11 E-commerce Tips That Will Result in Happy Online Shoppers | Posmay Media

11 E-commerce Tips That Will Result in Happy Online Shoppers

Published on 13 August 2020 by Sean Twomey | Filed in Business Growth, E-commerce | Reading Time: 11 minutes

While adhering to strict lockdown regulations in South Africa, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the one thing I’ve gotten really good at is online shopping.

Over the past few months I’ve made over 50+ online purchases and have shopped from 10+ E-commerce providers including Amazon.com, eBay.com, Takealot.com, Sixity60 (Checkers), Market City, Raru.co.za, Loot.co.za, UberEats, Aramex Global Shopper, Verimark, and Butlers.co.za.  

While making online purchases from all these different online retailers, I’ve learnt first hand from my own experiences what creates a happy and satisfied online shopper and what leaves them feeling frustrated and disgruntled. 

I’ve come up with the following list of tips that will result in happy online shoppers.

1. Make It Easy For Buyers To Find Your Product

When potential customers search for a product that they are interested in purchasing, Google will (if they are available) show shopping ads right at the top of the page.

I was recently searching Google for the Star Wars: X-Wing 2nd Edition Core Set in Cape Town, when the following shopping ads showed up:

I can immediately see that there are at least 3 retailers selling the product that I am looking for (takealot.com, loot.co.za and bidorbuy), with takealot.com offering the lowest price at R789.

It’s never been easier finding a retailer selling a product I’m searching for in my geographic location and it’s never been easier comparing prices of the top retailers. If I want to see even more options, then I can click on the » link to show a full page of shopping search results.

If your products are not showing up in Google Shopping Ads, then you are loosing out on search traffic and you are probably leaving money on the table. 

Recommended Action

Make it easy for potential buyers to find your product listing by advertising your products on Google Shopping Ads. Conduct competitive research to see what other retailers are charging for the same product and see if you can compete on price. 

2. Communicate Clearly & Timely

Some online retailers do a great job at communicating with customers, while others fail dismally. Whether you use in-app notifications, SMS messages, emails, phone calls or a combination, make sure to keep the customer informed. 

A few months ago I ordered a new vacuum cleaner from Verimark.co.za. After filling in all my details incl. credit card details on the checkout page, I clicked to place my order. The next page I saw was an error page. The funds had been debited from my credit card, but I had nothing to confirm my order. No order conformation page, no order confirmation email … just an error page.

This experience left me annoyed and frustrated. I had to send a follow up email to find out if my order had gone through and to get an idea of what the estimated delivery date was. After being told that delivery would be 1 to 2 weeks, I promptly cancelled my order and requested a refund.

With other retailers, like Raru.co.za, Takealot.com, UberEats, etc., communication has been a lot better. After making an online purchase, I get an order confirmation page, as well as an order confirmation email. I can also log into my account and view all my existing and past orders. If an order has not gone through, then I will be notified, so I can retry or cancel. 

Recommended Action

Use clear and timely communication along every step of the purchase process. This will build trust and result in happy and loyal customers.

3. Deliver What the Customer Purchased

This seems obvious, but with a recent frustrating experience, I felt like I had to state the obvious. I recently ordered a Sony PS4 Dualshock PlayStation Controller from Takealot.com. Before making my purchase, I reviewed the product page carefully to make 100% sure that this was the product I wanted. When I received my purchase a few days later, I was shocked to find a cheaper generic “Doubleshock Controller” in the box. This was definitely not what I had purchased.

After requesting an exchange, I was told that the supplier no longer was offering the product I had purchased and that I therefore needed to accept a refund. To cut a long story short, I eventually got a credit after returning this generic product, but it took many messages back and forth via email and Twitter, which wasted a lot of my time.

Recommended Action

Make sure that your product listings accurately describe and depict the product that you are selling and make sure to ship the product or products that were purchased.

4. Resolve Problems with Superior Customer Support

First of all make sure to have clear and adequate customer support channels that customers can easily access in order to get help with their orders. A support@yourdomain.com is usually standard, but you can also use online forms, live chat, Twitter DMs or a phone number. 

