Shutterstock Product VP on E-Commerce Growth (Part 3)
Building a successful e-commerce product is all about retaining customers. Simply put, it’s hard enough to get customers to visit your site – let alone to actively purchase items on your site. As a result, it’s critical to build long-term loyalty with your customers. First, you’re able to build predictive models more effectively to gauge your user preferences. Most importantly, it reduces your overall costs by limiting your expenses to acquire new users.
Now, this is much easier said than done. As we know, getting your users through the purchasing funnel is difficult and there’s a lot of hand-holding before they choose to buy an item. What does it take for e-commerce platforms to generate long-term loyalty? In my experience, there are four areas that you need to be true of your product to build loyalty.
You have what they want.
Easily serve your products to customers to make a purchase decision.
Offer fair terms for pricing and fulfillment.
Customer service team that resolves issues quickly and easily.
This probably won’t come as a surprise, but Amazon represents the best example of an e-commerce platform that delivers on all fronts. If you think about when Amazon launched in the 1990s, they were able to resolve many of the most common issues with early online shopping. For example, the checkout process was very slow and clunky. Furthermore, customers had to wait upwards of eight business days to receive an item in the mail.
Given these factors, Amazon completely reimagined the online shopping experience and the associated support network around every purchase. First, Amazon made checkout super-simple by adding one-click checkout to their platform. Plus, the introduction of Amazon Prime enabled items to show up at your door in two business days.
Most importantly, they built an incredible amount of trust by providing a superior customer service experience. As we know, Amazon makes returns or inquiries about damaged items incredibly straight forward. Simply put, they usually just say “we’re sorry” and they’ll issue a refund instantly.
In the end, this e-commerce strategy does more than simply build loyalty. Ultimately, it also enables businesses to charge a premium for the services they provide. Today, Amazon isn’t necessarily the cheapest option on the market. However, they’ve built incredible trust and confidence that they’ll deliver on everything that they promise. This is the key to sustaining long-term success for e-commerce products.
About the speaker
Chris Cosentino is a VP of Product Management at Shutterstock where he focuses on optimizing and building an e-commerce marketplace to enable creative professionals around the world to tell their stories. Prior to his time at Shutterstock Chris was a Group Product Manager at Etsy - focused on building a global payments platform for buyers and sellers and then leading overall growth. In previous roles, Chris also worked in enterprise software and finance. He received a degree from Boston College.