Everybody wants things fast these days. We can’t seem to wait for the coffee to finish boiling. The microwave takes too long to heat up our food. We expect things to get done almost instantly. Those of us who run our own online business might really wish that customers would make their purchases quicker instead of browsing all over, finally picking the products they like … only to abandon their order right before paying! Exasperating, isn’t it? So what can you do about this?
Besides checking your cart’s aborted orders section where you can go through the list of customers who did not complete their orders to follow up with them to try to get them to buy from your store (which we’ve covered in a previous article), professional and courteous customer service DOES go a long way towards converting customers.
Perhaps your customer could not complete their purchase because the product they were looking for was out of stock? Maybe they couldn’t find what they were looking for at your store? Or they found another store with better pricing? Whatever the reason, sending your customers an email to get their feedback on their recent visit to your store could help you improve your business further. This applies to both customers that visited your store, but didn’t make orders, as well as customers that actually made purchases from your store. You can learn a lot about improving your store’s usability from both sets of visitors. One way to encourage feedback is to offer a discount coupon as an incentive.
I recently made a purchase with eBags online as I needed a new bag. The old one was getting “holier” by the day and before everything I had inside came spilling out one day, I decided I’d better get a replacement bag quickly. Product pricing was REASONABLE. Service was FAST — my item arrived within a week. No FUSS on returns. How do I know that? Well, I accidentally purchased 2 bags instead of 1. Oops! So I had the extra bag returned.
To my surprise, customer service was prompt (emails were answered within a few hours) and the company even paid for the extra bag to be returned via courier at no charge. I got a full refund on my card once the extra bag was returned. Not only that but the company offered a 20% discount on my next online purchase with them if I agreed to provide feedback on the product. Now that’s what I call service. I will definitely buy from them again because of the positive experience. I like the service and I got my stuff fast. Which is basically what every online customer out there is looking for when they choose to shop online.
If running your online store happens to be something you do part time on top of your normal 9-to-5 job, you should either set your shopping cart to email you a notification (or use InstanteStore’s Order RSS notification if you’re more savvy) whenever an order is placed at your store. With mobile devices and wireless connections as prevalent as they are these days, you have access to these notifications anywhere, at anytime. This means that you can fulfill your customer orders almost in real-time. Orders could be packed and shipped out as soon as payment is confirmed. Remember to email each customer to inform them that their order has shipped, along with an estimated delivery date. It’s simple things like this that make the online shopping experience better.
Remember, people want their orders delivered fast along with excellent customer service. And they also want to know where their shipment is along the way, so offering them shipment tracking will help put them at ease.
On the lighter side, I came across this video showing how Puma managed to “speed up” their customers’ shopping experience at one of their flagship stores. The catch is simple : The faster you make your purchase, the more discounts you get on the items you are buying. Enjoy!
(Video source : Creativity-online.com)
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