Customer Expectations for a Modern Online Shopping Experience

Maria Spanicciati

Content Marketer, Gladly

Read Time

7 minute read

The past year has seen an unprecedented explosion in ecommerce sales, as stay-at-home orders and store closures drove a record number of consumers online. And this radical shift in the way consumers do business is likely here to stay—surveys suggest that many consumers plan to keep shopping online more frequently than they ever did in the past.

What this means is that digital commerce is rapidly taking the place of the flagship store—and with more and more shoppers expecting to find what they need online, expectations for stellar online support have never been higher.

Brands that want to make the most of this digital retail revolution need to provide the kind of experience customers not only want, but expect. Check out this quick guide (or watch the video) to help you make a lasting impression on your  online customers and build brand loyalty.

Shoppers want a human touch (even from a distance)

Customers making a purchase online still want support that feels personal and human. And while an increasing number of online shoppers prefer to resolve their issues themselves, an over-reliance on self-service capabilities can easily lead to consumer frustration.

Brands that want to provide their shoppers with the best possible experience will want to balance the efficiency and convenience of self-service options with easy routes to human support. Many consumers still want to talk to a living, breathing human, especially when shopping for friends or family, trying out a new brand for the first time, or contemplating an expensive purchase.

Build brand loyalty by making shopping effortless

It’s not exactly a secret that excellent service drives sales: 82% of consumers say they will spend more money on brands that deliver great online service, and 62% will recommend brands with great service to friends.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to convert first-time shoppers to loyal customers is to ensure that they have a seamless shopping experience. Making sure that your service agents can quickly and knowledgeably answer your customers’ questions is key: most consumers who contact a brand’s support team expect to speak to a knowledgeable expert on the product they’re asking about.

Many consumers also prefer the option to close a sale without needing to exit their chat with a representative. Equipping your support agents with the tools they need to accept payments and close sales during support conversations can smooth the whole shopping process and ensure your customers feel supported and cared for.

Finally, your brand will want support for the channels your customers use. While phone has traditionally been the most popular way to reach service agents, chat and texting are also quickly rising in popularity. Offering native support for chat, texting, or even Facebook and Whatsapp can help your customers feel at home while reaching out for help.

Customers want to feel known and heard

Gladly’s surveys have found that the most frequent customer service frustrations reported by consumers tend to stem from a lack of personalization. Specifically, most online shoppers want service teams to know their name, order number, and purchasing history before a support conversation begins.

No one likes to repeat themselves or answer the same question twice—and being asked to provide the same information over and over can easily make customers feel more like tickets than guests.

On the flip side, offering a truly personal experience to shoppers can help distinguish your brand from the competition. 75% of consumers say they’re more likely to make a purchase from companies that provide personalized recommendations, and 82% of buyers report making repeat purchases from brands that have made them feel known during the shopping process.

Empowering your service agents to make thoughtful recommendations can go a long way toward building brand loyalty. You’ll also want to provide them with the right tech, so they can avoid asking the same questions twice and making customers feel like just another number.

Set your brand apart

As you can see, consumers expect an online shopping experience that’s streamlined, personalized, and human. But many brands are failing to deliver that kind of experience: only 19% of consumers report that customer service currently meets their expectations.

Check out our webinar for tips on how to deliver an excellent online shopping experience for your customers.


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