eCommerce is an industry that relies on keeping a ton of plates spinning in the air.
From websites to stock, payments to reviews, shipping to new products, there’s a lot for online retailers to stay on top of — especially when they’re just starting out.
In our latest Five Star Session, we spoke with Craig Cohen, CRO at WooCommerce (a Trustpilot partner), to get his take on how to succeed in the eCommerce space, and (spoiler alert) the critical role trust and reviews play in that success.
For the cut-to-the-chasers, we’ve re-capped our conversation below — pulling out key questions, answers and takeaways ambitious online businesses need to know.
1. Overcoming eCommerce challenges
With roughly 3.5M storefronts run through WooCommerce, the leading open source commerce platform, they’re the perfect people to discuss best practices for eCommerce and what customer values and priorities are.
Right now, eCommerce businesses (both those who are omni-channel and those who function exclusively online) are dealing with the same overarching challenges — driving new traffic and converting existing traffic. On top of this, data also shows consumer spending is staying up, but supply chain issues are still ever-present.
It’s a recipe that’ll likely make for a tricky holiday rush.
To combat these challenges, Craig suggests three key steps online merchants can take:
Invest in digital talent – Hire the right team to help you make the most of your online storefront
Know your audience – Keep a close eye on your customers to gain insight into where the most sales or conversions are coming from
Know your inventory – Ensure you are up to date on stock and inventory at all times to prevent any trouble with order fulfillment, and communicate foreseen backlogs to customers
Here, we see the link between our core message at Trustpilot and WooCommerce’s advice on how to be set up for success — trust and transparency are key. Open communication around stock, order limits, and timelines is integral to building and maintaining customer trust.
To aid in this process, Craig recommends that online businesses:
Encourage pre-ordering to help with product traction and run rates
Combine eCommerce and omni-channel inventory management into one clear view
Focus on setting up an excellent shipping component (to combat the ‘I need it now’ Amazon/Uber/Grubhub effect)
These three steps will help ensure you have a clear understanding of what’s going on under the hood of your business to help mitigate common issues plaguing online shoppers.
2. Maximizing your customer understanding
Jumping off from Craig’s recommendation around understanding audiences, the session moved into the area of eCommerce that we truly love — utilizing customer insights.
Craig was keen to point out that there are several options here that can be combined for an overarching understanding of customer sentiment and feedback: directly reaching out (great for verifiable data), backend system information (Google Analytics, etc.), and reviews — both the good and bad.
As we always emphasise, it’s verified reviews that can deliver the greatest level of value. Partnerships with third-party review platforms such as Trustpilot can help in ensuring reviews coming in are verified and accurate; a useful point for smaller retailers that may feel managing their reviews might be too much of a burden to take on.
To help streamline the process even further WooCommerce has developed a handy extension with Trustpilot to allow businesses to integrate their Trustpilot reviews directly to their WooCommerce site!
Our conversation also underlined the importance of both positive and negative reviews for customers, and that while it’s important to not get too disheartened when analyzing negative feedback, it is critical to watch out for it.
Craig reminded the audience that ‘the squeaky wheel is always the loudest’ and in the world of eCommerce, that unfortunately means customers leaving negative feedback are likely to write about their experience everywhere. Being aware of reviews across all platforms (Google, Trustpilot, etc.) is critical for businesses looking to manage their online reputation.
3. The science and art of customer data
With online reputation in mind, the session then turned towards how and why it’s critical to analyze customer data, splitting it into two clear camps: first party and zero party data.
1st-party data, as Craig put it, is the opt-in data that an online storefront can collect regarding customer behavior and purchasing patterns (ROI, which products are performing best, etc.) – the ‘science’ of customer insight.
0-party data is a little different. This is reviews and feedback elicited directly from your customers and site visitors — through platforms such as Trustpilot — that gives you the ‘art’ of insight.
Combine those two pieces, and you’ll be on your way to understanding both how your business is truly operating, and how it’s perceived. This information is key to driving traffic, converting sales, successful growth, and securing that uber-coveted repeat customer (after all, the cost of keeping a customer is five times less than the cost to obtain a new one).
4. Small changes, big results
As our conversation opened up to a Q&A session, we saw an influx of pressing audience questions around best applying Craig’s insights and recommendations.
And as the questions rolled in, he had rapid-fire answers ready to go:
What are the benefits of flexible payment options?
Offering customers multiple options for payment (Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, etc.) and the ability to pay for large purchases over time (‘Buy Now, Pay Later’), can help push would-be customers over the check-out line.
What’s the best way to win in the crowded eCommerce space?
Focus on site speed, user experience, fast, easy payment access, and keeping stock up to date.
What are some ways to leverage customer feedback in driving traffic?
Share positive reviews in your advertising and marketing. Social proof is a powerful tool, use it to your advantage! A Trustpilot study found that using real reviews and customer quotes in your messaging results in an 88% increase in click-through rates on average!
5. Listening to your customers
What a whirlwind! We covered a ton of ground in this session but transparency and the importance of review data in securing return customers definitely emerged as one of our key themes. And no wonder, WooCommerce has found that just a 5% increase in retention rate can garner profit upticks of anything from 25% - 95%!
We’re eager to keep providing insights from the best and brightest in the eCommerce space so be sure to tune into the next edition of our Five Star Session series!
Tantalized by the chance to turn customer reviews into truly game-changing insights? Rubbing your hands at the prospect of getting a leg up on your competition? We should talk. Get started with a free account or talk to a Trustpilot expert here.