Three Ways to Keep Consumers Satisfied
has a direct impact on a
business’s immediate and
future success, and this is
especially true for
After all, their competition
is just a click away.
In fact, a recent ForeSee study reveals that
71 percent of satisfied site visitors are
more likely to make additional online
purchases from that retailer and 58 percent
more likely to make offline purchases
from that retailer, as well. Furthermore,
the study found that 69 percent of satisfied
visitors are also more likely to recommend
the retailer to other consumers.
As an Internet merchant, that should
serve as sufficient motivation; right?
One question remains: What makes
(and keeps) an online shopper satisfied?
Let's turn directly to the source for answers. To help online
merchants, this editor reached out to her personal online
network to ask consumers what they have liked and
disliked about their online shopping experiences.
1. Making Products Easy to Find
Both online shoppers and Internet retailers can agree that
user-friendly navigation is vital for e-commerce stores since
you cannot buy what you cannot find. If a consumer is having
a hard time locating a specific item, he or she is likely
to abandon the site all together.
Photographer and online shopper Tiela Halpin, for example,
did all of her 2012 holiday shopping on the ’Net
and counts a site’s navigation as most important when
searching for products.
“Navigation is key,” said Halpin. “If I can't find something
I'm looking for quickly I'll become discouraged and
look somewhere else.”
Custom furniture retailer Contempo Space takes a
unique approach to making their site’s navigation user friendly.
According to the company’s Web strategist Chris
Sansone, customers often compliment the site’s main navigation,
which uses icons to represent the main product
categories in the top menu bar (see image A below).
“Clicking on a main category will show larger icons
for subcategories when they are present,” said Sansone.
“Again, it's not the most common way to do it, but it's
more intuitive for the user. We really didn't want to use
real estate on the side of the page with vertical sidebars,
and none of us are fans of the expanding top navigation bar
that many sites use.”
Merchants can optimize their navigation by testing variations
of menu headers and analyzing how much traffic
each category receives. Moreover, merchants can also measure
the effectiveness of their sites' search functionality by
monitoring how often consumer searches lead to conversions.
Yet, good navigation is just the tip of the iceberg.
2. Offering Robust Product Reviews
Consumer product reviews are arguably the most important
influencer in a shopper’s decision-making process. Although
negative reviews can certainly deter someone from
purchasing a product, positive reviews do just the opposite.
In fact, a study from eMarketer reveals that consumer reviews
are 12 times more trusted than product information
or descriptions provided by businesses. Interactive producer
Marisa Rodriguez agrees.
“When I find a product I’m interested in, the first thing
I do is look for the consumer feedback on that particular
product,” said Rodriguez. “I think it’s so important, and I
totally take into consideration the good and bad reviews.”
Beauty e-commerce site Lush provides an excellent example
of consumer reviews done the right way. The company
provides a “Review Snapshot” for every product
which displays the average star rating of the product, the
percentage of respondents who would recommend the
product to their friends, as well as a short list of the product’s
pros, cons and best uses according to reviewers
(Lush’s reviews are powered by PowerReviews). Site visitors
also have the ability to scroll further down product
pages to read each consumer’s full review.
Aside from more robust reviews, newer and flashier
technology can also impact customer shopping experiences.
3. Enticing with Interactive Technology
It is important for retailers to make their site stand out from
the competition. This is where innovative and unique technologies,
such as virtual fitting rooms or customization options,
come into play.
In fact, even customers who are loyal to traditional
shopping, like Jeremie Rosley, can appreciate these types
“I prefer to go shopping in person,” said Rosley. “So
the more you can bring that experience to online, the happier
One way to bring the traditional shopping experience
to the ’Net is with virtual fitting room functionality. Medical
uniform retailer Medelita, for example, does this with
its “Personal Shopper” app (see image B below).
“We guide the customer through a series of questions
to understand their gender, height, weight, body type and
medical specialty to determine what products we would
recommend based on all of their input,” said Medelita’s
E-Commerce Director Dan Stepchew. “All of these attributes
are eventually saved to the user’s profile to ensure a
highly personalized experience going forward. So far it’s
been a huge hit, with our conversion rate almost doubling
on traffic sent through that interface.”
Yet virtual fitting rooms are far from the only way to
add a little interactivity to an e-commerce site. Merchants
should also consider implementing technologies like social
login, guest checkout and live chat to make their site’s
shopping experience better for visitors than that of their
competitors. E-commerce site PoolDawg.com has found
that offering customizable merchandising options also
tends to be a hit with consumers.
“Our customers love the additional customization options
we offer on our site,” said Mike Feiman, president of
PoolDawg.com. “We allow customers to upgrade their
pool cue tip, change the wrap on their cue and engrave
personalized messages. This is a huge draw for our customers
shopping for pool cues and engraving is especially
popular during the holiday season.”
Fortunately, online merchants have tangible evidence accessible
within their site’s analytics to help them discover
the features, strategies
and technologies that
their customers like
and don’t like. Furthermore,
with a little investigation,
will find that digitalsavvy
timid when it comes to
voicing their opinions
about a site’s usability.
Merchants can leverage
platforms like ForeSee,
iPerceptions and Opinionlab,
for instance, to
obtain feedback directly from the people who matter the
most — a site’s current visitors and loyal customers.
About the Author: Allison Howen is an associate editor at Website Magazine, writing
primarily about e-commerce and social media.