It’s been 25 years since the first webpage went live on the internet. On 6 August 1991, Tim Berners-Lee inaugurated a one-page website (text only) that provided information on the World Wide Web project. It took a while for businesses to start to harness the internet’s commercial potential. AT&T posted the first online banner ad ever on HotWired.com in October 1994, promoting seven museums. The rest, as they say, is history. Amazon and eBay (then known as AuctionWeb) appeared on the scene in 1995, and e-commerce has since become a routine way for people worldwide to purchase goods and services.
For your e-commerce business to succeed, you obviously need satisfied customers. E-commerce is becoming increasingly competitive and your customers will quickly find an alternative if they become unhappy with your service. Here are a few tips to help you keep your customers happy, engaged and purchasing your goods or services.
Remember who’s the boss
Always treat your customers as if they are your bosses, as you really do work for them. Both your pay cheque and your bottom line depend on having satisfied customers. A study in the Harvard Business Review found that increasing your customer retention by 5% can result in profits increasing by as much as 25%.
A customer-centric business culture can go a long way in keeping your customers happy. Always thank your customers for their business – never take them for granted.
Be sure you respond to customer concerns quickly. If possible, have a live chat function available on your website to expedite problem-solving. Prepare email templates to address common problems so that you can respond to your customers quickly. Keep your customers informed if you can’t resolve a problem on the first interaction to keep their frustration to a minimum.
Surprise your customers with freebies on occasion. You can have limited-time promotions that offer upgraded shipping, free shipping or free samples. Everyone likes freebies, and it’s a relatively inexpensive way to generate goodwill and keep your customers satisfied.
Make your site customer-friendly
Make it easy for your customers to find answers to their questions without having to contact customer service. A robust FAQ page saves time for both your customers and your customer service staff, and both will appreciate it.
Make it easy for customers to find their order history and place repeat orders for those items. Simplify your check-out process. A complicated check-out process is one of the main reasons customers abandon their online shopping carts; customers who abandon their shopping carts are unlikely to return to your site.
Optimize website performance
Shoppers expect websites to load in three seconds or less. If it takes four to seven seconds to load, most customers will be unhappy, and some will leave before waiting for the site to load completely. If it takes eight seconds or more, most will leave and may never return. Monitor your page speed loading time so you can take prompt corrective action if your website’s performance starts to deteriorate.
Your business cannot survive without customers, so do everything you can to keep them satisfied.