How To Improve the Online Shopping Experience on Your eStore?

How To Improve the Online Shopping Experience on Your eStore_

It has only taken online shopping a few decades to go from being non-existent to becoming a multi-billion-dollar industry. 

It’s grown bigger and better, enough to give in-store shopping a run for its money.

Because of its numerous benefits and advantages, more and more customers these days prefer doing their shopping online over the conventional method of physically walking into stores.

It started with a few businesses conducting their operations online. Eventually, other businesses will be drawn in one by one, leaving customers with more ways and places to shop. 

And did we mention online customers have increasingly shorter attention spans? 

So, as an ecommerce business looking to attract online shoppers, you should figure out how to quickly attract their attention and make their shopping experience easy and pleasant.

What Constitutes a Great Online Shopping Experience?

If you ever shopped online in the early days of e-commerce (in the late 90s and early 2000s), you can only marvel at how much e-commerce has improved since then.

From the time it takes to ship a product to the checkout process and payment methods, pretty much every aspect of online shopping has vastly become better over the two decades. 

Despite the progress made, there’s still room for more improvement. Customers get excited whenever a new trend is rolled out. But they’ll soon get accustomed to it and demand more.

But what does a customer really want from an online store?

The following chart summarizes pretty much everything that online shoppers think constitutes a great online shopping experience:

How To Improve the Online Shopping Experience on Your eStore 1

Source: Statista

What Constitutes a Positive Online Shopping Experience?

According to a majority of Capterra’s survey respondents, the key to many customers’ hearts is a quality product. When asked to name the most important aspect of a positive online shopping experience, 78% of them had a product that works well in their first three choices, with 58% of them placing it in their first choice. 

How To Improve the Online Shopping Experience on Your eStore 3

The next most important aspect is the perceived value of the product or service (47% of the respondents had it in at least one of their first three choices. 

Customer experience came in third, with a positive interaction with the company’s staff coming in fourth. 

3% of the respondents thought overall customer satisfaction was the most important aspect of a good customer experience, with 27% placing it in at least one of their first three choices. 

These results show how important it is for businesses to do thorough research to make sure their products work well for their target customers. 

They might also want to invest in customer experience or UX software to draw valuable insights on what aspect of the generated customer experience is deemed the most important.

What Constitutes a Negative or Bad Customer Experience?

When customers complain about a product, primarily it will be about the flipside of the most important aspect of a positive customer experience. Essentially, product quality didn’t come out on top.

Asked to rank different aspects of what they think constituted a negative customer experience, 67% listed “product not working well” in at least one of their first three choices. 51% listed “a negative interaction with a company staff” as their top complaint, with 43% citing poor value and 39% citing slow customer service.

Here are some tools to map and analyse your customer experience.

The following chart details it all:

How To Improve the Online Shopping Experience on Your eStore 2

5 Key Online Shopping Statistics You Should Know

If you own an e-commerce or are planning to launch a scalable online store, understanding how internet users shop online is key to developing a successful online business strategy.

There are literally thousands of e-commerce stats on the web to guide you through the process. But here are five leading ones that every marketer needs to know:

1# High Shipping Cost is the Number #1 Reason Customers Abandon Carts

Customers want fast shipping. What they don’t want is high shipping costs. 

In a study conducted by Statista, high shipping costs were found to be the primary reason online shoppers abandoned their shopping carts. 

How To Improve the Online Shopping Experience on Your eStore 5

2# Amazon is the Number #1 online Shopping App

Amazon is the most popular mobile online shopping app. The same study also tells us mobile commerce (the use of mobile online shopping apps) are increasingly important in developing a selling or marketing strategy for your ecommerce store.

In addition to that, online retailers are encouraged to include popular online marketplaces as part of their omnichannel selling strategy. 

Online Shopping App Number of users
1# Amazon  1.87 billion monthly users
2# eBay 817.6 million monthly users
6# Walmart 339 million active monthly users
4# Inspire Uplift 458,000 active monthly users
5# Aliexpress  43.3 million users
6# Kohls 40.4 million users
7# Seers 26.1 million users

3# 43% of Online Shoppers Research Products on social media Before Buying them

The introduction of social commerce tools – like the Instagram checkout – accelerated growth in the power that social media has in influencing users’ purchase decisions.

