new
Ava, the AI virtual agent for multichannel eCommerce. Try it today →
eDesk logo

How to Create a Customer Oriented eCommerce Business

Last updated April 27, 2022 5 min to read
eComm
Table of Contents

Share this article

The hyper-competitive landscape of eCommerce means the customer is always right, even when they’re wrong.

This is true for any business, of any size, in any sector. According to Forbes, customer oriented companies outperform their competition by nearly 80%.

Let’s take a look at what it takes to become a customer oriented eCommerce business. 

What is customer orientation?

Customer orientation is a mentality of structuring your entire business around the needs of the customer. Processes, staff training, product development; every aspect is geared towards reacting to consumer behaviour.

It contrasts with approaches like sales orientation which prioritises the needs of the business, or product orientation where focus is on developing a better product.

You’ll often see other disciplines interwoven throughout the topic. Customer experience management (CXM, or just CX) competes for space in the conversation. But CX is the means by which customer orientation is achieved; being customer oriented is the overarching philosophy.

Why be customer oriented?

When done correctly, being customer oriented wins you more customers who buy more often and for longer. Gaining loyal customers saves you having to win new business through marketing or product development, which is much more expensive than improving customer retention.

In fact, according to the Invesp marketing blog:

  • It costs five times as much to win a new customer as it does to retain an existing one
  • Your chances of selling to an existing customer are 60-70%, but a measly 5-20% for a new customer
  • Existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products
  • Loyal customers spend, on average, 31% more than new ones
  • A 5% increase in customer retention increases profits by 25-95%

So the economic case for adopting a customer-oriented business approach really couldn’t be any clearer. Surely everyone is doing this and the race is run, right?

Nope.

That same research found that only 18% of companies are focusing on retention through good CX. Only 40% of companies even place retention on an equal footing to winning new business.

This is a hugely exciting time to take a fresh look at the way your business is structured, and be among the first in your sector to really deliver for customers.

What does customer orientation mean for eCommerce?

When modelling your eCommerce business to be customer oriented, bear in mind that these principles have existed for a long time. There are still tricks you can learn from traditional retail.

Strong CX begins with a human connection. Many stores employ greeters to say hello at the door. It breaks the ice; it acknowledges customers as people. Walmart have been doing it since 1980. 

Could a chatbot perform the same function on your site? Orienting visitors and letting them know they can access help if they get lost boosts retention at a low cost. Chatbots can save you 30% in customer service costs, and 40% of customers don’t mind whether it’s a robot or a person answering their questions.

What else makes a good store? Friendly, knowledgeable staff, of course. Training retail teams pays dividends by empowering them to react to customers’ needs and make recommendations in the moment. This boosts consumer confidence and, yes, sales.

The eCommerce equivalent of this is making sure customer queries are answered in a timely and thorough fashion. Get the right eCommerce helpdesk software to pull all those queries into one place and support your team with the resources to reply.

How to become a customer oriented eCommerce business

It’s a big commitment to restructure your whole business around the customer’s needs. It may even feel counter-intuitive when some decisions clash with short-term profitability, but as we’ve explored, it’s a long game that pays off big.

When we say your whole business, we mean it. There are clear, definite steps you can take at every step, from product development to marketing and final delivery.

Step one: Product

Researching your customer remains the bedrock of customer orientation. Without this, you can’t match a product to their needs. Take time to find your eCommerce niche to appeal to the right customers, and source a product that meets their needs at the right price.

Even if your product already matches those needs, you need to listen to find the best way to articulate the benefit to them. If you can’t communicate a benefit, it doesn’t exist.

Producing appealing and educational content helps nurture your industry. There are people out there who don’t yet know they need your product. Good content marketing provides genuine value to customers, building goodwill and loyalty.

Iterate and evolve at the speed of the customer. Even if your R&D guys come up with a technically better, more profitable product, check whether customers are actually asking for it yet.

Support customers from the first touch point. Customer service isn’t only for when things go wrong, it should be introduced before the customer even knows about your product. Every interaction is a chance for feedback, which can go right back into developing your market fit.

