5 Reasons Human Interaction is Needed in eCommerce
The eCommerce sector is reaping the rewards of a shift in the way we buy our goods and services. Increasingly shunning the high street, today’s consumers can order a weekly shop, a beauty appointment or their car’s MOT with a tap of their fingers. It is often the case, however, that a potential purchase requires advice or assistance from an expert and this personal touch is one of the main reasons why traditional shopping trips are still an important part of our shopping habits. Often, customers can not get the help they require from an online store and this makes them far more likely to look elsewhere. It is important, then, that online retailers do all they can to make human interaction part of their eCommerce equation. Here we explain why:
1) Sometimes a little reassurance is needed
Consumers have to make a series of different decisions whenever they buy a product. These decisions may be based on price, colour or specification and occasionally, especially where high ticket or electrical items are concerned, a little help or reassurance is needed before a decision is made. In a high-street store, there are any number of friendly shop assistants to ask but online this is more difficult. Consider enabling a live chat feature, where a customer can ask a technical question and get an immediate answer that will aid them in their purchase, for example. Also, consider setting up a web monitoring system so that you can ask, “Can I help you?” at just the right moment!
2) Make your customers feel welcome
Many high-street stores employ welcome staff at the door to greet their customers and occasionally hand out freebies. A friendly smile or a “hello there” can really boost the mood of the customer, as well as conveying the trustworthiness of the company. All of this has an impact on whether someone is prepared to spend money in a shop or not and done well, it can be hugely successful. eCommerce sites need to foster this personal touch wherever possible in order to maximise their chances of creating a loyal customer base. Allow people to put faces to names by adding photographs and name labels to live chats, for example. Ensure your web copy is welcoming, friendly and not overly technical, and make the web user feel like an individual, not just a number.
3) Get people talking!
Traditionally, word-of-mouth marketing has always been a vital part of the success of a business. When people receive good service or great products at fair prices, they talk about it. This is certainly true of eCommerce stores too, and the widespread use of social media can send your reputation skyrocketing if you do things well. Ensure you have a presence on Facebook and Twitter so that people can leave great reviews. You could perhaps add a live widget to your main webpage so that visiting customers can see the great experiences that “real” consumers have had at your online store.
4) Problems need to be resolved
In business, problems occur. Parcels get lost, goods become damaged and the wrong product is ordered. That’s just life, but for an online site, it is crucial that a customer can access customer services easily if an issue arises. It’s very straightforward for someone to go back to the shop for a refund but online, things are that bit more difficult. Ensure that your customer service hotline is visible and reply promptly to emails to resolve the problem. If customers need to return items, make sure they can do so easily and free of charge.
5) The devil’s in the detail!
In a shop, a customer can look at the product, touch it and read its specification in detail, allowing them to come to an informed decision before buying. Too many online sites don’t follow this example. If a customer can’t see what they are buying, they are more likely to move on to another site. Ensure you keep your product descriptions engaging and interesting but also detailed enough. Include as many pictures as you can so that the consumer can be as informed as possible before they buy.
Read more about the importance of customer service for eCommerce businesses