They key is to make it easy for customers to contact your support team and acknowledge the receipt of their message. The first thing a customer wants is to be heard and understood. The next thing they want is for you to resolve the issue as soon as possible. The quicker you can resolve the issue, the happier the customer will end up being.

For email support using a support ticketing platform like Help Scout, can be extremely useful, especially if you have multiple team members that are responsible for answering support tickets. 

Recommended Action

Provide your customers and prospects with a customer support experience that will impress them. Support staff should be trained to respond promptly and professionally. Create saved replies for common issues and empower support staff to resolve issues quickly. 

5. Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep

Don’t make the mistake of listing a product as in stock of it’s actually sold out and try avoid offering a product at price X, if the actual price is in fact Y. 

I recently made a purchase on Takealot.com and got an email 3 days later informing me that the product was actually out of stock and could no longer be sourced from the supplier. Or that time I ordered the Sony PS4 Dualshock Controller and was sent a cheaper generic controller instead.

Recommended Action

If you have to disappoint a customer, do whatever you can to resolve the issue, even if it means offering them the product at the cheaper price or sourcing the product from a more expensive supplier. The lifetime value that can potentially come from a happy customer usually far outweighs the expense or loss you might incur in the short term.  

6. Make It As Easy As Possible For Customers To Purchase

Butlers Pizza in Cape Town make use of live chat to let customers order on their website. You fill in a simple form asking you for your name, phone number, delivery address, which branch you’re ordering from and what you’d like to order and a friendly Butler confirms your order within a few minutes. 

Butlers also lets you pay via SnapScan, which makes contactless delivery easy and simple during the COVID pandemic. 

Because I’ve saved my usual order and delivery address as a text template that I can copy and paste into the order form, I can place an order within 30 seconds. No need to pick up the phone, dial, speak, etc. … in a few simple steps my order had been placed and confirmed. And within 30 - 40min hot pizzas are delivered to my door. 

If I’m ready to enjoy a relaxed pizza dinner at home or if I’m in a pinch and need a quick meal, then there is an obvious reason why I’m a repeat Butlers customer … great tasting pizzas, super quick and simple to order, as well as fast and friendly service. It’s a winning formula!

Recommended Action

Make it simple and convenient for customers to order or purchase. Review and refine your order or purchase process.

7. Same Day or Next Day Delivery = Happy Customers

If other online shoppers are anything like me, then they cannot wait to get the delivery of their purchase. Amazon has been raising the bar significantly on their delivery options by offering Two-Day, One-Day, Same-Day Delivery, as well as delivery within a few hours. Generally speaking, the quicker you can get a purchase into the hands of the buyer, the happier the buyer will be.

When ordering groceries from Market City or Sixity60 (Checkers) in Cape Town, I’ve been impressed by their same day delivery. When ordering pizzas from Butlers, my order usually arrives within 30min.

Takealot.com generally offers 1 to 3 Day Delivery, depending on whether the item I’ve ordered is in stock in Cape Town or if it needs to be sourced from Joburg or from a 3rd party supplier.  

If a purchase is not urgently needed, then delivery time is less important, but most online shoppers are keen to get their purchase as soon as possible.

Recommended Action

Offer your customer delivery options including (if possible) a same day or next day delivery option at a premium price. Whenever possible getting the purchase to the customer as soon as possible will result in a happy customer.

8. The Importance of Reviews

The one thing I place a lot of attention on when doing research before making an online purchase is looking at customer reviews. Stores like Takealot.com show the product rating on a product page, based on the ratings and reviews from other customers. If a product has a 4-5 star rating and has 20+ reviews, then I can generally safely assume that it’s a quality product worth buying. 

Recommended Action

If possible, give your customers the opportunity to leave reviews and ratings of your products, as adding this factor to a product page will increase social credibility and assuming the reviews and ratings are positive, will most likely result in an increase in purchases from other customers.

