The world of e-commerce can be a tricky environment in which to do business. 

On one side are the customers who want to work with a website that is easy to navigate, has an engaging user interface and supports mobile devices. On the other are the vendors who want to be able to make updates to the website quickly and easily, track customer preferences and create an environment that encourages repeat purchases.

Certainly, vendor’s goals are reasonable, yet in many cases the customer’s expectation is not met, and the vendor is left trying to figure out how to ensure customer loyalty.

Another area that is critically important to the success of any e-commerce site -- from both the customer and vendor viewpoint -- is consistency. Information that is available on the website must match content that is listed in catalogs, direct mail and social media outlets. While promoting this type of consistency may seem obvious, it is much more challenging than you might think.

Striving For a Customer-Centric Approach

To ensure customer loyalty it is important to take a customer-centric approach when developing an e-commerce site. But in reality what does the term “customer-centric” really mean? Is it just another marketing term? Without getting out the dictionary, I’ll simply define it as taking an approach where all of your e-commerce interactions are designed to enhance your customer’s experience.

For example, let’s look at single sign-on. If I am shopping on a website multiple times, it would make my life much easier if I could simply provide my personal information once and not have to constantly re-enter the same information.

Sounds simple, right? Well, you would be surprised by how many sites make this a challenge for the customer. Yes, this may be considered a minor issue, but when you combine it with other features that are designed to be customer-centric, what you have in the end is a much happier customer.

Also keep in mind that, even if you think features like single sign-on aren’t such a big deal, your competitors may think it is. Companies that are known for providing a great Web experience, like Zappos and Amazon, are the ones that think about what their competitors are providing.