What an E Commerce Customer Wants2Ever wonder what your ecommerce consumer would tell you is an essential customer-centric functionality on your site that they can’t live without?

Well, now they have. Internet Retailer reports that the top three customer service features online consumers want to see in your ecommerce site are:

  1. Tracking delivery.
  2. Online chat or instant messaging.
  3. Video demos of product assembly or installation.

Here’s the chart with percentages to give you an idea of the level of importance assigned to each feature:

What an E Commerce Customer Wants

In the chart above from Internet Retailer, tracking delivery clearly leads by a landslide with online chat and instant messaging following as a distant second and video demos taking third place. A quick look at each of these customer service features gives an insightful look at what ecommerce shoppers value.

  1. Tracking Delivery. Ecommerce consumer translation: Where’s my stuff? Better yet, don’t make me ask YOU about where my stuff is at. Let me know when my order ships and then I will track it to the point of delivery without bugging your customer service reps. Ecommerce insight: Tracking delivery is critical to ecommerce success because while ecommerce is growing in popularity, consumers are still used to paying for something and then being able to hold that item. In ecommerce, they don’t get to hold anything until delivery, so give them a quick and painless way for them to see where their stuff is at throughout all the stages of ecommerce.
  2. Online chat or instant messaging. Ecommerce consumer translation: Don’t leave me hanging! And please don’t make me pick up the phone! Ecommerce insight: Being able to reach out to a human being during the ordering process is essential as ecommerce is a fairly isolated transaction. Where a customer in a traditional brick-and-mortar store can hunt down a sales associate to ask questions, this isn’t readily available in most online scenarios. That said, having chat or instant messaging available allows them to tap a customer service person on the shoulder without picking up the phone. (The no phone part is a critical factor I think, but by no means should you omit your toll-free customer service number from your site because of you have a chat feature. Not everyone will want to use chat or IM to engage with you.)  
  3. Video demos of product assembly or installation. Ecommerce consumer translation: How does this stuff work? Ecommerce insight: It’s a fact that it is easier for a consumer to make a purchase when he or she can touch or interact with the object they are considering purchasing. In ecommerce, this ability is stripped away from the buying process leaving consumers with a lot of unanswered questions about how a product works, what a particular button does, what the bottom side of the object looks like, etc. You can help your consumer overcome this hurdle by providing robust product demonstration videos including guided tours of how a product works, specific instructions on how to complete assembly or installation, or even glossier “product marketing” videos that enhance the shoppers understanding of how to interact with the product. 

Depending on your business and ecommerce model, you may find that not all three of these features are a fit for your ecommerce initiative, but I am pretty confident that at least one if not two would perfectly enhance your ecommerce shopper’s buying experience and improve customer loyalty while boosting sales.

To learn more about how to maximize the success of your ecommerce site, download the white paper, B2B Ecommerce Success – Seven Questions to Consider When Beginning an Ecommerce Initiative.