We've all heard the saying, "The customer is always right." It conveys an important concept that is not only applicable to brick-and-mortar organizations but to e-commerce companies as well, now more so than ever before.
But how can you be sure that your e-commerce business is doing just that? There are several benchmarks that can help businesses gauge how well they are serving their client base. We identify these benchmarks and discuss some potential strategies that can assist your organization in not only meeting these goals, but also exceeding customers' expectations.
"An important concept that is not only applicable to brick-and-mortar organizations but to e-commerce as well, now more than ever."
Let's dive right in and examine the questions company leaders can ask themselves in relation to today's top e-commerce benchmarks:
Does our company have self-service options available?
Although some customers like to be helped during every step of their buying journey, other clients may be more independent, and prefer to help themselves whenever possible. Company leaders must ensure that their online portals support these needs through self-service options that can help shoppers find what they are looking for and complete their purchase.
But self-service does not begin and end with product searches. According to E-Tailing Group's 17th Annual Mystery Shopping Study, today's customers are seeking other self-service information as well. For instance, researchers found that of the 100 businesses surveyed, 83 percent had a FAQs page available, although only 26 percent allowed this document to be searchable. In addition, while 83 percent of businesses listed their customer service hours on their sites in 2013, only 77 percent did so last year.
Customers should be able to easily find the information they are looking for via the FAQs page, and if the details they are seeking are not available here, they should be able to discern how and when they can reach out to the brand for additional assistance.
How can our company define top customers?
According to Bigcommerce contributor Janessa Lantz, there are several benchmarks that can help an organization better identify its top customers. RJMetrics researchers found that last year, top customers:
- Spent five times more per order. The top 1 percent had an average order value of $267 or more. However, the majority of a business's customer base – 90 percent – will have average order values around $54.
- Made four times more purchases. In fact, a company will generate 43 percent of its total revenue from repeat customers like these.
- Spent 30 times more, according to their Customer Lifetime Value. Lantz noted that CLV is an incredibly important metric, and if your organization is not calculating it currently, it should learn to do so immediately.
"If you're still tracking marketing ROI using metrics like cost of customer acquisition or first purchase, this data should make it overwhelmingly obvious that its time to stop," Lantz wrote. "Your customers are not all the same, and you shouldn't be treating them as if they are. Spending $15 on a customer whose lifetime value is $35 probably isn't a great move, spending $15 on a customer whose lifetime value is $1,050 is a no-brainer."
Learn how to calculate CLV here.
"82 percent of businesses offer a universal shopping cart that can be leveraged on any device."
Is our shopping cart easy to use?
Company leaders should also examine their shopping cart capabilities to ensure that this point of the transaction process is easy for customers to utilize. Currently, 82 percent of the businesses that took part in the E-Tailing Group survey offer a universal shopping cart that can be leveraged on any device. This is a 9 percent increase from the number of retailers offering this capability in 2013.
In addition, 65 percent of companies now enable customers to migrate items from their "wish" or "buy later" lists, a considerable boost from the 54 percent that supported this activity in 2013.
Is our website's performance effective?
Today's benchmarks do not end with the shopping cart. Decision-makers and IT leaders should also take a look at the overall performance of the website to ensure that it is responsive, supports the full range of customer activities and can operate effectively even during peak traffic levels. This is especially critical during a sale or other events when the platform might be flooded with considerably higher traffic than a normal day.
With SOASTA's performance and load testing solutions, your e-commerce company can get an in-depth look at your website's performance, including how the platform reacts under stressful conditions. The metrics and insight provided here are invaluable, and can even offer the opportunity for the business to improve its website to ensure the best customer experience possible.
To find out more about these solutions, contact SOASTA today.
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