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How to improve the online customer experience for your outdoor living eCommerce store

July 15, 2022

Experience is everything, especially for eCommerce stores where face-to-face interactions don't occur. If you're an outdoor living company selling items online, the primary aim should be to give shoppers an incredible experience. But how do you make customers happy? In this guide, we're sharing five tips for how outdoor living eCommerce stores can improve the online customer experience.

1) Personalisation is key

Personalisation improves customer loyalty and creates a relationship between you and the shopper. Just because you can't have in-person interactions with shoppers doesn't mean you can't personalise their experience. 

As an online store, you should have access to your customer's previous shopping history. Tap into that data to give them incentives based on their shopping habits, such as offering the seating set to the garden table they previously purchased. 

Consider providing personal discounts on your outdoor living products or make recommendations based on past purchases. Beyond that, use special occasions – like their birthdays or sign-up anniversaries – to give them exclusive access to online sales events and promotions. 

2) Give them more ways to pay

Online shoppers demand flexibility in how they pay for products and services. At least a quarter of consumers now expect alternative payment methods like buy now pay later (BNPL) when shopping online. 

Outdoor living stores, in particular, should implement BNPL and other flexible payment methods, as garden furniture usually costs hundreds, if not thousands of pounds. Giving customers the option to spread the cost over a set payment structure leads to more successful checkouts, with shoppers feeling empowered to complete a purchase instead of abandoning their cart. 

Research shows that 57% of merchants report lower abandonment rates after introducing finance options. The benefits don’t stop there - you’ll also likely to increase customer loyalty by providing shoppers with more choice for how they pay. By offering BNPL, digital credit, pay monthly finance and additional payment solutions more consumers will choose your outdoor living store as their preferred choice.

3) Focus on navigation

The customer experience on your website should be fluid, and they shouldn’t need to think about their next steps. To achieve this, you need excellent website design with an emphasis on navigation and search. 

Try to limit unnecessary clicks and don’t overload pages with information. Website speed is also key, so customers don’t get a clunky experience with slow loading times between pages. These small tweaks can make a significant difference to the user experience.  

Another vital aspect of good site navigation is the search bar. Most online stores have some form of search function, but it’s often an underused utility. Don’t neglect the importance of site search in the customer journey, as it’s a seamless way for shoppers to match their intent with the right products and services. 

4) Use marketing platforms

Social media has given businesses a platform to increase their reach and interact with customers directly. Use it to your advantage and build an online following so you can keep audiences in the loop about upcoming promotions and product-related news. 

But don't just stop with social media. Marketing should be fully functional, from sending emails to creating regular content, such as blog articles. Focus on using these methods to promote your products and offer value to customers. 

To illustrate, write a blog article about how to install summer furniture or what makes a suitable greenhouse. Give your audience value with top-of-the-funnel content that builds trust and paints you as a thought leader in outdoor living. Audiences will appreciate the insights and come to see you as a trustworthy brand that knows its stuff. 

5) Optimise mobile shopping

More shoppers use mobile devices like phones and tablets to buy their products, and they expect a seamless experience between desktop and mobile. In 2021, eCommerce sales on mobile devices accounted for 71%

As technology improves, you can expect even more shoppers to lean on smart devices for buying products. There's been a clear shift in the way people make purchases over the last few years and dependency on mobile devices will only increase. 

Many customers will save an item to their favourites using a computer and come back later ready to complete the purchase on their phone. Ensuring your website is optimised for mobile means you’re covering all angles while catering to customers by providing a positive experience that makes them want to use your online store. 

A five-star experience 

Outdoor living products are a big hit with shoppers. After all, Brits take a certain amount of pride in their gardens, terraces and patios. By ensuring a five-star customer experience, you can build loyalty and repeat business that sees your outdoor living store become the go-to digital spot for consumers looking to improve their gardens with high-quality furniture and items.