Ultimate Guide For E-Commerce Communication With Customers


Ultimate Guide For E-Commerce Communication With Customers


Just like in any other business, communication is the foundation of everything. Communication inside a company directly influences how successful this company’s team works and, therefore, impacts the success of the business.


However, it’s also important to remember about external communication, one that happens between the company and its clients. Hence, here’s the ultimate guide for e-commerce communication with customers.


Why Is Good Communication Important?


Before you start improving your communication strategy, it’s worth understanding why communication is so vital in the first place. Here are just some reasons why good communication is important:


• It helps you create and maintain a particular brand image and establish yourself as an authority in your niche.


• It allows you to build a lasting relationship with your customers and convert one-time into returning customers.


• It aids you in growing your customer base as happy clients spread the word about your company and bring more customers.


#1 Evaluate Your Current Communication


First and foremost, you need to evaluate your current communication. If your team is poorly handling customer support at the moment, you will need to work on your strategy before you make any upgrades to your communication. Here are some of the biggest issues your e-commerce communication can have:


• You are only using a single channel for communication and your customers don’t know how to reach out to you (or have issues doing so).


• Your customer response speed is very low, and your clients are often complaining about not having their issues resolved on time.


• You don’t have a loyal customer base and you aren’t a competitive brand in your niche.


• Your customer support agents don’t provide personalized customer experiences to your clients.


• Your team is somewhat chaotic when it comes to handling returns, refunds, exchanges, shipping, and so on.


#2 Use Different Communication Channels


If you identified any of the issues above with your own communication strategy, then you should take the necessary steps to resolve the problem. The first thing to consider is which channels you use for communication. One or two channels are simply not enough, and you need to be able to offer multichannel communication and customer support. Here are the channels to start from:


• Offer 24/7 customer support via phone and email. These are by far two of the best channels for communication that are usually preferred both by companies and by customers.


• Install either live chats or chatbots on your website. Live chats will cost you more, but they are better in every way because they allow you to deliver personalized customer experiences.


• Set up social media profiles and communicate with customers there. Social media platforms are great both for offering customer support and for making important announcements (for announcements, you can also use email).


#3 Increase Customer Response Speed


Another major issue e-commerce businesses usually have is low customer response speed. After a customer leaves a request via your support form on the website or when they send a message to your social media account, they expect to hear back from you as soon as possible. The best way to do this is to have a strict protocol on how to act in such situations.


Set up teams for each of your communication channels or have a single team handle all of them. Create rules for responding to customer requests and have all your customer support agents follow these rules closely. Consider setting up notifications for every channel so that no request goes unanswered.


#4 Take Responsibility for Mistakes


Even after all the precautions and all the rules you set up, there will still be mistakes from your side. To avoid losing face, most businesses will put out very serious and formal statements about the incident at hand. These statements are often worded in a way that removes all responsibility from the business.


However, this is not always the right thing to do, especially when it comes to communication. If your team messed up in some way, sometimes it’s better to actually take responsibility and acknowledge that there was a mistake on your end. A customer support agent can simply announce this to the customer who was wronged and then proceed to take the necessary steps to solve the issue.


#5 Deliver Personalized Customer Experiences


Most customers nowadays expect to receive personalized treatment because that has become somewhat of a default rather than a perk. That’s exactly why you should be delivering personalized customer experiences through every communication channel you use. Here are just some things to keep in mind about delivering such experiences:


• Train your agents to ask relevant questions. This way, they will be able to quickly find out what the customer needs and what their situation is.


• Keep extensive documentation of your existing customers. An agent should be able to check who they are the second they know the customer’s name, email, or other data.


• Send out special bonuses, discounts, gift cards, and offers. This shows how much you care about your customers, even if they have only shopped at your store once before.


#6 Train Agents to Become Better


As mentioned above, training your customer support agents is one of the ways you can improve your team and, therefore, your communication. The better your agents know what they are doing, the more high-quality support they can deliver.


It’s also important to remember that training is not a one-time thing. To truly make your customer support agents the best they can be, you need to train them regularly and help them upgrade their skill-sets. Give them opportunities to grow professionally, and they will gladly take them.


#7 Request Feedback to Improve Further


Last but not least, perhaps the best way to understand the issues with your e-commerce communication is to ask your customers directly about it. Request feedback from your clients to help you improve even further by addressing the issues they have with your communication right now.


Much like with training, requesting feedback is not a one-time thing and needs to be done regularly. You can send out surveys and even set up a feedback form on your website. You can also ask customers to rate the support they received (via phone or live chat, for example) right after their issue has been resolved.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, e-commerce communication is essential, much like anything else you do with your online commerce business. With proper communication, you should be able to have a good relationship with your customers and maintain a positive brand image long-term. Use this guide to help you create your own strategy for e-commerce communication and use it to your own benefit.

