Putting Together Your Ecommerce Feedback Survey

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I’d like to begin this article by painting a picture of a relative scenario that happens in traditional brick-and-mortar retail stores across the world every day: a customer enters a clothing store and heads to the denim section. They look at the price tags and then make their way to the sale section, where they grab a couple pairs and try them on; only to leave without purchasing anything.

What you can infer here is that the customer wanted jeans, thought yours were too expensive and the ones in their price range didn’t fit properly. As a storeowner, if this is a common thing you see in your shop you can make the necessary changes without needing too much physical data.

In the world of ecommerce, it isn’t so simple. If customers are leaking out of your pipeline, you can’t just track their behavior the same way. There is nobody manning the shop when you aren’t there, so it is slightly more difficult to understand what your target customer wants (or more importantly, doesn’t want) from your store.

This is where customer feedback plays a pivotal role when it comes to ecommerce websites. This article is going to go over why putting together a feedback survey is important and how you can go about creating one for your ecommerce site.

What is a Feedback Survey?

A feedback survey is a series of questions that you ask a customer to fill out after they have purchased something from your website. It is a critical way for your customers to tell you what you’re doing right and what you are doing wrong. They provide insight into the mind of your customers immediately. You don’t have to accumulate data or wait for significant results to build up as you would with other web analytic tools.

Tips for Creating Your Feedback Survey

There are a few issues with feedback surveys, the chief drawback being that nobody wants to fill them out. However, that doesn’t mean that they should be discredited or dismissed as a valuable resource. Here are a few tips to help you create a feedback survey for your ecommerce website:

  • Keep It Short: Sometimes affectionately known as Keep It Short, Stupid (or KISS). It’s absolutely important to make your message as clear and concise as you possibly can. Find the shortest way to ask a question without convoluting your message. Also, nobody wants to sit around and waste thirty minutes of their life doing a survey.
  • Only ask questions that fulfill your end goal: Every question you ask should have a purpose and strong reason for being there. If it doesn’t matter how the user found your website, and will not impact future marketing plans, don’t ask that question. Do you really need to know the user’s name? If not, don’t ask.
  • Use smart, open-ended questions: While multiple choice answers may be the easier approach with regards to measuring data and creating easy-to-digest graphs, an open-ended question will allow the user to give a detailed response that requires in-depth thought. While many users may not fill them out, the responses you get from an open-ended question will almost always contain more value.

People will typically not do surveys unless the service was either amazing or terrible, so the easier you make it for the user to complete, the more likely you are to see results. For example, one survey from Netflix features a ‘one-click’ method that simplifies the process.

Where to Place a Survey

For those who have never had to build ecommerce websites before, placement is an important part of the web design. Placing the survey in a non-intrusive place just after checkout is the most effective method. You don’t want to put the survey before checkout actually happens because you don’t want to distract a customer from making the purchase.

Customer surveys are a great way to gain the insight needed to make your ecommerce website more desirable which will lead to more sales.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.