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Online Customers Expectations: What You Need to Know About Your Audience

online customer expectations

Thanks to the changing face of retail, more and more consumers are gravitating away from in-store shopping to online shopping. While that may remove the in-person aspect of the shopping experience, online customer expectations only continue to grow.

Let’s face it; retail is changing and changing fast. Thanks to recent events, more and more big-name brands are finding themselves closing their physical locations due to poor performance. For example, the popular lingerie brand, Victoria’s Secret, recently announced that they were closing approximately 250 stores in the U.S. Now, just because their brick and mortar storefronts are closing, doesn’t mean the brand is plummeting. Instead, they are shifting their focus to their e-commerce shops.

In fact, 2019 saw the total e-commerce share of global retail sales jump from 12.2% to 14.4%. Why – because consumers are looking for a simplified shopping experience that caters to their “get now” mentality.

Online Customer Expectations vs. In-Store Expectations

Thanks to that consumer shift in mindset, brands are working hard to meet their online customer expectations. However, many find themselves hung up on what consumers expect virtually as verse to in-store.

When a consumer visits a brick and mortar store, they expect a few things:

  • Polite team members
  • A warm and inviting environment
  • A clean environment
  • Availability of stock

That’s simple enough to work with when you are working face to face with your target audience. When you shift that interaction to an e-commerce store, however, you lose a lot of those “feel good” vibes that allow you to get those sales.

3 Online Consumer Expectations of Brands

While you’re expected to alter your behaviors to meet changing customer expectations, your customers expect you to still know what they want and deliver it. Customer expectations for online shopping require that you not only know who your customer base is but to anticipate their problems and have solutions ready.

If you’re not quite sure what online customer expectations may include, here are three to get you started.

1. Convenience

Above all else, consumers turn to online shopping for its convenience. They don’t have to get dressed, start the car and remember to bring their wallet as they would when heading out to the local shops. Instead, they expect to go online, find what they want, put it in their “shopping cart” and checkout with ease.

This means you need to have a website that is properly optimized to draw in the right traffic, and that works efficiently. Believe it or not, even a one-second page load delay could infuriate a potential customer enough to move on to your competition.

2. Personalization

You already know that when you move to an online storefront, you lose that “human” touch that goes along with in-store visits. However, your customers still expect you to treat them like the individual they are, not just another number in your system. In fact, 84% of consumers state that for a brand to win their business, they must feel as if they are being treated like a person.

3. Immediate Support

Finally, your online customers expect you to meet their needs as if you were working with them one-on-one in-store. If you can’t handle a customer complaint in a reasonable timeframe, then studies show that 49% of American shoppers have no problem moving on to your competition.

Let’s Talk Online Customer Expectations

E-commerce customer expectations are always changing, and it is hard to keep track of best practices on your own. That’s why I’ve started a private online business networking community where like-minded individuals can talk strategy and help each other succeed.

Even better, anyone who signs up to join my community, The Hive, will also get free access to my online course, The Path to Digital Success, [cb2] where I help you develop and strengthen your online strategy. Have questions about The Hive or my online course? Then let’s chat!


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