Author Bio:

Marcy Hendrix is a freelance writer and author of many articles. She currently works as an editor at a website that reviews writing services for students https://www.writingjudge.com/. Mostly she writes about business, self-growth, etc. In her free time, she plays musical instruments and tennis

How to Overcome Prominent E commerce Challenges


How to Overcome Prominent E-commerce Challenges


The E commerce industry continues to make leaps and bounds as more and more shoppers prefer to purchase goods and services online.


Covid-19 also made an impact since brick-and-mortar stores had to close down indefinitely because of the pandemic.


The time to start an eCommerce venture night is as good as it gets. However, if you decide to try your luck, prepare to come up against certain challenges that might be difficult to overcome.


Let’s take a look at some of the examples of what will likely hurt your chances of succeeding in the eCommerce industry and how to turn the odds in your favor.


Reliance on Suppliers


Most newcomers are unlikely to invest in their own manufacturing equipment. Instead, they go with the dropshipping business model and rely on suppliers. The problem is that finding a supplier you can trust is not that easy.


For example, if you wish to make your own t-shirt store where you sell custom t-shirts, you will already have to spend money on hiring a designer and promoting the store. Extra resources for a supplier that can produce and deliver quality t-shirts will put even more of a toll on the business.


When looking for a supplier, make sure you end up collaborating with the best you can get. Ask them for examples, research little details, and seek feedback from prior or current partners.


Competitive Market

Competitive Market

Over 2 billion people purchased goods and services online in 2020. Given how popular ecommerce is, it is natural to expect competition even in markets that have pretty low interest.


When you are researching the available markets to pick a niche for yourself, try to pick an idea that is not too competitive. Newcomers that lack the experience and funds to promote their ecommerce business will struggle to find a place in a market that has plenty of established brands.


Cyber security


Security breaches are another thing that causes online business owners a headache. It is true those small-time online stores are unlikely to be targeted by malicious people, but you cannot predict when and if someone might strike.


Ecommerce deals with a lot of data, including personal customer information. Make sure to keep up with the latest cyber security threats and use the necessary tools, such as security plugins to protect your business from potential cyber-attacks.


Customer Experience and Loyalty


Since customers have so many shops to choose from, retaining customers might prove to be harder than one might expect.


Loyalty is not that common when it comes to shopping online. Unless a store offers exceptional customer support and flexibility while shopping, it should not expect too much loyalty.


If you are looking for that perfect customer, it would probably be better to discard the idea and take a different approach.


Think of ways to improve customer experience in general. Even if you lack the resources, you can start slow. Implementing simple features, such as multiple payment options or writing an in-depth FAQ page to provide customers with answers to questions they might have. If you have a social media page that receives many queries, have someone who can respond to these queries.


Publishing feedback from previous shoppers is also something an online store should have. When someone is browsing products, they are more likely to base their decision after reading customer reviews below a product’s description. A plethora of positive reviews is a good sign, and it should encourage future shoppers to spend their money.


Later on, you should look to hire enough customer support reps to fill the time slots and have it running 24/7.


The bottom line is that each little thing that improves the overall customer experience will help a business to attract new customers and retain the regulars.


Price and Shipping

Price and Shipping

Some argue that traditional retail stores are doomed because shopping online is more convenient. The prices seem to be lower as well, and you get the goods delivered to your door.


However, the problem with price and shipping is that newcomers might struggle to determine their prices in a way that is fair for the customers but also not low enough for the business profits.


Shipping is also not as easy as one might think. You need to keep constant tabs and stay in touch with your shipping company to solve various delivery issues. More often than not, you will likely need to hire a dedicated person who will manage product shipping from your end.


Returns and Refunds


Returns and refunds are annoying, but they are a part of the ecommerce business. Some customers will be unhappy with the products they receive; others will get goods that do not fit and ask for a replacement.


As someone who owns an online business, you need to make peace with the fact that you will encounter customers demanding refunds and returning the goods.

The Role of SMS Marketing in Ecommerce


The Role of SMS Marketing in Ecommerce


The new competitive standard in eCommerce is to reach consumers across channels. Brands are making every effort to meet consumers “where they’re at” (whether searching for products on Amazon or idly scrolling through social feeds), and also to better use key channels of communication to build deeper relationships.


Two of the longest-standing forms of business-to-consumer communication, which continue to be the most effective, are email and SMS. Email communications in eCommerce average a 16% open rate, while SMS messages are opened 99% of the time. In other words, the more personal and in-hand communications are always those that get more views.


Does SMS play a role in ecommerce? Yes—and on every level of the sales funnel. Big-scale sales online have to be automated as much as possible, and SMS bulk messaging provides an invaluable tool to automate messaging that still feels personal. The experience for consumers is similar to the live chat interfaces that have become even more popular recently, but is still perceived as more “human” than the anonymous interactions with AI-powered chatbots.


Another added benefit of using SMS in ecommerce is that not many businesses are doing it.


People are acutely conditioned to respond to the vibrations and chimes of their cellphones. As a result, there are multiple roles that SMS marketing can play in ecommerce funnels, though the use does change from the top of the funnel to the bottom. Keep reading to see what role SMS can play each step of the way!


