When it comes to identifying areas of opportunity on our websites, we have to consider our customers. What do they expect from us? Many times, meeting expectations can be key to turning visitors into customers.
When it comes to eCommerce customer expectations, there are three areas we should focus our attention on in general: Transparency, ease of use, and value.
When it comes to both online and offline storefronts, trust is important. If a customer can’t bring themselves to trust your company or products, they most likely won’t buy from you. In a brick-and-mortar store customers may wonder where or how your products or made, or ponder about your return policies and general customer service. If such questions can’t be answered by the documentation around your store nor your employees, customers may not trust the store enough to do business with you.
Be clear with your policies and processes
Similar to retail customers, online customers share the same concerns. Instead of looking for a poster by the register or an employee to talk to, they expect documentation on your site to ease their concerns. Your return policy, shipping methods, fees, and privacy measures should all be available for customers to see. This transparency will allow customers to understand what the process, benefits and potentials risks are when dealing with your company.
Make sure your products & services are detailed and accurate
Another aspect of transparency is your products. In a physical store front, customers can physically interact with products and ask questions as they go, but for eCommerce stores, customers have less opportunity to ask questions and in general have a shorter attention span. It is important that our product descriptions, images, and stock information are accurate and detailed enough to make our products or services tangible.
Offer a way to contact your company
Even the best sites may not be able to fully answer every question a potential customer may have. The next step for an interested but confused customer would be to contact your company. How can they reach you? It is important to have contact page that is up-to-date and offers multiple avenues of communication for customer service. If your company is quite large, it may not be reasonable to talk to all customers directly. In that case, a chat bot may help answer common questions and hand-off users to someone who can answer the rest.
Ease of use
Customer’s don’t want shopping to be a hassle. The more inconvenient it is to peruse your store, find what they are looking for, and pay for your product, the more likely it is that they will never buy from your business again. The same applies for our online shops: we need to make it as easy as possible to find what they want and buy it.
Optimize your navigation from start to finish
Since shopping online isn’t new, customers may have high expectations when it comes to navigating your online shop. Your website design should be intuitive to use, meaning that the placement of your buttons, call to actions (CTAs), links, and so forth should be placed where users would expect them to be. For example, the contact us button tends to be placed in the upper right-hand corner of your navigation. Users may look to that location out of habit, and if your contact us page is not there, it may leave them confused. The same applies to other aspects of your site: customers have pre-existing ideas of what they can do and will have to do to buy your products.
Optimizing your navigation is a whole site effort. Navigating your product selection, your cart page, and your checkout process are all important to ensuring that your customer has a good experience with your site.
Make sure your site feels fast
How fast your site feels to a customer can be a make it or break it moment. Customers expect your pages to load in a timely manner. If your pages take too long to load, they may just leave your site entirely. Tracking the speed of your site with metrics such as Google’s  is important to making sure your site is performing well. Beyond load time, the process of going through your site through feel fast as well. How many pages or steps do users have to go through before they arrive at the checkout confirmation page? Keeping things short and sweet will help users feel like its quick and easy to shop at your store.
Consider multiple devices and payment options
When designing a website, we must consider that users may be visiting our site from different locations, and thus different devices. Phones, tablets, desktops, and so forth can easily access your site, and users will expect your site experience to work on the device of their choice. Making sure that your online shop looks good, runs well, and is easy to use across devices is important.
Another aspect to consider is that users may have different preferences on how they purchase or receive their products. Having a variety of payment methods helps you ensure that you can accommodate multiple customers’ preferred method. The same applies to shipping. Having different shipping options can make buying your product an easy decision rather than a disappointment when a customer discovers that they can’t receive your product.
For a customer, the value of your business comes from your ability to solve their pain points. How will your products and services help them? What makes your company stand out? Why should a customer choose your company over another? For many customers, the answers to these questions are expected to be readily available for them as they consider your company.
Explain why customers should do business with you
When a potential customer first arrives at your page, they want to know not only what your business is about, but why they should consider buying from you. Your “why” should be obvious and visible upon landing on your page. Whether it be a CTA in your above the fold content, or descriptions later down the page, customers don’t want to search too far for why your business is valuable.
Another aspect that customers may want to see is why your business is more valuable than other competitors. What makes your business stand out? Sharing what makes your products and services unique can help answer these questions swiftly rather than leaving customers to search for those answers on their own online.
Put customer reviews where visitors will see them
Customer reviews are key to illustrating your business value to customers in a way that is believable and relatable. While we can explain and praise our own value directly to customers on our own, hearing our value shared by real customers can make our business feel real and legitimate.
Want to learn more?
There are many ways that we can better understand what our customers truly want. Check out our blog for more insight on how to optimize your website for more customers. If you want more hands-on guidance for improving your website, join the waitlist for Carrie Saunders’ upcoming course, “The Converting Website.” In this course, she will dive into a variety of important factors that aim to optimize your website.