Lindsay Sakraida
Director of Content Marketing @ Yotpo
February 19th, 2023

Great eCommerce customer experiences are the reason why shoppers decide to choose a brand again and again.

Table Of Contents

You know that feeling when you’ve found the perfect product, clicked that checkout button, and everything just works like magic? That’s the result of an exceptional eCommerce customer experience — and it’s the reason why shoppers decide to choose a brand again after that first purchase.

In this guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of what eCommerce customer experience is, and give you the tools you need to take your customers on a journey that’ll leave them grinning from ear to ear.

What is eCommerce customer experience?

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of eCommerce customer experience, let’s start at the beginning.

Simply put, eCommerce customer experience refers to the way a customer feels and interacts with a brand’s online store. It’s the journey that takes them from their first click on your website, to the final purchase confirmation page, and beyond.

Think about the last time you had a fantastic shopping experience online. Maybe it was easy to navigate the site, you quickly found what you were looking for, and the checkout process was a breeze. Perhaps you received regular updates on your order, with clear and transparent communication throughout. All of these aspects of the online shopping journey come together to create the eCommerce customer experience.

Why is eCommerce customer experience important?

In today’s world, where online shopping is becoming more prevalent than ever before, eCommerce customer experience has become a crucial aspect of a brand’s success. A positive customer experience not only leads to more sales and increased revenue, but it also builds customer loyalty and advocacy. 

On the other hand, a negative customer experience can lead to dissatisfied customers, increased churn rates, and a damaged reputation. So, it’s no wonder that brands are investing more and more into improving their eCommerce customer experience.

Online customer experience vs. in-person

It might seem obvious what the differences are between online and in-store, but it’s important to truly understand the limitations – and benefits – of eCommerce customer experiences so you can focus your efforts on what you deliver for shoppers.

One of the biggest differences between the two experiences is the ability for customers to interact with products. In a physical store, customers can pick up and examine products, try them on, and get a feel for their quality.

In contrast, online customers can only view photos and read descriptions, which can be limiting in terms of their ability to make informed decisions. That’s something that extensive photography, authentic customer reviews, and visual UGC can help.

Another key difference is the absence of face-to-face interactions with store employees. In a physical store, customers can ask questions, get recommendations, and have conversations about products with employees.

In eCommerce, these interactions are replaced with customer service chatbots or support emails, which can lack the personal touch of in-store customer service. Ideally brands will make sure that they are leveraging robust customer data when interacting with online customers, so they feel like brands really know them while handling their needs.

On the other hand, the eCommerce customer experience has its own unique advantages, too. Customers can shop at any time, from anywhere, and can easily compare products, prices, and reviews across multiple websites. They can also benefit from the convenience of having products delivered right to their doorstep, which can be especially appealing in today’s fast-paced world of commerce. The more brands play into those differentiators, the better – like reducing the path to purchase even more.

The stages of customer experience

The needs of your customers will vary depending on which stage of their eCommerce journey they’re in. Understanding the different stages of the customer experience is crucial to delivering an exceptional customer experience that meets their needs at each step of the way.

Pre-purchase stage

The first stage is the pre-purchase stage, where customers are doing research and gathering information about your products or services. During this stage, customers need to be able to find the information they’re looking for quickly and easily, so having clear product descriptions, high-quality images, and customer reviews can help build trust and convince them to make a purchase.

Shopping stage

The shopping stage is the next step, where customers are browsing your website, adding items to their cart, and checking out. During this stage, customers need to be able to navigate your website easily, have access to multiple payment options, and feel secure during the checkout process.

Post-purchase stage

The post-purchase stage is where customers receive their products, and it’s an essential stage for building customer loyalty. During this stage, customers need to feel confident that their purchase was the right decision, and they should have access to support if they have any questions or issues with their order. This is also a good time to lay the foundations for their next purchase, if they are content. Following up with customers after they make a purchase and offering personalized recommendations can help build a lasting relationship with your brand.

By understanding the different stages of the customer experience, you can tailor your eCommerce strategy to meet your customers’ needs and deliver an exceptional experience that builds customer loyalty and drives revenue for your business.

How customer experience influences retention

The customer experience is one of the most significant factors that can influence customer retention in eCommerce. If customers have a positive experience shopping on your site, they’re more likely to return and make future purchases. On the other hand, a negative experience can turn customers away and cause them to take their business elsewhere.

A seamless and enjoyable shopping experience can create a sense of brand loyalty and build trust with your customers. By providing personalized offers, relevant recommendations, and excellent customer service, you can create a connection with your customers that goes beyond a single transaction.

On the other hand, if customers experience issues like long wait times, poor customer service, or confusing navigation, they may feel frustrated or discouraged. They may also leave negative reviews or share their experiences on social media, which can negatively impact your brand reputation.

To prevent this, it’s crucial to prioritize the customer experience throughout the entire customer journey, from pre-purchase to post-purchase. Continuously evaluate your performance and adjust your strategies as necessary to create the best possible customer experience. By doing so, you’ll increase the likelihood that customers will return to your site and make additional purchases, ultimately driving customer retention and revenue growth.

