Avalara > Blog > Industry Insights > How to improve your ecommerce customer experience

How to improve your ecommerce customer experience

  • Aug 6, 2019 | Rachel Hobble


When customers arrive at your site, they expect to find the products and information they want with ease. A positive experience on your site improves customer satisfaction and brand loyalty, so it's important to get it right. 

Here are a few ways to improve your ecommerce customer experience: 

Help customers find what they need.

Are shoppers able to find what they want quickly and easily on both your desktop and mobile sites or do they have to put in extra effort to search for what they’re looking for? Don't make your customers jump through hoops to find what they need.

Improve product discoverability by optimizing your site search experience — allow customers to filter products by a variety of categories and product facets, and preselect popular keywords in your site search to offer suggestions when customers type in the search bar. Remember that your customers are human; make sure your search thesaurus can adapt to synonyms, misspellings, and alternate phrases. This will ensure shoppers find what they need, even if they accidentally type “blu sandels” instead of “blue sandals.” 

If you do nothing else to optimize your site search, prominently display a customer support number on your site in both the top navigation and the footer. If customers can’t find what they want quickly, they’ll become frustrated and likely reach out to your customer service team, who can then direct them to the right page. 

Optimize your product pages.

Design your product pages with the customer in mind. Highlight in four or five bullet points the key features/benefits of your product, how it differs from those of competitors, and best uses for the product. Include high-quality images showing multiple angles of the product and use cases, if applicable. The easier you make it for consumers to envision the product in their own lives, the more likely they are to purchase. 

Reduce friction at checkout.

The average cart abandonment rate in 2017 was 78.65 percent, meaning that over 3/4 of shoppers will leave a site without making a purchase. There are several ways to streamline the customer's path to checkout. Allow your customers to check out as guests — 22 percent of shoppers abandon carts if they’re forced to create an account. Additionally, be sure you’re transparent about all taxes and fees so customers aren’t surprised at checkout. In the age of Amazon, customers have come to expect free shipping from all online retailers, and unexpected shipping costs can frustrate consumers and lead to abandoned carts. Perform a cost-benefit analysis, and if you can afford to offer free shipping, do it. 

Comply with sales and use taxes jurisdictions.

In the wake of South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., online retailers are under increased pressure to comply with sales and use tax jurisdictions. New tax regulations directly impact the ecommerce customer experience — some shoppers may not be used to paying taxes with certain retailers, and new fees can lead to abandoned carts and more customer service calls. Avalara is helping retailers navigate the constantly shifting world of tax compliance with AvaTax, which delivers real-time rates directly into the shopping cart or invoicing system at the moment of purchase, providing a better customer experience and ensuring retailers are in compliance in over 12,000 U.S. sales and use tax jurisdictions. 

Consistently test your customer experience.

The only way to ensure a positive customer experience is to consistently test and optimize your end-to-end customer experience. Every business and every site is different, and you know your customers better than anyone else. Design your site experience around your customers' needs, and ask them for feedback! They are your best source of information for improving the customer experience. 

Virid is offering a free ecommerce site audit to help retailers identify key pain points in their site and improve the customer experience. 

Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Guest Author
Rachel Hobble
Guest Author Rachel Hobble
Rachel Hobble is the Marketing Specialist at Virid. She loves all things creative and develops the content strategy for Virid's website and social media. When she's not writing whitepapers or creating email campaigns, she enjoys scrapbooking, baking, and playing with her dog, Coco.