We all know that when it comes to online shopping the decision to purchase is not purely based on the desire to obtain the goods. It is related to the customer experience that the shopper has while on the website. If the experience is bad enough it is likely to result in the shopper leaving and. It coming back.
It makes sense that the better the experience the more sales you will achieve. What needs to be considered to secure that sale and keep our customers coming back for more?
Online shopping is cross channel
As customers are spending their buying time online, it’s also clear that they are using many platforms to access the shopping site. It is no longer the case that customers use a single channel within the buying process – cross channel interaction is now used in the overall conversion journey aiding customers in their purchase decision. It is therefore essential that the online experience via all shopping channels is well optimised making it easy for visitors to access the relevant information and to buy.
- 78% of online shoppers often or sometimes research online before shopping in store
- 39% of online shoppers now spend the same or more online as they do in stores
- 1 in 4 shoppers (24%) research on their mobile while in store
- Although impulse shopping is more associated with stores, 50% of shoppers say that they often / sometimes end up buying more than they planned online
- Online alone does not convert well. Anywhere between 0.5% and 5%, whereas retail conversions are higher
Website and shopping cart abandonment
Abandonment is not only an indication of lost sales but is indicative of the experience that your customers have had whilst on your site. In simple terms, something just wasn’t quite right for them so they decided not to buy.
Here are some of the big reasons for abandonment of online purchases:
- Unexpected delivery costs
- Lack of information about product / service / delivery
- Navigation difficulties
- Difficulty with online customer service/support, e.g. wanting to ask a question or not finding the answer and difficulty in getting any help on the website
- Shoppers often admit they need some form of support during their online journey
- Many either try once or give up immediately when seeking help before an online purchase
- The vast majority expect to be able to access help when purchasing online within five minutes – and they expect help to be immediate
- If a response is not delivered in the expected timeframe, shoppers will either go elsewhere or abandon the purchase altogether
Managing shoppers’ expectations online is key
As technology improves and experiences become “smart”, consumer expectations also increase. Unfortunately customer expectations never stay still! Customers become less tolerant of underdeveloped sites. First time shoppers and longtime customers alike demand better integration of services whether it be online functionality or online/offline cohesion. They expect clarity and a similar level of service to what they would receive in store.
- Shoppers are generally less satisfied with online customer service than in-store
- The three key elements of a great online customer service experience are getting an issue resolved quickly, getting an issue resolved in a single interaction and dealing with a friendly customer service representative
- Most would like to have more choice in how they contact online brands
Real-time customer service enhances customer experience
The biggest barrier to online shopping is the inability to ‘look & feel’ or try on before making your purchase. As a way to combat this, online shops need to make sure the pre- sale and after sale experience is as close as and ideally better than retail. An online shopping experience should offer seamless navigation and all content should be of top quality covering all essential information. There will always be questions or concerns that the site can not answer because it is self service. In this case a speedy response to customer enquiries is crucial to retaining the sale and avoiding abandonment.
Livestream shopping is the ultimate in real time
Livestream Shopping allows a customer to confer with a shop assistant, live, online. This could be while someone is in store or remote from the store. It solves for the problem of instant feedback. The retail expert instore can understand needs quickly and respond to those needs.
Video retail is one way to enhance the customer experience. Training your team is relatively fast and it lifts the customer experience to a new service level.