Five Things Your Customers Expect from Your Brand’s Ecommerce Pledge
1. Brand Integrity
Brand integrity should be important to any retailer, but it’s especially crucial in ecommerce because of the fierce competition. Shoppers can find a similar product from one of your competitors with just a few clicks, and they won’t hesitate to do so if they read anything negative about your online store. Knowing this, sellers must be diligent in crafting a brand identity that is trustworthy, honest, and follows through on its promises — in other words, has integrity.
A brand’s reputation makes or breaks its success in today’s landscape full of skeptical consumers. Everywhere they turn, shoppers are inundated with messages about retailers’ high-quality products or amazing returns policies. But if the retailer doesn’t walk the walk, those prospective customers quickly turn sour.
It’s no wonder why 65% of consumers have switched to a different brand after a poor experience. On the other hand, retailers that deliver on their promises build trust and see increased sales. They also naturally nurture customer loyalty and advocacy by providing a good experience, both of which boost your bottom line.
Finally, brand integrity can be a key part of your value proposition. Ecommerce is a cutthroat industry, so standing out from the pack can bring more customers into your corner.
How do you build brand integrity? It doesn’t have to be daunting, and there are plenty of ways to accomplish it. Start with consistency in your branding and messaging across channels, so they match consumer expectations across touchpoints. Be human, be transparent, and be honest, especially when things go wrong. Modern shoppers want to interact with brands that feel accessible, rather than faceless corporate entities.
2. Top Tier Customer Service
Speaking of interacting with customers, modern consumer expectations include top tier customer service from ecommerce brands. Customer service is a major part of the shopping experience, especially if someone has questions or needs to sort out an issue with their order. In many ways, your customer service representatives are the voice of your brand, setting the tone and substantiating your reputation.
Take a look at some of these customer service statistics that prove its importance to any ecommerce pledge:
- 68% of shoppers say they’ll pay more for products from brands with good customer service (Hubspot).
- 86% of consumers will be long-term brand champions if they received good customer service after their first purchase (Khoros).
- 93% of customers will make repeat purchases from companies that offer excellent customer service (Hubspot).
- Consumers who rate a brand’s customer service as “good” are 38% likelier to recommend that brand (Qualtrics).
- 78% of customers have backed out of a planned purchase after a negative customer service experience (American Express).
The foundation of top tier customer service is responsiveness, with speed being a priority for many customers. In today’s on-demand world, consumers expect fast responses that mirror what they see on social media, so start by ensuring each query is acknowledged right away — even if the resolution will take some time. Maintain brand integrity throughout the interaction, and use it as an opportunity to build brand trust. Chances are you’ll win over a customer for life.
3. Understanding Their Needs
Ecommerce inherently lacks the face-to-face interactions shoppers have at traditional stores, but your brand can still meet consumer expectations by catering to their needs. This is the difference between a customer feeling like just another order number and feeling truly understood. Modern consumers just want to feel seen by the companies they’re shopping with, and they’ll become advocates for the brands that make it happen. It’s a win-win.
We’ve written at length about ecommerce personalization, which uses customer information and third-party data to deliver a curated experience to each shopper who visits an online store. Unsurprisingly, this tactic is a proven bottom line booster: 80% of consumers say they’re willing to buy from brands that offer personalized shopping experiences. Seeing handpicked, relevant products not only excites them but also simplifies their shopping and gets them through checkout faster. Guess what else? It makes them feel like your brand understands their needs, too!
Curated product offerings are just one way to employ personalization and show your customers you care. Another targeted example is personalized communication. Consider emailing customers with reminders to purchase a product again so they don’t run out, or send a discount code if they haven’t shopped with you in awhile. With an ecommerce CRM, it’s easy to organize customer information and personalize communication accordingly.
4. Rewards for Loyalty
In today’s crowded ecommerce landscape, shoppers can take their pick of where they want to spend their hard-earned money. Brand loyalty is on the decline because consumers can usually find the products they’re seeking at a lower price, with free shipping or faster delivery, or all of the above from a different online store. But fear not, because there are plenty of reliable strategies to bring your customers back time and time again.
A tried and true way to entice customers to become repeat buyers is to offer rewards for their loyalty. And although this is a tactic to attract customers, retailers will also reap the rewards. For starters, it is easier and cheaper to sell to your loyal base, whereas you only have a 5%-20% chance of selling to brand new prospective customers. More than half of your business comes from your existing customers — if you’re familiar with the 80/20 principle, then you know that 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your base. Why not reward them for their loyalty?
Ecommerce rewards programs come standard with most online brands, but there is enough variety in how they’re structured to choose one that makes the most sense for your business. Some retailers have a points system that lets customers cash in for store credit, while others do exclusive discount events for members only. If you’re still on the fence, check out these statistics on customer loyalty that prove it’s a critical component of ecommerce success.
5. Customer-First Policies
Here’s a shocking statistic: Only 12% of consumers believe companies when they claim to “put the customer first.” Today’s shoppers have been burned by false promises and poor conduct from ecommerce stores, so they’re rightfully skeptical when presented with an unfamiliar brand. However, this means you can wow prospective customers with policies that actually do put them first and make their interactions with your business seamless and pleasant.
How you get your products to and from your warehouse is a massive area of opportunity to cater to your customers. There is overwhelming demand for fast, free shipping, even if there is a spending threshold that unlocks it. And when customers inevitably need to make returns, a hassle-free returns policy gives them peace of mind and confidence to shop with your brand again.
“Try before you buy” policies are popular among furniture, apparel, and even automotive brands, so sellers can build trust and showcase their products’ quality before shoppers open their wallets. Customer feedback policies open a dialogue by directly asking buyers for their opinions and giving them direct access to brands.
Self-service options like chatbots empower customers to troubleshoot and resolve issues at their convenience, rather than waiting to speak to a representative during business hours. There are several ways your online store can put customers first, and you’ll see the benefits every single time.