How to use customer feedback to grow ecommerce businesses

What can you do to grow your ecommerce business and sell more? Popular answers: dive into social media marketing, use retargeting, cross and up-sell as much as you can, maximize social proof etc. (more ideas here: https://www.shopify.com/blog/14512237-13-actionable-marketing-tactics-to-drive-sales-and-apps-to-execute-each-of-them). These are all fine tips worth trying out. But one mean of growing sales in ecommerce is often overlooked – collecting customer feedback and acting on it.

Maybe it’s caused by the fact that companies tend to have much higher opinions of the quality of customer experience they deliver than their customers do and thus, they see no point in listening to their customers. Of over 350 surveyed companies, 80% claimed to deliver superior customer experience, 8% of customers agreed with that: http://bain.com/bainweb/pdfs/cms/hotTopics/closingdeliverygap.pdf. No matter what the reason is, utilizing customer feedback is a growth driver you should consider adding to your stack.

In this article, I’ll focus on how collecting feedback can help develop ecommerce businesses and what different ways of collecting feedback can be employed.

Tailor your offer to needs of customers

A  variety of available goods is one of the top reasons why people decide to buy online. This refers to both online shopping as a whole and visiting a single shop. This is why customers might expect you to expand your inventory and will be more likely to buy when you offer everything they want. But how to decide what to add to meet their needs?

Watching competition is the simplest solution but not necessarily the best one – you never know how popular and profitable their products are. A safer way – get feedback from people visiting your website – your potential customers.

You’re likely to be surprised what your customer expect. One Customer of Survicate, a shop selling artistic T-shirts, found out that people didn’t expect them to sell pants or hoodies – they wanted yoga mats. Collecting and analyzing answers given by potential customers allowed the company to start selling what they really wanted and increase sales.
Hint: use targeted website surveys to get feedback from website visitors and ask them what else they would like you to offer.

Research and increase customer loyalty

Net Promoter Score® is a popular framework for measuring customer satisfaction. It’s based on 2 simple questions: ‘On a scale from 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend us to your friend or colleague” and a follow-up question about reasons for the answer.

How to calculate your NPS? Subtract the percentage of detractors (people who give you scores 0 to 6) from the percentage of promoters (people who give 9 or 10). The closer you are to 100, the better.

As it turns out, NPS translates directly into how loyal your customers are. And according to White House Office of Consumer Affairs, loyal customer are worth even 10 times more than their first purchase (source: https://www.helpscout.net/75-customer-service-facts-quotes-statistics/). Work on improving your NPS and you’ll cut marketing expenses.

Hint: use a traditional method of running NPS surveys – email surveys. A follow-up question appears in the new tab that opens in the browser when a person clicks one of the numbers in the email.

Smoothen your purchase path

What steps does a person need to take to become your customer? Well, they need to somehow find your website. Once they are there, they need to browse some product, add one or more products to the shopping cart, complete order and pay. On each and every step of this path, you’ll see people dropping out. Research prove that even up to 70% of people who add products to carts never complete orders (source: https://baymard.com/lists/cart-abandonment-rate). Plus, a vast majority of visitors leave your website without adding anything to carts. How can customer feedback help combat those problems? Based on the experience of customers of Survicate, I recommend 2 types of surveys to address those problems:

  • Website exit surveys
    Trigger a survey when a person who added something to the cart is about to leave your website. Ask her what are her reasons. Collected answers will show you what you can do to cut abandonment rates.
    Casual suspects: lacking information about shipping cost or delivery time, unexpected price increase, lack of trust. Fix issues reported by potential customers and decrease shopping cart abandonment rate.
    Hint: you can run similar surveys targeted at people who didn’t add any products to carts to ask them what stopped them from adding a product to cart. Such insights will reveal what you can do to improve product pages and pricing, and even website navigation. Learn more about exit surveys in my guide to website exit surveys.
  • Post-purchase surveys
    Customers who manage to complete an order are also a valuable source of ideas what you can improve and what’s not working as is should. They have a full view of your purchase path and know what caused them problems. That’s why you should collect their feedback.
    One of our Customers discovered that the biggest problem was located way before the checkout – people were not sure whether they were choosing the right product. Collected feedback led to introducing a new section on a website, designed to help potential customers choose the right product. Its result: higher conversion rates.
    Hint: you can use targeted website survey appearing on a ‘Thank you’ page or email surveys distributed to new customers.

Product quality survey

So you closed the sale – goods have been sent, money in the account, everyone is happy (and we can even assume that the customer didn’t return the products). However, it doesn’t mean that customers will always be happy with the quality of your products. It’s important for you unless your business is based on selling low-quality products for very low prices and customers realize that.
If you manufacture and sell your own products, problems with quality are a great source of insights for product team what gets broken and how often. If you resell products manufactured by someone else – problems with quality can mean that it would be smart to find another supplier. In most industries, problems with quality make people less likely to come back to your shop and buy again. It drives your marketing costs up and profits down.
Hint: use in-message surveys distributed after time enough for customers to assess the quality (varies depending on products).

Summary

As you see, collecting feedback can help you develop your ecommerce business by driving more sales from any given traffic, increase loyalty, and even show you how you can improve the quality of your products. Where to start?

I recommend starting where possible gains are the biggest. For example, when you see that many people abandon shopping carts, run a survey to find out why they do it. When you see that few website visitors add products to carts – run a survey to ask them whether they’d like to see something more in your store or what stops them from buying. Of course, you can run several surveys simultaneously but when you’re just getting started with customer feedback it will be easier for you to launch one survey and then deploy further ones.

About the author

Lucjan Kierczak is a marketing manager at Survicate. Survicate is an all-in-one customer feedback tool offering 5 tools under one roof: targeted website surveys, feedback widgets, Net Promoter Score email surveys, in-message surveys, and questionnaires. If you have any questions about customer feedback, reach Lucjan on Twitter or LinkedIn.