SMS for Top of Funnel


The top of the funnel is where leads come in. Naturally, brands won’t have those users’ mobile numbers to send direct messages just yet, but the potential for personalized SMS technology in this stage of the sales process still exists.


One of the first interactions users tend to have with a brand comes in the form of questions. Whether they type a search string into the search bar on your site or open a chat feature to ask you something, these are actions that require immediate response for the user to proceed with the purchase. Added SMS capabilities at this stage of interaction have a huge impact on conversions and abandoned carts.


SMS helps you cast a wider net to capture leads, too. There are still those consumers who aren’t using smartphones, although they’re the minority now. Having the option to reach out through SMS gives brands a competitive advantage over those who aren’t SMS enabled, because just about every consumer can be reached (including those without smartphones).


With push notifications, geofencing, and other technologies, there are even more ways you can reach consumers at the top of the funnel with SMS. Just be sure to brush up on SMS best practices so that your messages never look like SPAM.

Possibilities with SMS for top-of-funnel interactions include:
• Broadcasting to audiences through geofencing
• Personalized event-based notifications
• Two-way conversations and customer service

Keep brainstorming, and you’ll see even more opportunities. SMS messaging at this stage of the funnel feels so hyper-personalized that you can bring your leads that much faster from top to bottom.


SMS for Middle of Funnel


The ad practice of remarketing is what helps re-engage the 98% of users who don’t convert when they first discover a product or service online. Most of those users are simply browsing options, or simply happened upon a page idly. Conversion on the first visit to an eCommerce site makes up the minority by a long shot.


Of those users who trigger remarketing display ads once they navigate away, three of five users notice the ads and remember them. Then, a quarter of those users even say they enjoy seeing personalized content based on products they’ve viewed previously.


While those numbers are encouraging (and make the case quite clear for remarketing efforts), SMS can be an even more effective channel to achieve the same thing. While 99% of SMS are seen within 24 hours, 97% are seen within the first 15 minutes of delivery. This means that as soon as a user navigates away and abandons a cart, immediate feedback can be sent through the one channel where they’re bound to read the message right away.


While conversions through SMS are high (especially when sending offers and immediate-action incentives), an eCommerce brand also has to make sure that the user experience (UX) on their site and marketplace listings are optimized. Otherwise, people will open the SMS almost immediately but then navigate to a page that’s unattractive or frustrating to use, and the benefits of the SMS push are immediately lost. Learn what unique control eCommerce sales enable in optimized UX (from web design to how you manage your product data), even on those marketplaces where you aren’t the owner of the site.


The middle of the funnel is where potential customers are qualified. The utility of SMS at this stage of the sales process include:

• Greater value out of latent, “just-looking” traffic through real-time offers
• More interactive and personalized customer support
• Prevention of shopping cart abandonment
• Marketing for special occasions

SMS for Bottom of Funnel


Here is where consumers arrive at that final “buy” button.


The role SMS plays at the bottom of the sales funnel is inherently linked to superior customer service. If you don’t like picking the phone up to call a business, you’ll understand, because that’s the trend in consumer behavior, too. SMS is what your customers want. They’re on their phones but want the distance and ease of a simple message, and this is where eCommerce businesses need to be.


Of course, you’re past the questions and customer service phase once you reach the bottom of the funnel. This is the step where traffic turns into actual customers. As a result, the kinds of campaigns using SMS change, too. Specific applications of SMS at the bottom of the funnel include:

• Getting more customer feedback and reviews
• Giving real-time updates on order status
• Providing onboarding and welcome messages
• Providing other post-purchase updates

Overall, use of SMS improves customer approval at the bottom of the funnel. Customers feel taken care of and get greater satisfaction from their purchases. SMS can also bring you a bigger return on each purchase because the power of “social proof” and the constant flow of positive reviews can be automated with SMS triggers that give customers the one-click satisfaction of leaving you five stars.


Beyond the Funnel…


Sales don’t stop at the bottom of the funnel. You want to continue marketing to existing customers so that they come back for more, too. They’ve already proven that they’re interested. You even have all their contact information. The most natural next step is to make that relationship even deeper.


Further developing the relationships you have is more efficient through SMS due to message open rates plus the name recognition your brand already has with the audience. In the face of the “new normal” and the trends that have recently impacted eCommerce, customer acquisition has become less about price and more about ease of communication. This positions brands using SMS well ahead of the curve.


Adding SMS to your marketing quiver starts with choosing which service to enlist. There are plenty to choose from, so you can shop for the SMS provider who is best equipped to partner with you for a strategy specific to your brand. Start with a consultation with HSPSMS today.


Author Bio


The following blog was written by guest author Alex Borzo, a content contributor at Amber Engine, a software company passionate about eCommerce. The company’s fast and simple PIM software gets sellers, distributors and brands to Amazon and other online marketplaces in weeks instead of months.