4# Clothing is the Number #1 Vertical Online

The most purchased item online is clothing, with movies, books, music, and games following close.

How To Improve the Online Shopping Experience on Your eStore 4

 Source: Statista

5# Direct to Site, SEO, and Email are the Best Sources of Online Traffic

E-commerce is a lot more than setting up a fully functional website. In addition to having a beautiful website, you need to figure out how to direct relevant traffic to your site.

In a recent survey — conducted by Statista — email, SEO, and direct to site were found to be the leading sources of e-commerce traffic. 

How To Improve the Online Shopping Experience on Your eStore 7

Understanding Online Customers

Customers aren’t created equal. However, understanding their behaviour and shopping habits can help you create a successful digital strategy for your business.  

So, what’s there to understand about consumers’ shopping habits?

1# Over 75% of consumers shop online at least once per month

It’s all about convenience. 

It turns out, 75% of consumers shop online at least once per month. This is one statistic you might want to capitalise on while working on your e-commerce strategy.

2# Customers Buy Entertainment More than Anything Else Online

Ever wondered why entertainment platforms such as Netflix, Spotify, and Disney are so popular with consumers?

Well, it’s because customers are more into experience purchases, of which entertainment is part.  

As per Statista’s statistics, books, movies, and games are the second most bought items after clothing. 

3# Windows OS is the number one technology customers are using to place their orders

You need to understand what technology your customers are using to place their orders on your website. 

As it stands, Windows OS still ranks atop as the technology that consumers use to place their orders online. 

So, with every store or UX design you create, it helps to think about how that technology performs on Windows OS. 

4# The Average Conversion Rate of Customers Hover Between 2.7% and 3.2%

If you’ve been wondering how many of your site or landing page visitors end up converting into paying customers, then statistics show the number hovers between 2.7% and 3.2%. 

The number is especially high in the fourth quarter of the year and lowest in the first quarter of the year. 


How Customers Pay Online

After covering popular consumer behaviours, we’d like to focus on how they pay for the items they buy. 

It’s safe to say, online payment methods have also advanced a great deal since their debut. 

Let’s look at the payment landscape and weigh in on the progress we’ve so far made:

How To Improve the Online Shopping Experience on Your eStore 6

44.5% of total e-commerce expenditures in 2020 were paid using digital and mobile wallets. This makes it the most popular online payment method worldwide.

Not only that, studies show digital and mobile wallets will continue to dominate other payment methods for several years, especially since all the other payment methods are on a decline. 

By 2024, it’s expected that digital and mobile payment methods will account for more than 51% of the total e-commerce expenditure. 

Credit and debit cards hold the second and third positions respectively (at 22.8% and 12.3%). These two payments methods will continue to be popular for a few more years, but their combined share is expected to drop from 35.1% to 32.8% by the year 2024. 

Bank transfers, deferred debit cards, and cash on delivery are among the top five most popular payment methods in the world in 2021.


The Most Popular Payment Systems in the World

Here’s a list of the world’s leading payment systems. 


1# PayPal

PayPal is the fastest growing online payment system, with more than 305 million active users.

And now they’re in the process of building a super-app that will allow users to shop at millions of merchants, and carry out their banking activities online. 

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In other words, they’re set out to replace banks.

And it goes beyond their size and big plans. Here are more facts about PayPal that will get you even more excited about everything:

  • It’s available in more than 202 countries
  • Supports 56 different currencies
  • It’s free – no monthly deductions, membership fees, annual maintenance, or maintaining a balance
  • Can be connected to multiple credit and debit cards
  • You can still pay for something online even with a zero balance so long as your account is connected to your bank
  • It’s safe. You can purchase from any online store without giving away your personal info, apart from your name and email address.


2# Stripe 

Stripe works the same way as PayPal. It’s user-friendly, has no monthly retainer, and is completely safe to use.

If you’re looking to set up a customised payment solution for your e-commerce, then Stripe is the best payment solution for you. 

That’s because it offers a series of special tools and features that you can use to set up a highly specialised payment solution for your e-commerce site.

