December 2013

 What Drives Great Customer Experience in E Commerce and Why the Hierarchy of Needs Matters


Posted @ 1300:00 on 12 December 2013


We asked online purchasers to review their online shopping experiences in the last 12 months and asked them to choose the top 3 contributors to a great overall experience.

The infographic shows some of these findings and provides directional guidance as to which customer touch points are the most important in the customer journey and how we should prioritise our improvement programmes.

As we strive to improve consistency across  devices and channels it is clear not all touch points are as important as each other and issues should be fixed in a set order.


Top Contributors to Great Customer Experience


In summary online shoppers want E commerce retailers to:

 • Keep  promises Three quarters chose Order Delivered When Promised as the top 3 contributor to great customer experience and almost half choose accurate product images and descriptions as a top 3 contributor

• Make It Easy  More than half chose Easy to Use Website as a top 3 contributor. Around a quarter chose easy to purchase across mobile and tablet devices and a quarter chose Free Returns . Around a fifth chose a fast website. The idea of Making it easy can be extended to for example : easy to return and easy to connect with customer service

• Communicate  Pro-actively A quarter chose Regular automatic updates about progress of order as a top 3 contributor  and around a fifth chose Customer service team responds quickly and efficiently

• Make it entertaining and engaging  Few actually chose a fun website for example as a top 3 contributor but we can hypothesise this will be come an important differentiator once basic needs are met

The 2013 ComScore UPS Online shopper Customer Experience study shows similar themes and concluded

"Online shoppers want to see the most improvement in the check-out, delivery and post-purchase phases. While free or discounted shipping is highly valued by consumers, easy returns and exchanges and the flexibility to choose delivery dates also play a key role".


In a separate online survey we commissioned we found 24% claimed one or more of their online orders in the last 12 months were not delivered when promised.


Breaking Promises and The Cost of Failure

So given, keeping promises is a key contributor to the overall customer experience, what is the cost of failing in the key area of Delivery?

Breaking promises leads to brand reputation damage and lost sales

• 60% of consumers fully or partly blamed the retailer

• 15% shopped less with the retailer as a result

• 17% told others about their experiences

We estimate the rough direct financial cost of losing customers could be as high as 5% of total sales and higher still if calculated in terms of customer life time value . In addition the brand reputation costs need to be estimated.

We would encourage retailers to make their own calculations as this would guide the cost benefit analysis of improving logistics and delivery. It is clear many retailers are selecting courier partners and investing in systems purely on the basis of cost and at the expense of quality.


The Future of Customer Experience

So what  does the future hold for delivering a great customer experience in Ecommerce?

Surely it has to be more than about logistics and delivery? How much have things really changed much since the first book was shipped by Amazon in July 1995?

There is clear evidence of a hierarchy of needs. Basic needs must be met before features linked to higher level needs are considered and appreciated

Although best in class online retailers have delivery covered the majority don't yet. The evidence for this is that consumers are still choosing delivery as the most popular top 3 contributor to overall  customer experience 18 years after Amazon shipped their first book.

It is easy to see why click and collect type services are growing in popularity as they put the customer in greater control.

A  recent key objective of many retailers has been to create an engaging personalised web experience rich in content and refreshed regularly. In addition there is a desire to move away from broadcast communications to a dialogue approach using social media and integrating with other channels. All these can be a contributor to a great customer experience as they are linked to higher level needs  such as recognition and social engagement

It is likely however that big investments planned in these areas will under-perform whilst issues remain with the fundamental building blocks  of great customer experience described earlier






Online Poll of Online Shoppers Dec 2013

Q1 Sample 104. Other questions sample size 50 or more



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