03 February 2022

Yesterday’s Luxury is Standard: Partnership and Advice for E-Customer Expectations


According to research, there are four domains of current consumer expectations. These are accuracy, accessibility, partnership and advice. All of those cases can be supported by technology. I’ve already written about your customers’ BASIC needs related to accuracy and accessibility. Here, I would like to focus on the last two: partnership and advice expectations. First, check out these current standard eCommerce solutions.

Part 1: Customer Journey Partnership

Customers feel a sense of partnership when they feel understood. So, what functionalities will give the customer this sense of collaboration? In my opinion, the functionalities described below are related to those expectations.

Online shopping return view

As far as the return policy is concerned when shopping online, it’s unfortunately no longer enough to extend the possible return of product purchases by 60 or 90 days. What’s more, issuing return notifications by post, email, or fax is slowly phasing out. Let’s not forget the cost deducted from the purchase price refund. Generally, managing returns is not a question of if or how long, but how easy it is for customers to return goods.

A dedicated subpage for returns has already become standard in the checkout process. So what are some of its main features?

  • Thoughtful and imaginative content and a clear product return form page
  • Automated customer experience to register returns with minimal effort (and clicks) from the user
  • Automated for transparent and straightforward ordering of transport
  • Perfect interface for tracking the customer’s return and payment status

Web users’ complaint view

Complaining enables consumers to express dissatisfaction or even resentment, which can be stressful for the complainant and the recipient. The well-managed organisation develops a complaint management process, as a set of operations used to handle and resolve problems in a hierarchical relationship, as shown below:

  • Receiving complaints
  • Classification
  • Sending complaints to the person in charge
  • Investigating problems
  • Resolving problems
  • Evaluating satisfaction

Effectively resolving customer grievances is critical. Fortunately, it can be supported by technology. We can use digital solutions for several reasons.

Basic customer experience features

Provide a clear interface for complaint registration and share relevant details according to customers’ claims. These can include complaint status, persons responsible, and contact details of persons managing the issue. Registration forms, on the other hand, can provide additional questions such as:

  • Could you give an example?
  • What would you like to resolve today?
  • How may we assist you?

For best results, be sure to verify if the problem has been solved appropriately through a short evaluation survey.

Artificial intelligence features

Identify and categorise online shoppers’ complaints according to criteria such as issue type, level of possible severity, brands/products and services, employees and locations, when a customer starts to venture away, towards competitors, or even the likelihood of customer attrition. Be sure to analyse text input features and interpret emotion and sentiment through specific target phrases and keywords.

Organise data to yield deeper insights from analytical activities. This type of auto-analysis allows improving one of the key e commerce processes in the company by, for instance, showing the percentage of complaints regarding the production volume. Other measures you can take are monitoring consumers’ satisfaction ratings and tracking complaint trends.

New techniques and high-volume solutions

The technology can add valuable insight to online shopping through customer data. Successful companies leverage artificial intelligence and data capture if multiple customers share the same complaint and identify high-volume complaints. Customers want you to listen and respond so that they feel you have the same goal. Providing a return to the complaints view gives you a world of benefits such as:

  • Eliminating manual processes
  • Building customer loyalty
  • Enhanced customer satisfaction
  • Brand reputation growth
  • Identifying systemic risks through early problem identification
  • Efficient handling and consequently cost reduction
  • Quality insight into strategic decisions
  • Improve compliance programs, internal controls, communications, and business processes by reducing manual work, and risk management
  • Better-respond to customers as a speedy response goes from being a nice-to-have to a necessity

Part 2: eCommerce success advice

Consumers feel more connected to online retailers that teach through multiple channels. How can we meet this expectation?

Share products and digital experience feedback

Each recently-generated blog post is one form of internet-based marketing. What interests me is the blog’s role in fulfilling assistance with customer expectations and widening sales opportunities. Apparently, according to the Content Marketing Institute, consumers expect you to have a blog. That is why 79% of B2B eCommerce brands and 70% of B2C eCommerce brands write about sharing advice and topical news. So what else are your users looking for on your blog? A blog is a fantastic tool to boost the omnichannel experience. It gives your company a voice. It offers flexibility to let your brand personality shine.

A blog allows you to teach about your products and explain your e Commerce technology. You can carry this out in any manner you see fit, through a casual description attributed to an associated employee or a literal step-by-step guide written by one of the company’s managers. Content can be written by company employees or with the help of a co-author. Blogs give e-Commerce consumers two-pronged information as there’s room for questions and comments of other clients as a customer service ‘extension.’

Demonstrate industry leadership and authority

Nothing beats a solid reputation. Unique content is treated as a business authority’s opinion as internet customers’ expectations account for know-how and product quality. The undisputed value of the blog for your client is when you offer access to expert knowledge and advice, respond to trends in topics, resolve frequently asked questions, and share insight on new challenges for online retailers.

Blogs demonstrate what makes your business unique and drive long-term results. But there is, however, one condition - it must be unique. In this case, content must not duplicate, and update regularly. Above all, it must respond to customers’ problems and needs. eCommerce businesses that invested in this type of marketing ten years ago will undoubtedly enjoy brand loyalty as undisputed opinion leaders in their industry today.

Related consumers’ accessories

What is an accessory? Something that is not necessary but adds to the convenience of the main piece of product. From my point of view, related brands and accessories should not only be treated as opportunities to increase sales, but rather as a choice by advising your customer. Apply a ‘tell us your needs, and we’ll find you a solution’ attitude. Think of this as shopping with an engaging salesperson in a brick & mortar shop.

Which option makes you feel more comfortable? That’s a rhetorical question. In the back-office, it’s necessary to define the following relationships for a product: accessories, cross-sells, substitutes, and up-sells. Of course, we are talking about typically complimentary items. Nevertheless, the trick is to present these opportunities to the customer.

To sum up, people don’t buy goods or services. People buy relationships, history and magic. In the case of e-commerce, this magic is provided by meeting specific requirements. The customer will always want:

  • e-Commerce interfaces to be clear, intuitive and easy to use (accuracy)
  • Products quality to be as described and photographed (accuracy)
  • Products and brands available in the shop (availability)
  • Wait times of no longer than 24 hours for their deliveries (availability)
  • A feeling of being cared for (partnership)
  • Rapid and understandable complaint and return processes (partnership)
  • Products and complementary accessories with a good reputation (advice)

If you develop your own business solutions in addition to the basic standards, then be sure to apply them accordingly. These commerce practices will help you already establish a significant competitive advantage. At least, until these become a standard again!

Read Tech Stories from Experienced Devs!

Agnieszka Topczewska-Pińczuk
Scrum Master | Project Manager

I believe that anything I do, I do for the end-user. I maximise value by:

- setting a path to the product's goal, helping developers do what they need to do

- frequently inspecting the result of their work to confront assumptions with reality

- adapting to the changing needs of Stakeholders based on feedback and measurable data.

I manage IT products agilely and know how to make your vision a reality. Would you like to work with me?