Step two: Market

Provide good CX at every step. Tag, filter, and categorize products to make them easier to find. Produce striking landing pages which educate and convince. Cultivate a virtuous cycle where the better your CX gets, the more traffic you’ll get, which produces data you can use to improve your CX even more.

Ask for feedback as often as you can, across as many channels as you can. Track metrics like customer satisfaction (CSAT) from surveys, net promoter score to see who’d recommend you to others, and customer churn.

Use positive reviews in your marketing as much as possible, these help boost the visibility of your products on Amazon and eBay, as well as convincing prospects. 

Go mobile first, no matter who you are. Even if most of your traffic comes from desktop, Google still wants to see a mobile-friendly site. Aside from the SEO boost, changing browsing habits suggest this will also future-proof your site for Gen Y. You can get ahead of the game in this regard with your own eCommerce mobile app.

Customer oriented mobile app
Providing a mobile app helps you to become a customer oriented eCommerce business

Always try to personalize the experience. 88% of customers feel more positive about a brand if their experience feels like it has the personal touch. Even something as simple as using their name in email marketing helps. You’re limited only by your creativity and access to data.

Step three: Delivery

Be sure to make checkout as easy as possible. Sweat the little things. An average of 59.7% of people find filling in the same info twice to be the most annoying thing about checking out. 46% abandon a purchase over a long or complex checkout. Look into how you can reduce shopping cart abandonment

Try to keep your customers updated as much as possible. Order confirmed, dispatch status, delivery tracking; each notification is an opportunity to provide peace of mind. And any time spent reading communications from you is a chance for the customer to reaffirm that relationship.

Deliver the items as quickly as possible. Customer expectations of shipping times have plummeted in recent years. 44% of customers expect an order to arrive within two days. 13% expect next day delivery as the norm.

The quicker they get their stuff, the quicker they can leave that five-star review. Consider sweetening the deal with free shipping and returns, too.

Final thoughts

Putting your customer first yields big rewards, but it can be a seismic shift in mentality if you’ve spent years focusing on product and profit. However, making that jump delivers so much more than a feel-good moment.

Customer orientation gives you a more sustainable business in the face of ever-changing consumption habits. Now eCommerce rules the roost, that staying power makes the difference between businesses which get left behind and those which truly thrive.

Did you know that over 60% of US online retail purchases were made through Amazon last year? Amazon’s hold over eCommerce is well established, with 9.1 million active Amazon sellers worldwide and an average of 66 thousand orders per day. Newer sellers may be wondering how they can get more sales on Amazon in such a competitive environment.

The truth is, they absolutely can because with Amazon’s booming market share come many opportunities. We’ve assembled this digestible list of 14 quick wins and strategic moves, to help you up your game and sell more on Amazon.

1. Do keyword research

Having the right keywords can be one of the most important tactics in reaching your target audiences. Using the keywords that are common to searches for your products is the objective, but search engine optimisation (SEO) is a constantly evolving game. That means that keywords used successfully in the past may not be as effective with updated search engine algorithms today.

The terms used by customers to find products change daily and are affected by seasonal, cultural, and economic factors. Hence, it’s important to stay on top of the latest SEO trends and make sure you cast a wide net when implementing keywords for each product listing.

Each product should be optimized with as many relevant keywords as possible – into the hundreds! This gives you the best possible chance of getting your products found by customers, helping you sell more on Amazon.

Amazon keyword research tools like Helium 10, SellerApp, Jungle Scout, and AMZ One can help by generating a list of related keywords with search volume, competition level, and other useful metrics, making it easier for you to choose the best keywords for your product listing

2. Use a repricing tool to get more sales on Amazon

When it comes to sealing the deal and making a sale, price is a main deciding factor for many customers. As an Amazon seller, you always want to make sure you’re pricing your products competitively, but equally, you don’t want to lose your margin! 

This is something that using repricing software can help with. Repricing software automates the pricing process in real-time, ensuring your prices stay in line with those of competitors, and with market fluctuations, while you get more sales on Amazon.

