The most effective way to collect feedback in e-commerce

Let’s talk about feedback. Most online businesses agree that it’s difficult to improve the customer experience without collecting feedback. But, it’s also a challenge within itself to get feedback from customers.

To help us over the hurdles of collecting feedback, we sat down with Lumoa’s Feedback Expert and VP of Partnerships Taru Aalto. She shared with us the best practice tips on how eCommerce stores can improve feedback collection.

If you want to learn more about collecting feedback the right way, this blog post is for you.


Why is feedback so important?

The main goal of feedback is to improve the customer experience of your online store and to increase sales. Most of us have had a bad online buying experience at some point, and have stopped using an online store because of it. So, there is a lot of value in a good online experience.

If the buying process is too difficult, or the customer is unable to find the information they need to buy, they will most likely go elsewhere. To understand the core issues behind why people are exiting your web store, you need to collect feedback.

“Purchasing is a process. And with each step, you lose certain people. So, collecting feedback from website visitors helps you identify the reasons why you lose customers.” Aalto explains.

With feedback, you can identify the issues you need to fix on your online store. And once the issues are solved, more people can go through the funnel happily and spend more.

“People talk when they have a good experience,” Aalto reminds us. In fact, it is estimated that word-of-mouth marketing results in 5x more sales than paid media.

“You get the viral effect when customers get excited. They tell their friends: ‘Hey, this worked really well.’” Aalto said.

What to consider when asking for feedback?

1. Timing is everything

Like with many things in life, timing is everything when collecting feedback. If you time your feedback collection poorly you are unlikely to get good results.

“The first thing to understand is the digital customer journey. So, the touch points when you interact with your customers - All the way from discovery to purchase.” Aalto says.

The best timing for feedback depends also on the goal of the feedback. Do you want to improve the online experience, or do you want to get feedback on the buying process? These are two very different goals, and the feedback collection happens at different stages.

“It's really about identifying these right moments to ask for feedback. Typically, this happens when a customer has just finished doing something,” Aalto says.

When you look at the discovery phase and the awareness phase you ask for feedback after the customer has spent a certain time on your website, but they have not yet completed a purchase.

For these customers, Aalto recommends targeting a general satisfaction feedback survey to ask how satisfied they are with their experience with your website.

On the other hand, feedback on the buying experience should be asked straight after purchase when the experience is still fresh in the customer's mind. However, make sure not to disrupt the buying process.

“You don't want to stop the customer from purchasing by asking for feedback at the wrong time,” Aalto said.

2. Keep it short and simple

Another important point with feedback collection is to keep the survey short and simple. For example, you can let the customer give a score on how satisfied they were with the process and then ask a simple open-ended why question, such as why were you happy/unhappy with your experience

“It is really important not to ask several questions, but rather keep it short. This way you get more replies and also more free text answers, which are where the true insights for improvement are,” Aalto says.

Aalto suggests making sure that the customer sees the submit button on the first page of the survey instead of a button that says Next. “When the website visitor sees directly that this is a short survey, it makes it easier to respond,” Aalto says.

Aalto also recommends mentioning either the time it takes to answer the survey or the number of questions you plan to ask at the beginning of the survey.

“That way you manage the expectations and the customer can decide if they feel comfortable taking the time. “

Aalto highlights the value of open-ended questions. With open-ended questions, people will tell things that mattered to them. “These are the things that make the customer either jump out of joy or complain to their friends,” Aalto explains.

Taru Aalto

3. Repeat, repeat, repeat

Feedback is not something you can ask once and then forget about. You should survey your website visitors regularly, and optimise your site and products based on the feedback. 

“Feedback should be continuous and transactional,” Aalto says. So, look at the transactional moments on your website. Those are the moments where you set up an automated feedback process. 

Other best practice tips for feedback collection

Aalto highlights that feedback should always be looked at holistically. Remember to evaluate the feedback you get from other sites with the feedback collected from your own website. Social media pages and review sites, such as Trustpilot and Amazon, have a lot of feedback you can look into in combination with the feedback you have collected yourself.

“Keep in mind that nowadays you typically have a lot of existing feedback sources. “ Aalto says. “Most eCommerce companies have an app, Facebook or Instagram site. These are all full of reviews already. Many online stores also have a physical retail location and thus Google reviews.”

“Identify and pull together all the different sources of the voice of customers to truly understand your customers,” Aalto says.

Turning negative into positive

If you have gotten bad feedback, learn from it and improve. Always respond to negative feedback. That way you can turn a bad experience into a good one.

“So, think about feedback as your way of turning the negative into positive. This will build trust as well,” Aalto says.

More tips for feedback collection

Do you need more tips on how to collect feedback for your online store? Then check our guide to feedback collection.

Customer experience