eCommerce is an extremely competitive space. Paying attention to these key areas will help businesses drive growth and offer a superior customer experience
In 2022, the online seller base in India has grown by 35% year-on-year, according to a recent study. About 40% of them hail from tier-2 cities, the study found. Clearly, the eCommerce market in India is heating up and it is expected to boom further in the coming years, especially now with the Open Network for Digital Commerce becoming a reality. And although technology has made starting an eCommerce business easy, making it succeed is not easy. It requires a laser-sharp focus on customer satisfaction, backed by the right processes, technology and back-end infrastructure.
Saahil Goel, CEO and Co-founder, Shiprocket said, “Running a successful eCommerce business requires a winning combination of meticulous planning, relentless dedication, and adaptability to the ever-evolving digital landscape. It’s about delivering exceptional customer experiences, leveraging innovative technologies, and building robust logistics and fulfillment strategies. Ultimately, success lies in understanding your target audience, anticipating their needs, and consistently surpassing their expectations. At Shiprocket, we empower eCommerce businesses to thrive by providing seamless shipping solutions, allowing them to focus on what truly matters: delivering value and building lasting relationships with their customers.”
Today’s customers expect fast, reliable, convenient and consistent shopping experiences. To meet these expectations and stay profitable and grow, eCommerce businesses need to focus on many critical functional aspects. Here we list key areas that eCommerce businesses need to focus on for a great customer experience, which in turn, leads to business growth.
- On-site user experience
For eCommerce businesses, the app or their website is their store. Therefore, attention to design, look and feel and most importantly, user experience is critical. Stability of the platform on which the site or app is hosted is fundamental to ensure that the store runs without a hitch considering that eCommerce is a 24/7 business. Delays or errors in loading are a huge turn-off for customers no matter how good the design of the store.
Allocation and discoverability of products is another critical element that needs to be addressed. The online ‘storefront’ or catalogue should be capable of mirroring real-time inventory to ensure no stockouts. The process of buying itself needs to be user-friendly and intuitive.
Last but not least comes checkout, which is an important element of the user experience. User-friendly and seamless checkout processes are crucial for reducing cart abandonment rates. Special attention needs to be paid to the payment process. Various studies have found that online shoppers abandon orders solely because of unpleasant checkout experiences. Conversely, right checkout optimisation strategies can significantly increase conversions. Implementing secure payment gateways, offering multiple payment options, and streamlining the checkout flow can enhance the overall customer experience and prevent loss of revenue.
- Post-purchase experience
Providing practical post-purchase experiences is essential for customer satisfaction and loyalty. This includes timely order fulfillment, transparent shipping and delivery updates, easy return policies, and prompt customer support. Engaging with customers after the purchase can also lead to valuable feedback and repeat orders. A study by Narvar found that 61% of consumers are more likely to make repeat purchases from companies that offer hassle-free return policies. Additionally, 96% of consumers consider shipping and delivery updates important.
- Access to Capital
Capital is the fuel to keep the business running. According to a recent study, 29% of startups in India fail due to a lack of funds. Capital is important not to meet the cost of operations and running a business but also to fuel growth through experimenting with new product lines, marketing, upgrading technology and other growth-focused activities.
- Marketing and communications
“Communication is at the heart of eCommerce and community,” Meg Whitman, President, and CEO of Hewlett-Packard is widely quoted as saying. Effective marketing strategies are crucial for attracting and retaining customers in the competitive eCommerce landscape. Businesses should focus on targeted advertising, personalized messaging, social media engagement, and email marketing campaigns to increase brand awareness, drive traffic, and encourage repeat purchases. According to a report by Campaign Monitor, personalized emails with product recommendations can generate a 760% increase in revenue. All this can be achieved by adopting marketing automation.
It is one thing to be able to offer great products to consumers, ensuring that it reaches them in a proper condition, is a different ball game altogether, fraught with various challenges. Logistics or shipping is an extremely crucial area for an eCommerce business. It is imperative that eCommerce businesses invest in reliable and cost-effective eCommerce shipping solutions that streamline order fulfillment, optimize packaging, and ensure accurate delivery to customers’ doorsteps.
The speed of delivery matters as well. A 2022 Satista survey found that 44% of customers were willing to wait only two days for their order to get delivered. A 2022 PwC survey revealed that 41% of online shoppers are willing to pay extra for same-day delivery.
Fast deliveries have become a business imperative. And if a business needs to improve in this area, they risk losing customers to competitors. McKinsey research shows that when delivery times are too long, almost half of the omnichannel consumers will shop elsewhere.
Tracking is crucial to customer satisfaction. Providing customers with accurate and real-time tracking at every stage helps alleviate anxiety and build trust. eCommerce companies should invest in robust tracking systems that provide updates and notifications to customers, ensuring a smooth and worry-free delivery experience. Whatsapp has emerged as one of the preferred mediums for sharing tracking updates with customers. A powerful pre-ship communication suite with WhatsApp built-in helps reduce return to origin (RTO) losses, enabling an eCommerce business to scale.
- Returns & Refunds
Various studies put the average returns rates for eCommerce between 18-30%. Returns and refunds are an area that can impact business as well as customer satisfaction. Implementing a clear and customer-friendly returns policy, along with a streamlined process for handling returns and issuing refunds, enhances customer satisfaction and builds loyalty. Another linked area is when a product is returned to origin (RTO) due to any reason. RTOs is a major pain point for sellers as it impacts profit margins as per a Nielsen shopper behaviour study, one in every five orders got canceled or returned to the seller, especially during the peak festive season. Processing related refunds become a hassle too as it blocks working capital and impacts cash flows. Ensuring a smooth and fast (about six to seven days) RTO remittance or refund process is good for both sellers as well as consumers.
There are several other aspects that are important to the survival and success of an eCommerce business. However, the areas listed above are at the foundation of a successful, growing eCommerce business.
For more such insights and resources on growing an eCommerce business, attend Shiprocket Shivir – Aapke Unnati ka Saathi at the Pullman, Aerocity, New Delhi on 4th August 2023, a platform where eCommerce businesses will find everything they need to sustain, scale and thrive.