a large enough population of shoppers who are willing to pay a little more for the same product to support “the little guy” purely based on its level of customer service.

Having founded, built and scaled our own eCommerce stores at Springboard Marketing & Web Design, we have a front row seat of the technology that bridges the shopper and customer service opportunities. The parallels of shopping online and shopping in a brick-and-mortar store are plentiful, although not very obvious at the surface. Let’s review some of the tools and resources available to eCommerce store owners to create a unique, highly satisfactory shopping experience that will help you humanize your online store for your customers – resulting in a better, more authentic shopping trip that can resemble that of a brick-and-mortar.

Online Chat – Olark

Have you ever walked through a department store wishing (maybe even praying at some point) that you could find a team member to help you find something? Or help answer a question you have about a product? Customers naturally have a lot of questions about products and want someone’s expert opinion.

That’s where online chat support, using tools like Olark, comes into play. It’s the online-version of finding a team member in the aisles. When the online chat/support is installed, you now have team members in the aisles always available to help the customer.

Store Surveillance / Customer Behavior Analysis – Inspectlet

There is a myriad of tools, mostly heat-mapping tools, readily available for a store owner to analyze where a site visitor is clicking on their website but from our experience, heat maps oftentimes lead to more questions than clarity. While heat-maps can be fruitful, watching actual recordings of a customer’s visit equips the store owner to make more educated decisions.

The tool we use is called “Inspectlet” and it does just that; records the user’s desktop/mobile screen as they navigate through your store. You can then watch how a user interacts with whatever it is you want to analyze like the product pages, upsell areas and, most importantly, the checkout process. Yes, this exists. And, yes, it is as awesome and insightful as it sounds.

Product Category Names

How an eCommerce store owner names their product categories is paramount for not only SEO, but for helping the customer orient themselves upon landing on your website. It is no different than how a brick-and-mortar stores display the isle number with the products you can find in that isle. If you’re categories are accurate and resonate with your audience, then they will have a better chance of finding the product and buying it from you.

Have you ever read the isle signs in a brick-and-mortar store and you got to the end of the list having no more clarity that you started with? Yeah, me too! That’s why shoppers either leave, don’t buy or don’t come back! Make sure your product categories not only high search volume keywords, but ensure that they are using the language/words that resonates with your audience. Absolute clarity is vital here. Miss this and your conversion rate is going to tank.

Summary:

Always remember, “just because someone is already doing it, doesn’t mean that you can’t be doing it better!” It’s this sort of perspective that will facilitate the sort of thinking necessary to maintain and run your online store. The human element, or the human touch, if you will, can be present online if you know what tool you have available to offer your customers. While the shopping experience of online versus shopping at a brick-and-mortar seem black-and-white, they blur more than most give it credit.