Today’s discriminating customers demand self-service capabilities for every aspect of their online shopping experience. If your webstore and ecommerce system don’t offer customers the self-service tools they want, you’re risking customer attrition and lost sales.

Customer self-service should be a hallmark of your ecommerce system in giving shoppers 24/7 visibility and control. You need to offer customers real-time information on product orders, status and delivery times that they can easily track on the web. Your website should offer online forms for customers to ask questions or report a problem, along with conventional channels of email and phone calls.

Customers also want to be able to review order histories over time, manage return authorizations and quickly find answers to their questions on your site, whether it be by search, in an FAQ, or in a customer forum. Your site should offer consumers the option to establish a registered account, which enables you to provide more personalized, relevant content while strengthening self-service functionality and customer loyalty. Depending on your type of business, registration offers the chance to engage customers with user reviews, customized communications, blogs, wish lists, community forums and more.

Of course, online customer self-service can also help you reduce support costs. Your ecommerce platform should provide tools that give your staff complete visibility into customer activity across all channels. That ensures that when a customer does contact you with a question, your team can provide timely and personal attention with real-time information on the customer’s order history, shipment and payment status, and website activities.

Your customer service reps should also be able to see all previous correspondences with the customer, and, when appropriate, make cross-sell recommendations based on information collected by your ecommerce engine.

And if a shopper wants to pick-up or return an online purchase at one of your physical stores, it is essential to support that as well.  Shoppers expect all of your sales channels to work as one.  By integrating your sales channels with a single back-office, shoppers can seamlessly research, buy and return from different channels.