How to improve your eCommerce customer experience

Optimizing your eCommerce customer experience is an ongoing process that can help you stay ahead of the competition and ensure customer loyalty. By continually refining your customer experience, you can identify areas for improvement and make changes that help increase customer satisfaction, retention, and revenue for your business.

Here are some strategies to improve your eCommerce customer experience:

Offering a wide range of possibilities/choices

By providing customers with a diverse selection of products or services, you can increase their likelihood of making a purchase and improve their overall experience on your website.

Interactive product pages

Adding interactive elements to your product pages, such as 360-degree product images or videos, can help customers get a better sense of the product and make an informed decision.

Variety of payment methods

Providing multiple payment options can help increase conversion rates and make the checkout process more convenient for customers.

Customized offers

Personalizing offers and recommendations based on a customer’s browsing history or past purchases can help build customer loyalty and drive revenue.

Constant reinvention

Continually updating your website with new products, features, or design elements can help keep your customers engaged and encourage repeat visits.

Make it easy to shop and navigate from different channels and devices

Ensure that your website is optimized for different devices, including mobile, tablet, and desktop, and provide a seamless shopping experience across all channels. For example, a common blocker for purchases for mobile shoppers is receiving a text message about a deal or rewards points, but having to locate the code or place to redeem it once clicking through to the site. Make sure you’re optimized to solve these issues.

Fast and easy ways of communication

Provide customers with quick and easy ways to get in touch with your support team, such as live chat or phone support, to help resolve any issues or questions they may have.


Be upfront with customers about pricing, shipping, and return policies, to build trust and avoid surprises or confusion.

Identifying and highlighting the unique selling proposition

Clearly communicate the unique value proposition of your business and products to stand out from competitors and attract new customers.

Become customer-centric

Put the customer at the center of your eCommerce strategy and use customer feedback to continually improve their experience on your website.

How to measure success

Tracking your eCommerce customer experience metrics is crucial to understanding whether you’re meeting customer expectations or need to make improvements. By keeping tabs on these metrics, you can gain valuable insights into what’s working well and what needs to be addressed.

Metrics to track

In the world of eCommerce, there are several key metrics associated with customer experience that you should be aware of. These include Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), Customer Effort Score (CES), Net Promoter Score (NPS), customer churn and retention, First Response Time (FRT), Average Resolution Time (ART), and Customer Lifetime Value (LTV).

  • CSAT measures how satisfied customers are with a specific interaction or experience, typically through a survey.
  • CES measures how much effort a customer had to put into achieving their goal, for example, making a purchase or resolving an issue.
  • NPS is a measure of customer loyalty, asking how likely customers are to recommend your brand to others.
  • Churn and retention rates indicate the percentage of customers who leave versus those who continue doing business with you.
  • FRT and ART measure the time it takes for a customer support agent to respond to and resolve a customer issue.
  • LTV measures the total revenue a customer brings to your business over the course of their lifetime.

Tracking these metrics can help you identify where your brand is excelling and where improvements need to be made. For example, if your CSAT score is low, you may need to work on improving your customer support or website usability. If your NPS score is low, it could indicate a need to focus on building customer loyalty and advocacy. By keeping a close eye on these metrics, you can make data-driven decisions to improve your eCommerce customer experience and ultimately increase customer satisfaction, retention, and revenue.

Tools and methods for measurement

​​You can use software and online tools that track these metrics, like Google Analytics, Hotjar, and SurveyMonkey. These tools can help you measure customer satisfaction, customer effort, and net promoter scores. Additionally, they can track customer churn and retention, first response time, average resolution time, and customer lifetime value.

But if you don’t have the budget for these tools or don’t want to invest in them just yet, you can still measure these metrics using your own performance analytics. For example, customer satisfaction can be measured by analyzing customer feedback through emails or social media. Customer effort can be measured by analyzing how many clicks or steps it takes for a customer to complete a purchase. Net promoter score can be measured by analyzing how likely customers are to recommend your brand to their friends and family.

First response time and average resolution time can be measured using your website’s chatbot and support email systems. And customer lifetime value can be calculated by analyzing how much a customer spends on your site over the entire duration of their relationship with your brand.

By measuring these metrics, you can gain a better understanding of how your eCommerce store is performing and identify areas where you need to improve.

The bottom line is…

Optimizing your eCommerce customer experience is crucial to building customer loyalty and increasing revenue for your business. By tracking key metrics and continually refining your approach to each stage of the customer journey, you can ensure that your customers have a seamless and enjoyable experience on your website.

Ultimately, a positive customer experience can lead to increased customer retention, which is an essential piece of any eCommerce retention marketing plan. By focusing on the customer and putting their needs at the center of your strategy, you can ensure that your business thrives in a highly competitive market.

So, take the time to evaluate your customer experience and make the necessary changes to provide a seamless and enjoyable experience for your customers.