Repricing software also has many customisable features that allow you to set prices at optimal levels to help drive sales, without compromising profit. It’s worth taking a trial to see how it can help lift your sales. 

3. Get more Amazon reviews

Online reviews are important to spread confidence through word of month and for building credibility for your brand. It’s also a fact that 72% of shoppers won’t buy until they’ve read reviews of a product from people like themselves – people they trust. 

Even a strong product with great marketing behind it still has to overcome the fear of the unknown if there’s no social proof. Plus, positive reviews are a significant factor in deciding which products win the Amazon Buy Box.

Get more Amazon reviews by encouraging feedback from your customers. The best way to do this is by utilizing feedback software to automate the process.

4. Provide great customer service

Customer service is absolutely essential in eCommerce. Offering top-quality customer service not only adds value, but helps retain customers. A big part of making a sale is assuring the customer that they can trust you to deliver, and that trust is hard earned but easily lost. Providing good eCommerce customer service is critical, and committing to providing great customer service is all the more so!

As an Amazon seller, you need to be on top of your customer service. Responsiveness, a friendly manner and quick and easy resolution processes are all ingredients that make for a winning approach to great customer service. 

But it can be confusing trying to streamline it all. Thankfully, there are all sorts of tools available to make this job easier, like helpdesk software to keep all your customer interactions in one place. This helps you to respond quickly and accurately to customer inquiries when they come in, so that your customers always know you’ve got their back.

5. Leverage Amazon seller tools

The best part about being an Amazon seller is that you don’t have to go it alone. There are numerous tools available to help you maximize your business and get the most out of selling on Amazon, whether third-party or FBA. 

From repricing tools, to help desk software, to review software and even shipping assistance, many tools exist on the market today that specifically help Amazon sellers optimize their listings, prices, feedback, shipping, customer service and even their taxes. 

There are many different seller tools available, so it’s worth reading about options and making an informed decision about the right ones to choose for your business. With the right tools, you can grow your business more than you ever thought possible. 

6. Get more sales on Amazon with ads

Running ads is almost guaranteed to help you get more sales on Amazon, but it’s easy to just throw money at them and hope for the best. You can do better! Pay attention to your advertising cost of sales (ACOS) metric, the figure for how much ad spend you need in order to make a sale.

By advertising more efficiently, you lower your ACOS and ensure you get more bang for your buck. Over time, you’ll learn what works and you can employ a strategy with regards to how you run your ads. Taking an insight-driven approach to Amazon ads results in a more profitable Amazon business!

7. Optimise your product pages

The old saying goes that 80% of readers never make it past the headline of any piece of content. That means once you’ve written your product title, you’ve effectively spent 80 cents of your dollar.

When writing product titles, stick to the formula of:

  • Brand name
  • Product name
  • Features (size, colour, gender etc). 

This lets you include the right keywords in the right order to immediately tell shoppers that this is the product for them.

Moreover, making sure to visually design your product pages so that they’re clean, simple and easy to read will also help win over shoppers. No one wants to read through a cluttered page. The more straightforward (yet informative) and the cleaner you make your design, the more likely you’ll be to win over those elusive eyeballs!

8. Win the Amazon Buy Box

The quickest way to get more sales on Amazon is by ensuring that your products show up consistently in the Amazon Buy Box (the area in the top right of a product page, where shoppers can ‘Add to Cart’ or ‘Buy Now’). This is because over 82% of sales happen through this highly sought after space.

Although the exact formula to win the Buy Box is unknown, there are a few things that we know are essential. These are mainly metrics that prove the seller is providing a good customer experience. Customer reviews play a big role here. The more positive reviews a seller can amass, the likelihood of winning the Buy Box increases. 

In addition to reviews, something else that’s obviously very important to Amazon shoppers is price! By using repricing software, you can automatically set your prices at the optimal level to win the Buy Box and maximize profit, even if you’ve got an enormous inventory.

9. Amazon account health rating

The Amazon account health rating (AHR) is a new feature that helps you monitor your account health based on its adherence to Amazon seller policies. 