They include:

  • Advanced fraud management tool (Stripe Radar)
  • Physical and virtual cards for employee expenses
  • SQL-based business intelligence

Stripe works best with big companies looking to create custom payment solutions. 


3# Amazon Pay

Amazon works great with Amazon users. 

It allows users to pay for goods or services online via their Amazon accounts. 

Here are five things that make Amazon pay an excellent payment system for your e-commerce store: 

  • It’s easy to set up
  • It’s optimised for mobile
  • It’s optimised for voice search
  • They only need one account to access thousands of sites
  • Allows you to charge your customers recurring payments, such as monthly membership fees
  • Allows you to seamlessly offer refunds


4# X-Payments

If your customers’ safety and privacy is your number one priority, then X-payments is the payment solution for you. 

First, this payment solution is Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) certified. 

Meaning it has the highest safety level of all available online payment solutions.

Here are a few things that make this payment solution even more interesting:

  • It’s one of the safest payment solutions for storing your customers’ credit card info
  • Seamless transactions – customers don’t necessarily have to leave your site to make payments
  • Can process over 40 different credit cards

Their pricing starts at $42.46/month for processing a total of 10,000 transactions per year.


5# Braintree

Braintree was specifically created for mobile users.

It’s a popular payment solution owned by PayPal, with millions of active users. 

So, why use Braintree?

  • It’s one of the most trusted payment solutions, used by big companies such as Uber and Airbnb. 
  • Has special tools for detecting fraud
  • Can be integrated with Apple Pay, Venmo, Google Pay, and major credit cards and debit cards

The question going through your mind right now is between PayPal and Braintree, which one should you be using.

The right answer is, it depends.

It depends on the type of business you’re operating.

However, given the option to choose between the two, here are a few things you might want to consider:

  • Compared to Braintree, it’s easy to get a PayPal account approved. However, the account can be easily flagged or deactivated.

Getting a Braintree account approved, on the other hand, takes time. Your account will, however, be more stable and less likely to be flagged or deactivated for petty reasons.

  • You can accept huge amounts of cash in foreign currencies via Braintree without raising any alarm
  • They both cater to different markets. They also have vastly different products that you might want to research first before deciding which payment solution works best for you. 


6# GooglePay

GooglePay is Google’s version of PayPal.

It allows users to pay for online goods and services through an account connected to their Gmail account.

The biggest advantage GooglePay has over other payment solutions is that millions of users have an active Gmail account, which simplifies the whole process of signing up for an account and making payments.

What makes Google Pay an exciting option?

  • Easy to sign up and make payments
  • Doesn’t charge merchants any fee 

However, you might want to note that when someone uses a credit card to make payments through GooglePay, they’ll be charged a transaction fee by the credit card company. 


7# Apple Pay

Apple Pay allows you to accept payments from Apple users. It’s a one-click payment solution for Apple users. Better, customers can even check out using their touch ID. 

The payment system uses tokenisation to ensure your customers’ credit card information is both safe and secure. What that means is that, once a user has provided their credit card info, the device will communicate with the issuing bank to generate random numbers or tokens to represent the card. 

That obscures information just in case it gets into the wrong hands, thus keeping the customer’s financial data both safe and secure. 

What Makes Apple Pay an Exciting Payment Solution? 

  • You can set up Apple Pay as a payment method using the Apple Pay API. But first, you’ll have to make sure you’re already using one of their compatible platforms.
  • Like Google Pay and PayPal, Apple Pay doesn’t charge merchants any fee to accept payments.


8# Visa Checkout

Visa checkout is a simple payment solution for visa cardholders. All they need to do is fill a simple form requesting their card name, visa number, CVC number, and expiry date and that’s it.

Users don’t have to sign up for an account or provide personal details.

As we speak, more than 2 million people are actively enrolled in Visa checkout. 

What Makes this Payment Solution an Exciting Option?

  • Statistics show that offering a visa checkout option could increase your conversion rate by up to 42%.
  • This payment option comes with an easy setup option and a host of security features.


12 Ways to Create the Best Online Shopping Experience Ever

1# Make Your Site Load Faster

You should start by improving your site speed. The goal is to try and make your site load in under five seconds (preferably in under 3 seconds), whether on a mobile or desktop computer.

