The Top 4 Obstacles to a Successful Online Customer Experience

John Thompson

In the first quarter of 2016, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that total e-commerce sales added up to 72% report facing challenges in checkout abandonment. These challenges manifest as specific obstacles to the customer experience which are easily identifiable and rectified with the right tools. When a company can see the exact moment or feature that is turning customers away, they have an opportunity to fix it, which in turn improves revenue.

The following obstacles are the most common ones for both customers and retailers in e-commerce customer experience, and are the easiest to address after discovery with a customer experience analytics solution.

Payment Difficulties

The problem here is twofold. First, alongside the growth of e-commerce, there has been an incredible rise in the number of payment methods to support. There’s no longer simply a choice between Visa, Discover, or MasterCard. Now, in addition to these, there are options like pre-paid gift cards, ApplePay, PayPal and its various competitors—even Bitcoin is now on the table. Supporting these different payment methods can be challenging, which is where the second problem comes in.

Customers no longer have any patience for payment issues, and with so many forms of payment to support, the linkages between e-commerce providers, payment methods, and banks can be shaky. Something as simple as a software update may cause your application to reject payments from certain vendors. In other cases, cross-border transactions have been identified as an area of particular concern. If your payment portal rejects a customer’s preferred payment method, either correctly or in error, you may lose up to 12% of customers who experience this issue.

Form Fields

Have you ever been upset when a barista spells your name wrong on a coffee cup? People with less-than-usual names can experience similar issues on e-commerce sites, but these experiences can be much more serious than spelling your name with a C instead of a K. As an example, let’s imagine that you’re one of those individuals who are blessed with a hyphenated surname. What happens if the “name” field on your site’s checkout page refuses to accept hyphens as an input?

Other problems might include zip codes, as US and Canadian versions are formatted differently, phone numbers, addresses, and any other situations where a form might reject certain inputs as non-standard. This opens a particular can of worms for e-commerce sites, as being too lenient with inputs leaves applications vulnerable to what’s known as a cross-site scripting (XSS) attack. In this situation, a hacker can fill up inputs with functional HTML or JavaScript code, which goes on to embed itself in the application’s database. From a marketing and sales perspective, this can also result in having users input “dummy” data, which is effectively useless.

Form acceptance isn’t the only issue. Research from the Baymard Institute shows that 28% of mobile sites force customers to provide redundant information. Making customers tediously retype their address and contact information is a surefire way to make them abandon their orders, especially on mobile devices.

Search Issues

You can’t buy what you can’t find. For e-commerce sites, there is a paramount need to capture users’ preferred search terms within their applications. First of all, there’s the syntax issue. If your users are searching for “flip flops” within your application, but your search function only throws up results when users type in “sandals,” that’s a problem. Research suggests that this particular problem—where search engines don’t recognize synonyms—affects 70% of the top 50 e-commerce sites.

A customer experience analytics solution will identify what customers are searching for most frequently and alert a company to include vernacular and slang terms they may not have thought to include, but that their customers are using. Analyzing search queries and corresponding results also reveals the lack or excess of inventory. If people are searching at increased rates for a particular product, a company should anticipate an increase in orders.

Business Logic Issues

Underneath the surface of every application, a complex decision tree helps guide customers through the purchasing process. This discipline, known as business logic, is a complicated field of study that’s worthy of its own series of articles. Well-designed business logic, for example, might be designed to detect that a customer has been browsing a category without making a purchase—and thus automatically offer a discount code in order to inceltivize their business.

Business logic failures can result in a number of bad outcomes for e-commerce customer experience, including:

  • Quantities in the cart failing to increment if more than one of the same item is added.
  • Failing to tell the customer which specific item in their cart is out of stock, leading to confusion.
  • For airlines, preventing customers from paying for flights because the backend doesn’t think their fares exist.

Preventing business logic issues is sometimes about unknotting the places where it can crash. Using a customer experience analytics solution such as UserReplay, enterprises can understand where business logic goes wrong. By flagging the areas where users struggle, organizations can target the most pressing areas of faulty business logic for an emergency fix.

Providing a Consistent e-Commerce Customer Experience Begins with Customer Experience Analytics

Customers expect a flawless experience when ordering online, but not every e-commerce provider has the tools, knowledge, or experience to identify the gaps beforehand. A successful e-commerce enterprise listens to their customers, identifies pain points, and tweaks their experience accordingly. With UserReplay, enterprises have the tools to identify and drill down into the issues that arise, and unpick the origins of a frustrating e-commerce customer experience. By mining this data, enterprises can ensure customer satisfaction and recapture revenue that would otherwise have been lost through attrition.

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