Customer Expectations for a Modern Online Shopping Experience

Maria Spanicciati

Senior Content Marketing Manager, Gladly

Read Time

7 minute read

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Despite most flagship stores and shopping centers reopening in the wake of lifted COVID-19 restrictions, some aspects of the newly-digitized retail industry aren’t reverting to “normal”.

With many companies now offering a robust online shopping experience, consumers are increasingly preferring to keep purchasing from the comfort of their homes.

Digital commerce is rapidly taking the place of the flagship store—and with more and more shoppers expecting to instantly and easily find what they need online, the pressure to keep up with customer expectations with 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. In this guide, Gladly lays out the 4 key areas that brands must address to meet online customer expectations.

Don’t have time to read? Get the details from our recorded webinar.

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.


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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 Gladly’s webinar for tips on how to deliver an excellent online shopping experience for your customers.

About Gladly

Gladly is a customer service platform for digitally-focused B2C companies who want to maximize the lifetime value of their customers. Unlike the legacy approach to customer service software, which is designed around a ticket or case to enable workflows, Gladly enables radically personal customer service centered around people to sustain customer loyalty and drive more revenue.

The world’s most innovative consumer companies like Godiva, JOANN, and TUMI use Gladly to create lasting customer relationships, not one-off experiences.

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