Your biggest threat isn’t your competitor, but the back button. 

Your customers don’t have the patience to wait for a slow site to finish loading. They’ll hop to the next site. 

You want to pay special attention to mobile users. It turns out, two-third of mobile phone owners use it as the primary access device to the internet.

Because of this, companies are advised to enable all aspects of their customers’ relationships to have mobile functionality – from engaging with your brand to making an order. 

2# Focus on Your Website’s Navigation

Your customers should have an easy time navigating your website. Limit the number of clicks they have to make to get to any page or access any product to at most three.

Be sure to implement features like auto-scrolls that help the user navigate your website without losing interest. 

Remember to invest in good website search technology. 

Site search must be the most neglected part of the customer’s navigation journey. Yet, it aligns the user’s intent with relevant content.  

Other than that, the queried searches and clicks can be a great source of user feedback that you can use to drive more personalised customer experiences in the future. 

3# A Friendly Design

Don’t overcomplicate things by embracing a more radical design.

Rather, follow the basic rules of design. 

Use a white background to highlight your products. You also want to make sure the most important elements of your site are located at the top of the page, with buttons and CTAs highlighted in areas of intense user activities. 

4# Error on the Side of Simplicity: Search, Add to Cart, and Pay

Don’t overcomplicate things. 

When a user lands on your e-commerce store, all they want is to find the item they want, add it to their cart, and complete payments. 

It’s your job to make all this incredibly easy for them by not complicating things.

It doesn’t matter if your website has thousands of products or have a specific page for testimonials or product testing, the three golden phases of online shopping must be intuitive to the customer – product search, add to cart, and pay to complete the process. 

Online Shopping Trends In Singapore In 2020

Make sure these three steps are visible and easy to follow. The entire process must feel intuitive. 

Limit the number of pages that the customer has to click through to complete the process.

Don’t ask for too much info or force the customer to register to complete the payment process. 

Be sure to offer basic order information, like delivery time, return options, shipping costs, and so on. 

As it turns out, high shipping cost is the main reason customers abandon their carts. So, instead of redirecting users to a FAQ page, be sure to break it all down for them. 

Lastly, you also want to offer a simple return policy just in case your customers don’t get satisfied with your product or the service rendered. 

5# Enrich Your Content

Despite marketplaces being characterised by identical product pages, customers still appreciate personalised shopping experiences.

More text, videos, tutorials, images, reviews, suggestions, and materials, all increase the chances of your products being purchased. 

Always make sure your content is relevant to your target customers. Come to think about it, a common customer isn’t interested in the same type of product content or data as a sales rep or distributor. 

Lastly, you want to optimise your product content for SEO. Research the most common searches your target customers make and optimise all your text with relevant keywords. 

6# Age Matters

Depending on the audience being targeted, your generated shopping experience will have to adapt to different audience parameters.

Note that, not all types of audiences have the same digital fluency. While the younger audience will have no trouble locating information and action buttons on a page, older ones can only do so with a little assistance from you or more clarity in your arrangement of the website’s elements.

Study shows the number of older people who rely on online shopping has been steadily growing over the years. Today, 48% of older people between the age of 55 and 64 prefer buying online rather than from a physical store. 

For millennials between the age of 25 and 34, the number drops to 40%. 

While designing your website, you might want to adapt the design to what each audience segment finds attractive. Research thoroughly on the general taste and best response rate for older users. The odds are pretty good that they’ll be more interested in a minimalist design, with grey, cream tones, and white compared to bright colours, which tends to work best with teen users. 

7# The More Photos, the Better

Shopping is a visual experience, albeit a tactile one. 

It’s like customers cancel all the other senses when shopping, and only focus on what appeals to the eye.

According to a recent survey, 73% of customers admit they have to see at least 3 or 4 product images before they decide to buy a product.

Depending on the type of product you’re selling, you want to upload as many of the product images as you possibly can. 

It’s even better when you can diversify the image – more general, more macro, product model, demonstration images, and so on.

A simple trick would be to create a gallery with high-resolution images that can be zoomed in and 360-degree options on the product page. 

