Your goal is to make the customer experience as straightforward, simple, and painless as possible. The quickest way to lose customers is to frustrate them, and this is surprisingly easy to do. Things like slow load times, hard-to-reach customer support, and too many steps in the checkout process all will do the trick.
The entire sales process and any interactions that your customers have with your company need to be as streamlined as possible.
Justin Christianson: “Optimization of marketing is simply holding the visitor by the hand down the path of least resistance to the end goal and in a way they respond to most. The more steps you have in that process, the more friction you will have. Friction leads to reduced conversions and engagement. If you want to increase engagement and positive experience, remove friction.”
No Friction Allowed! How To Remove It
“Friction between two items creates resistance, impeding maximum velocity.” In the world of ecommerce, one of those two items is your customer and the other can be a variety of factors, including your brand, your product or service, your pricing, or the user experience.
Brand friction occurs mostly due to a lack of trust. So how can you make your brand feel more trustworthy to your customers?
Here are four effective suggestions:
- Have a professional-looking website
- Include prominent customer reviews and testimonials on your site
- Network to get your company featured by reputable media outlets
- Get accredited by the Better Business Bureau.
Product Or Service Friction
Your customers are going to compare your products or services to your competitors’ and so you need to look critically at your offerings’ features and benefits to see how they measure up. What do you offer that your competition doesn’t—better functionality, superior customer service, faster turnaround times?
Look at every component, from packaging aesthetics to shipping times, to see how you can gain a competitive advantage and then clearly communicate what that advantage is in your marketing campaigns. According to John Boitnott, “The best way to stand out is to take what’s already working for you and do it more.”
George Deeb of Red Rocket Ventures: “If your prices are too high or do not bring a high enough value to your customers, they will never buy from you. My rule of thumb is to price your product or service at a discount to your competitors on things that are largely similar.
Or, price your product at the same level as your competitors, but add in additional features and functionalities that make the consumer feel they are getting a ‘bigger bang for their buck’ and more value when buying from you…When comparing prices, be sure to fully load your prices for things like taxes, fees and shipping, as your customers will be doing the same.”
User Experience Friction
Shopping with you needs to be easy-breezy. Otherwise, customers will take their business elsewhere. The key ways to optimize your customers’ user experience are as follows:
- Make sure your site loads in under 2 seconds
- Include site-wide search and more specific navigation options, making it easy to find items on your site
- Incorporate high-quality photos and videos, especially those that showcase your products
- Add useful content including FAQs and tutorials
- Provide top-notch customer service through a variety of methods (live chat, over-the-phone, and email)
- Keep your inventory well-stocked
- Make the checkout process as simple as possible, minimizing the number of steps, and taking advantage of facilitators like options to auto-fill responses.
At every stage of the shopping process, put yourself in your customers’ shoes and imagine what it’s like to do business with you. Something that you might think makes perfect sense and isn’t a big deal may be a source of friction from your customers’ point of view.
Can you think of any pain points that you might have in your business? How might your customers feel frustrated?