By Mario Peshev, Rush.app
The global e-commerce market is booming, totaling more than $6.3 trillion in transactions this year and accounting for over one-fifth of all retail sales.
This popularity surge is an unprecedented opportunity for brands and platforms to grow their customer base and boost revenues after years of supply chain disruption, shifting customer expectations, and inflation complexity.
It also poses a unique challenge. As e-commerce has become more popular, brands and platforms are quickly pivoting their approach to accommodate a digital-first customer base. For example, Walmart, once primarily known for its in-store experience, launched Walmart Plus, a membership program that competes with Amazon, in 2020.
The pilot has paid off as the retail giant saw e-commerce sales increase by 24 percent in Q2 2023 while in-store revenue grew by just 6.4 percent.
For less established companies, acquiring new customers can be extremely difficult, especially in an increasingly crowded e-commerce ecosystem where infinite shopping opportunities are just a click away.
What’s more, acquiring new customers is expensive. While the actual costs vary significantly by industry, customer acquisition costs (CAC) have generally surged in the past decade, increasing by 222 percent between 2013 and 2022.
That’s why successfully competing in today’s e-commerce landscape requires brands and platforms to better leverage their existing customers, optimizing post-purchase engagement to drive future revenue outcomes.
Here are three ways to begin that process now to better engage customers in 2024 and beyond.
#1 Help People Order With Confidence
With just a few taps separating people from their purchase, many buyers find online shopping a simple, fun, and convenient experience.
Too often, completing the purchase is where the fun stops. After shoppers complete a purchase online, delivery anxiety derails the experience as excitement and enthusiasm give way to worry that their items won’t make it to the right place at the right time.
This is especially true for high-stakes purchases like birthday presents and holiday gifts that can be treasured when delivered on time but disasters when their arrival is delayed.
Brands and e-commerce platforms help customers order with confidence when they proactively provide real-time order tracking.
The vast majority of buyers want this feature. One survey by the logistics company DHL found that 70 percent of respondents wanted regular status updates on their order transit progress.
Buyers agree, acknowledging that real-time order tracking makes the purchase process more enjoyable and makes them more loyal to particular retailers, a critical component of long-term financial success.
In other words, real-time order tracking doesn’t just make people happier with their initial purchase. It encourages them to become repeat buyers, earning their trust (and business) for years to come.
#2 Connect With People Before They Leave
As simple as it is to complete a purchase online, it’s just as easy to walk away. This helps explain the astounding 77 percent cart abandonment rate at many online retailers.
These shoppers make it all the way to the finish line, but they never actually make it across for various reasons. This is devastating for e-commerce companies as all of their customer acquisition resources are seemingly squandered at the last minute.
However, an intentional plan to connect with people before or just after they leave can reclaim these missed opportunities. Often, shoppers don’t abandon their carts because they lost interest in their purchase but because they encountered minor obstacles that can be easily remedied.
For instance, the customer may have encountered:
- An overly complicated checkout process
- Unexpected fees or extra costs
- Long wait times for delivery
- Restrictive payment options
- Items out of stock
- Limited product choices.
A simple email or text can often revive a sale, especially if you have the customer’s contact details. Stores can attract customers by offering discounts, free shipping, notifications when an item is back in stock, deals on bundled products, or additional payment options.
In this way, e-commerce platforms can bring customers back from the brink, converting would-be lost causes into satisfied customers.
#3 Communicate a Reasonable Return Policy
By any measure, returns in the e-commerce space have become absurd, with incredible costs for e-commerce companies, the environment, and ultimately consumers.
According to one analysis, “the annual retail value of returned goods in the U.S. is said to be approaching a trillion dollars.”
Customers, initially influenced by Zappos and later by Amazon, frequently return items, with over 16% of all online purchases being returned. This has led many businesses to modify their return policies, especially for clothing, shoes, and similar products. This pendulum swing, where e-commerce platforms make return policies overly restrictive in response to excessive customer behavior, is often antithetical to progress and company growth.
Notably, a SalesForce analysis discovered that 79 percent of shoppers will abandon their carts if free returns are not offered at checkout. However, that doesn’t mean they react negatively to reasonable return policies.
Communicate a straightforward and reasonable return policy that acknowledges the need to return some items while minimizing the impact on the bottom line.
Build Trust to Make Your E-Commerce Brand More Competitive Than Ever
The rapid growth of the e-commerce sector offers both opportunities and challenges for brands and platforms.
As the marketplace becomes increasingly crowded and customer acquisition costs rise, the emphasis shifts from simply acquiring new customers to optimizing post-purchase engagement to ensure long-term loyalty and drive future revenues.
To better engage customers post-purchase, companies must prioritize building trust with transparent real-time order tracking, proactive outreach during the potential cart abandonment phase, and clear, reasonable return policies. By addressing these areas, businesses can enhance customer satisfaction and ensure sustainable growth and success in the expansive online ecosystem.
About the Author
Mario Peshev is the newly appointed CEO of Rush.app, a leading post-purchase automation solution for e-commerce platforms operating on Shopify. In June 2023, the company announced that Peshev, a successful and renowned entrepreneur and business advisor, joined the company as its new CEO. Peshev has a rich history of entrepreneurship, having successfully built multiple seven-figure businesses. He’s an accomplished angel investor, a knowledgeable business advisor who has helped more than 400 businesses to scale and refine their processes, and a prolific author whose work has been featured in over 30 universities. Mario is also the CEO of DevriX, a global WordPress agency serving industries from publishing to fintech, healthcare, ecommerce and more. Peshev empowers entrepreneurs with sage advice through the Growth Shuttle advisory and by supporting local and global aspiring technologists with scholarships, internships and educational opportunities. Mario is also an angel investor with SeedBlink. Follow him on Twitter @no_fear_inc and connect on LinkedIn.