What's the worst area of customer experience in e-commerce?

by Philip Webb on 20 January 2012

In our recent Retail multichannel customer experience report, we found that nearly all of the brands we researched performed poorly in their communications with the customer after a purchase has been made and the product has been delivered. It was the lowest scoring guideline in the report with an average of 1.5 points out of 5.

Keeping in contact following a sale is a really important and useful tool for retention, repeat purchases and customer loyalty. Customers are more likely to buy with the company again provided they’re satisfied with their purchase and the level of service (i.e. the ordering experience and delivery.)

Most companies evaluated in the report just offered blanket, un-targeted offer emails or repeated requests to review the purchased item. Customers will only place product reviews on a website if they’re sufficiently motivated by a positive or negative experience, not because they’re sent reminder emails. This represents a lost opportunity to really engage with customers, to build a personal rapport with them.

There’s a lot more companies could be doing that would be beneficial to them and improve the brand experience for their customers:

  • To suggest other items which are complementary e.g. these shirts to go with trousers recently purchased
  • To show the purchased product in context with other products i.e. to showcase a particular look in a room or outfit worn by a model
  • To offer alternative products if customers have returned items
  • Other customers also bought these products
  • Other books by the same author, products by the same designer
  • Content that reaffirms customer taste having bought a certain product e.g. bright pinks are this season’s colour
  • Chances to buy accessories
  • Offers and discounts that can be used with your next purchase

These aren’t new ideas. We’ve done lots of research at Webcredible that demonstrates that customers prefer targeted recommendations. The technology exists and yet the follow-up communication appears not to have moved on from shot-in-the-dark newsletters.

If you’re a retailer we would be really interested to know what you are doing and how you go about your after sales communications! Has anyone got some good examples of best practice after-delivery communications?

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