The issue of images is even more important in marketplaces, especially since you’ll be fighting to get noticed. A common mistake people make when listing their products in marketplaces is neglecting image quality. As a result, they end up looking unreliable.

Using high-quality images in marketplaces could increase your conversion rate by up to 53%. 

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Not only that, high-quality photos are better at convincing users to buy. That’s because they give the buyer a more accurate idea of your products, thus making it easier for them to decide.

8# Lower Your Price from Time to Time

Price influences a customer decision in a big way. As a matter of fact, 69% of consumers admit pricing is one of the things they look at before making any buying decision. 

However, that’s not to say they’ll go with the cheapest option they find. Rather, they’re more interested in getting the best value for their money worth.

For this, you want to lower your price strategically. Once you go low you can never go high — that’s the rule.

Once customers start associating you with a cheaper seller, then that’s all they’ll want to see from you.

So, instead of lowering your price, offer discounts and limited promotions at key times or when opening a new channel. 

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This strategy should be temporary. That’s because a limited time offer encourages customers to act fast. It also gives the impression of exclusivity among your customers. 

9# Customers Rely on Reviews

Reviews are scary, especially since you have zero control over them. A common fear that marketers have is that bad reviews might cast a shadow over goods ones, painting a bad brand image.

Wrong, if you ask. 

Positive reviews can indeed improve sales by up to 35%. However, customers aren’t just interested in positive reviews. Not more than they’re interested in genuine reviews. 

Because of that, they expect to see a few complaints or negative reviews from discontented customers. After all, you cannot please everyone.

Negative reviews provide a great business provided you know how to respond to them.

Here’s a simple guide you might want to read about how to deal with the negative reviews some of your customers leave you:

How to Handle Negative Comments Online? 

It goes to show that negative reviews aren’t necessarily bad. The opportunity that a negative review can provide is huge. 

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Handled right, a negative review can improve your brand image and even improve your customers’ trust. 

10# Position Yourself as a Social Media Influencer

Don’t just sell stuff online. 

You also want to be the person that people reach out to for advice whenever they’re stuck on what to buy. 

Social media doesn’t work equally good for all types of products. Because of this, you want to identify only a few that fit into your overall sales strategy. 

For example, Instagram recently introduced an option for adding prices and a direct link to your online store. It’s a simple feature that saw sales ballooning and many people visiting online stores. 

The reason for this is that this option serves customers with the basic data. They get to see how much a product costs and where to go in case they want to get it. 

Social media can be a great platform for promoting your discounts. It goes beyond running paid ads but positioning yourself as an influential figure that prospective customers might be interested to follow. 

website design banner

11# Focus on Making Yourself Memorable

Give your customers a reason to remember you.

Simple. Just focus on leaving them with a memorable experience.

You can start by generating a great first impression to inspire confidence and get them to come back for more. 

It starts with you not forgetting your clients. After their purchase, you can create and design personalised messages and emails thanking them for their purchase. 

Another approach would be to remind them about the products in their wish list or the abandoned cart. If possible, throw in a discount to get them to make up their mind and complete the purchase. 

Remember to also use a positive tone throughout the purchase process. Most importantly, offer quality, non-robotic instant, 24/7 customer service. 

You also want to make sure you have numerous ways by which you can be contacted (not just phone or chats, have an email address, physical address, social media messaging, and so on). In other words, you should always be readily available any way a client prefers to reach out to you. 

12# Reduce Abandoned Carts

Customers don’t just abandon carts.

There’s always a reason they couldn’t complete the purchase. It’s your job to figure out what their obstacles are and fix them. 

Find out what’s preventing some of your customers from completing the purchase process. It could be because of the unexpected shipping charges. Or maybe your checkout doesn’t inspire trust. 

Another plausible reason is that your return policy doesn’t seem satisfactory enough.

You also want to make sure you have multiple payment options. Moreover, let the customer decide how they’d like to receive the package (whether they prefer home delivery or going to a pickup store to get it). 

And yes, a customer might be disrupted and genuinely forget their shopping cart. For this, you want to send them a link reminding them of a shopping cart they forgot. 

Again, if possible, throw in a time-limited discount code to get the customer to act quick. 


About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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