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4 Ways eCommerce Improves the Customer Experience

July 21, 2016

Category: B2B eCommerce

Did you wake up last night in a cold sweat, sit bolt upright and cry out for yet another earnest blog post on Customer Experience? Me neither.

However — you knew there was a however coming — in the past week I’ve talked to two Four51 customers who were miffed that one of their customers hadn’t adopted online ordering of print and promo products. “They just never used it.” Like it was fate.

This is a curiosity to me, because eCommerce properly conceived, built, launched, and enhanced offers some universal benefits, and those should yield improved an customer experience.

Here are 4 ways an online ordering system improves the customer experience:

The Gift of Time

All of your customers value their time. By providing an online ordering system, you prove to your customers that you value their time too. It doesn’t matter where they are. Could be the airport waiting for the delayed inbound flight from LaGuardia, could be the sidelines on the soccer field.

Your ordering portal doesn’t take vacation or sick-days, and it doesn’t care if your customer is using a smartphone, tablet or desktop. Because your online storefront is always on, it accommodates your customers’ schedules. This market force is so powerful it forced stuffy, stodgy banks to expand their lobby hours AND offer online banking.

It’s Accurate

A good online ordering interface is user friendly and streamlined. It prevents mistakes by eliminating many human touch-points, always sources of miscommunication and error. (Ease-of-use can be its own reward, but that’s a topic for another day.)

People Like to Speak Out

Online ordering systems should allow customers to rate your offerings, provide general feedback and even communicate with you directly with messaging options. When you give customers a say, they feel valued and they are more likely to believe that you are invested in the relationship. Let them be heard!

Mirror, Mirror…

An eCommerce system is a powerful database of user behavior. Make sure your customer knows that. Your internal sponsors need ammunition, and you have it at your fingertips. So share it. Bring them insights like this:

  • The eastern region sales team is slow to adopt. Let’s do another training webcast.
  • We’re getting a lot of requests for window clings. We could have those on the site in a week!
  • Shockingly, no one is ordering the XXXXL puce-purple-brown sweater vest. Let’s put it in clearance and then not re-order.
  • Partners in Europe are requesting a downloadable version of the new brochure with Euros as the currency.

Now and then, after discussing these benefits with customers, I hear this: But my customers like to talk to me on the phone.

Hmmmm. About what? I ask. Precious phone time should be used for strategy, for topics that are intellectually challenging and require real-time interaction. It shouldn’t be used for:

  • Placing an order
  • Changing an order
  • Tracking an order
  • Asking about inventory levels

…or other routine requests that are best handled by an eCommerce system. If these topics do require a phone call, they should be focused on managing exceptions.

Online ordering improves your entire business. It’s a better way to receive orders. It’s also a better way for your customers to place orders. The right eCommerce experience makes all of your customers more satisfied. Who wouldn’t be happy with more speed, accuracy, influence and information?