9. Perfect Your Online Checkout Process

A common issue with online shopping is cart abandonment. This is when a buyer is ready to make a purchase, they add the product into their shopping cart, but for some reason decide to not complete their purchase. There could me multiple reasons that could lead to this undesirable outcome. Perhaps your checkout process is too complicated, too long or too time consuming. Perhaps for some reason the purchase did not go through leaving the customer frustrated. 

A while back I made a purchase on Digicape.co.za and after entering my credit card details and clicking the purchase button, the page just would not reload. I was not sure what the problem was and was getting close to giving up and canceling my order. I then realised that I had to make selection using a dropdown menu item, which was not very clear to me. This was a great example of how a small technical hurdle can cause a buyer to cancel their purchase. 

Recommended Action

Make sure to test, review and refine your checkout process in order to maximise the number of orders and to minimise your cart abandonment rate. 

10. Create A Simple, Efficient & Enjoyable Digital Experience

One of my favourite parts of online shopping is saving items to my wish list. I often research products and find them on my favourite online stores. I then add them to my wish list to hopefully purchase them at some stage. 

I recently added a bunch of X-Wing Expansion packs to my Wishlist on Raru.co.za, as I was looking forward to ordering them over the next few months. One Monday morning I got a long list of emails from Raru informing me that these products had all been discounted by 30%. About 15min later, I had purchased all 10 items at the discounted price and had a smile on my face for the rest of the day. 

Giving your users the opportunity to save items to their wish list makes it easy for them to order them in future and it lets you easily send them discount notifications. This exact same experience has also happened to me with items on my Takealot.com wish list. 

Besides letting customers keep track of products on their wish lists, they might also from time to time have the need to return a product. Making it as simple as possible for customers to log a return request will result in a positive experience and give the customer peace of mind.

I’ve needed to return a few products to Takealot.com and with their simple online process, it’s been an absolute breeze.

Recommended Action

Review and improve your online store or website to give your customers the best possible digital experience. Make sure your website loads quickly and offer your users features like adding items to a wish list and a simple return process.

11. Offer A Quality Product That’s in Demand

You don’t need to sell iPhones, toilet paper or hand sanitizer to be successful. If you sell a quality product for a reasonable price that is in demand and people can find it online, then you’re in business.

Butlers.co.za makes it easy for me to order pizzas online and they deliver a tasty meal in under 40min to my door. Takealot offers a wide range of products and provides a great online shopping experience. For me they have quickly become the Amazon in South Africa. 

Some specific products, like books or board games, I’ve only been able to find on either Raru.co.za or Loot.co.za. This has made me a loyal customer of both these online stores. 

Market City and Sixity60 (Checkers) have made it simple and convenient for me to purchase groceries in Cape Town and have them delivered to my door. 

For products that I have not been able to purchase from South African online stores, I’ve managed to purchase from Amazon.com. And recently while buying vintage board games, I could only find what I was looking for on eBay.com. 

UberEats lets me quickly order food from local restaurants that gets delivered to my door and Aramex Global Shopper gives me access to 24 shipping addresses in all major cities, so I can make purchasers from online stores around the globe and have them forwarded to Cape Town.

Each of these brands offers something unique and have made my life better in this new digitally connected world. 

Recommended Action

Make sure to offer a quality product for a reasonable price that is in demand and make it easy for potential buyers to find you online.  

In Summary

1. Make It Easy For Buyers To Find Your Product
2. Communicate Clearly & Timely
3. Deliver What the Customer Purchased
4. Resolve Problems with Superior Customer Support
5. Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep
6. Make It As Easy As Possible For Customers To Purchase
7. Same Day or Next Day Delivery = Happy Customers
8. The Importance of Reviews
9. Perfect Your Online Checkout Process
10. Create A Simple, Efficient & Enjoyable Digital Experience
11. Offer A Quality Product That’s in Demand

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Sean Twomey

Digital Marketing Strategist, Vegetarian & Digital Nomad. Passionate about working with purpose-driven entrepreneurs. Founder and owner of Posmay Media. Instagram / Twitter / LinkedIn / Google+ / Facebook

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