Tipping in e-commerce

  • How to build positive customer experience in contact with the store?
  • How to obtain the wow effect on the customer in times of information noise?
  • What constitutes a tip in the case of online stores and why should you fight for them?

Is it still possible to surprise the customer in a positive way in a time of remarketing, Black Friday and twenty-four hours seven days a week access? Well, the answer is – absolutely yes. All you need is a little bit of time, a handful of desire and a pinch of creativity. But at the beginning we should take care of the basics.

No attempt to create the wow effect on the customer will work if there are basic problems on the e-shop – customers line. The confidence is like an egg – it’s easy to destroy it, and when it happens, you can only clean it up. What is particularly worth taking care of?

Ensuring a sense of security

Despite the fact that collection order delivery is more expensive than other delivery options, it is still popular among customers. Why is that? Because it provides security. Online shopping is a relatively new way of buying items, which, however, has been quickly and effectively adopted by – above all – young people. Especially at the beginning, internet users were cautious about online shopping because they were afraid of fraud. The issue of adding credibility to the entire purchasing process was (and still is) one of the main challenges of online store owners.

Example:

Aliexpress mastered the art of building a sense of security of the buyer. One of the main problems of this platform was the lack of trust in Asian store owners among customers from other continents. Therefore, this e-commercial giant introduced free shipping of products from Asia (although the delivery time in such case reaches up to several weeks). In addition, it offers a refund if the shipment reaches the customer after the deadline and when the product doesn’t match the description or doesn’t work properly. Does it happen a lot? Yes, I’ve returned the goods several times, although I’m not a regular customer of this platform. Does this discourage me from buying? No, because I know that in the worst case I will simply not lose anything, and I can get a nice item at a good price. Ensuring a sense of security is crucial issue here.

Efficient communication

Nothing destroys relationships more than the lack of communication. This also applies to the relationships between customer and e-shop. Customers, having different experiences with online shopping, are often afraid that the seller won’t respond to messages, won’t read the delivery note or won’t accept a complaint if the product turns out to be defective. How can we fix it? First of all, you should be available to the customer. A good product is one thing, but efficient communication definitely increases the customer loyalty.

How to improve communication with the customer in the store? Providing a messenger on the store’s website (e.g. Livechat, Tawk.to) is a good idea, that will allow you to quickly exchange messages without having to open e-mail or reach for the phone. Live Chat with Facebook Messenger plugin is also worth installing. This tool allows dynamic conversation with the user via messenger chat. It allows not only a quick response to issues bothering the buyer (notification of the arrival of a message on Facebook is an additional advantage), but also to find out who the person on the other side of the screen is, to check what he/she is doing, or even personalize the answer by knowing his/her name.

I was positively surprised by the introduction of chat by Ryanair, which allows you to quickly and efficiently get information about a shifted flight or a cost-free change of booking.

Exceeding expectations

Many modern customers don’t pay much attention to the price of the product. Aspects such as delivery speed, nice, ecological packaging, and the option of picking up a parcel at a specific point are becoming more and more important to them. In addition to standard discounts, we should look for areas where we can positively surprise the customer and provide value that the competitors don’t offer at all.

1) Panda Wanda

Panda Wanda is an online store with organic products. On the website you can order vegan products that fit the zero waste principle, without plastic. Such a store is expected above all to provide high quality products. Panda Wanda, however, showed how to exceed the customer’s ecological expectations thanks to the leaflet added to the package. However, it is not just an ordinary leaflet, as you can plant it in a pot to grow flowers! A message perfectly suited to the target group, consistent with the company’s mission and properly executed. I would like to see more of such creations.

Panda Wanda leaflet attached to the package
Source: Panda Wanda.

2) Coffeedesk

Coffeedesk is an e-store selling coffee, tea and brewing accessories, known for unconventional customer service and, above all, for personalized drawings on the packages. When buying, you can ask for any illustration and the store employee will make it for you. And it actually happens – examples can be seen on the company’s social media sites. At the last order I also asked for a drawing, and more specifically for “something nice”. I received an illustration of a nice snowman, a few stickers and badges. These things were simple, but at the same time enjoyable. In addition, at the bottom of the elegantly decorated box I could read a charming message: “If you read this text it means that you have great taste and like good products. We like you! The CoffeeDesk.pl team :)”.

A box from Coffeedesk
Source: Coffeedesk.

How do I get a tip in the case of online payment?

According to the ARC Rynek i Opinia report “Customer in a restaurant“, around 58% of Poles tip in restaurants “quite often, very often, or always”. How many Poles tip while paying online? It would seem that none. But are we sure about it?

Maybe instead of asking “How many Poles tip in e-commerce”, we should consider what are actually tips in e-commerce? We often hear that one of the greatest values that e-sellers are seeking today, is the user’s attention. It’s hard to disagree. The tip for our online store is in this case the customer’s attention. What form does it take? First of all, the form of recommendations. How to make our clients recommend us more often? Sometimes it’s enough to ask.

Example:

Eataway offers “food experience” at the homes of cooks around the world. After choosing a cook, booking a meal and making the payment, we have the option of sharing on our Facebook profile information that we’re taking part in a specific meal prepared by a particular cook and encouraging our friends to join us at the table.

Information displayed on the Eataway website after purchasing a dinner
Source: eataway.com.

By enabling customers to share information about us, we not only increase brand awareness, but also sales conversion. However, make sure that the message regarding the request for recommendation isn’t too aggressive. It is worth ensuring the visibility of the message, call to action and added value for the customer, who is supposed to pay back with “tips” for our e-store.

Double-edged sword

We get used to good things. It can be impeccable customer service, excellent products, express delivery. What happens if we aren’t served as well as we expected?

Example:

One of the companies already mentioned in the article is known for active interaction with recipients. I wanted to use it and once decided to directly ask on Twitter for the recommendation of one of their products. Unfortunately, I received a disappointing answer with a link to the store’s assortment. No interaction, recommendations or advice. I felt disappointed. You may say it’s no big deal, but I was accustomed to a high level of responsiveness and therefore I expected something more.

Building positive customer experiences, on the one hand, attracts new buyers to us, but on the other, it brings a risk of creating the image of an ideal company, which in the event of a mistake, even a small one, will expose us to the negative response of disappointed users. Therefore, it is worth focusing on providing the greatest value and maintaining an equal level both in terms of contact with the customer and the quality of the products sold.

The examples described in the article are not industry quantum physics. There are no fireworks, viral music videos or -90% promotions. Before you start thinking about additional marketing campaigns, take care of the basics: quality and regularity of contact with customers, and ensuring a sense of security for buyers. By building strong foundations and exceeding customer expectations, we establish a competitive advantage in the market. Users that feel well served will come back to us, bring friends and stay longer. It is worth pursuing such tips in e-commerce.

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Grzegorz Górzyński
Creates and helps clients develop their marketing and business strategies.

He has gained experience in NGOs, corporations, startups, SMEs and agencies, thanks to which he looks at business holistically. He has worked with Facebook Inc. on the Global Developer Circles project.

He has trained several hundred people in marketing, social media and validation of business ideas. He stood on the stage of, among others, Social Media Week Warsaw, BOSS Festival, PR Camp.

He loves Lean Startup approach, travel and good food.

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