It considers both negative factors (such as the number of unresolved policy violations on your account) as well as positive factors (how your account positively impacts the customer experience through its selling activities). 

Each account will be given a rating, which is regularly reviewed as Amazon monitors the performance of its sellers. If your account is off-target, you will be notified so that you can improve your performance. Conversely, a good AHR rating will work in your favor, helping assure customers that they’re doing business with a compliant seller. 

10. Maintain your Amazon SLA

A big part of being a seller is cultivating trust with your customers. That means showing them that you operate in an above-board manner and that you’ll make good on your promise of fulfillment to them. One way of doing that is by making sure your Amazon store has a Service Level Agreement (SLA). This is a promise to your customers that they’ll receive their orders on time. When it comes to fulfillment, the SLA is based on the capacity to fulfill open orders and on-time shipping and delivery. 

SLAs help manage customer expectations by defining standards and outlining circumstances under which you as the seller won’t be liable for unfulfilled promises (e.g., natural disasters preventing shipping, etc). 

eDesk’s customer service solution is designed to alert you when your SLA is expiring, so your business is never caught without one. Having a current SLA helps you maintain transparency with customers, thereby building trust which helps ensure customer loyalty.  

11. Focus on products that already sell

Most ambitious business owners want to try new streams of revenue, but it’s important not to lose sight of the things that are making you money now. 

By doubling down on the products that already provide your Amazon store with a reliable revenue stream, you not only deliver to market demand but ensure that you have the financial runway required to take risks on innovative new products, if need be. 

Review your financial statements every quarter and look at the items that are performing best in your store. Think about how you can continue to market these with ads, SEO keywords and upgraded images to maximize their selling potential in your online store. 

12. Sync your inventory

Inventory can be a delicate balancing act. Hold too much inventory for too long and you need to pay over the odds to store it. But hold too little inventory and you lose out on vital sales, or even customers, due to an inability to fulfill. Amazon can also penalize you if your inventory performance isn’t up to standard.

Stock control is something every seller needs to understand and have the capability to manage for optimal results. Smart inventory management is an under-appreciated way to increase your Amazon sales and profit margin. Fortunately, there are tools that can help. Investing in the right tools and software can help sellers take the stress out of balancing supply and demand.

13. Expand into new Amazon marketplaces 

Amazon currently has 20 marketplaces around the world, which include the US, Canada, Mexico, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, Singapore, Brazil, Australia and more. 

You can scale your brand by moving into some of these marketplaces. This can involve doing market research to find out which products are popular in each market and then uplevelling your shipping operations in order to be able to ship globally.  

But expanding into new markets also means you’ll need to take language into consideration and localize your listings so that they feature each marketplace’s local language and SEO keywords in the appropriate language. Multilingual customer service is also needed in order to be able to service customers across various marketplaces in their local language. 

Sounds complicated? It doesn’t have to be. eDesk’s help desk solution is designed to support customer service and workflow in multiple languages, so you can expand your business without investing in the overhead of hiring a global team. 

14. Spy on your competitors

Ok, maybe “spy” is a bit of an exaggeration, but profitable sellers are always on the lookout for what their competitors are doing. You want to make sure you’re offering the right inventory for your market at the right prices. Repricing software will monitor this for you, taking the guesswork out of pricing at the right levels. 

Using data gleaned from helpdesk reporting can also help you gather valuable insights and feedback from your customers, which will help you to better understand what customers want and need. Acting on analytics-driven insights from easy-to-read reports means you’re always one step ahead of the competition. 

Final thoughts

The quest to increase your store’s Amazon sales doesn’t need to be an uphill struggle. There are many resources available to Amazon sellers today to help them optimize their store and develop a healthy sales pipeline. 

By staying in touch with how the Amazon platform grows and using the right tech tools to drive your business, you can continue to do what you do best: building a great brand, winning customers, retaining existing customers and improving your bottom line. 

Looking for more great content like this? We’ve curated a list of related resources for you down below