Following recent studies suggesting that internet sales in Britain will top £7 billion, compared with £5.5 billion last year (Interactive Media in Retail Group), customer management specialist RightNow Technologies has offered advice to retailers about how they can help their customers have a relaxing online shopping experience and, as a result, encourage customer loyalty and ultimately profit.
Online shopping is perceived to be the least stressful way of completing the Christmas shopping, but in reality many sites are still not getting it right for their customers. With online shopping increasing in popularity, RightNow has offered a number of top tips to provide an excellent customer experience.
First, provide self-service as customers need to get knowledge when they want it – even on Christmas Day. Make sure the site is easy to navigate and the Frequently Asked Questions section is not just a static portal of data.
In addition, retailers need to ensure that their site is clearly marked with the availability of products and information such as how long delivery will be. In terms of the order process, online retailers need to ensure that the order process is transparent so customers know how many steps they have left, enabling them to gauge how long the process is going to take.
Other advice includes providing knowledge that is relevant to each page and a live chat capability to a customer help centre.
“At the busiest time of the year, with less than 24 online shopping days to go, even well known stores are still not getting their online presence right. Customers now expect a higher level of service and competitors are just one click away,” said Wayne Foncette, RightNow’s VP of UK & Ireland.
The advice comes after a US survey which showed that the majority of online shoppers trying to purchase a holiday will leave a website after no more than three unsuccessful attempts.
According to the survey from web application experience management company Gomez, which polled more than 1,000 online holiday shoppers, more than nine out of 10 shoppers will abandon an online store after three or fewer unsuccessful experiences to complete a purchase. Three out of four shoppers said that websites generally load too slowly, and more than half said they would turn to a competitor's site when that happens.
Online sales during the lucrative Christmas holiday period in November and December are projected to reach an estimated $24.3 billion.