Contributed by Alex Jones
Following a study in 2019 which revealed that 30% of ecommerce work is considered by retail decision-makers to offer no return value, it’s becoming increasingly clear that many ecommerce brands are losing faith in a range of traditional tactics. Worse still, customer experience and thus retention are suffering as a result of a failure for brands to evolve in line with the changing needs and expectations of their customers.
However, in this post, we aim to remedy this – arming retailers with 3 essential tips for devising a cohesive ecommerce strategy that’s designed to deliver shopping experiences that complement their customers’ lifestyles. The results will not only work to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty online, but can also be used to drive awareness and sales both on and offline in the process.
Put the user first with your website design
Your brand website offers the perfect platform to really shout about your products and gain exposure to online shoppers who visit your site with genuine buying intent. But so many brands fall short when it comes to mastering the fine balance between self-promotion and adding value to the consumer.
Consumers now have far more choice than ever before, with the ability to browse multiple sites for the same product simultaneously – but they also have far shorter attention spans (just 8 seconds according to this report), and higher expectations from what they want from a brand. This means that those looking to really tap into their online consumer potential need to do more than just the basics with their website. Yes, eye-catching brand imagery, product descriptions and an efficient check-out process matter, but there’s more work to be done to help tailor your site to optimise user experience (UX).
Firstly, keep your site design and layout clean, simple and eye-catching, while also ensuring it’s intuitive to the user’s needs. For example, take the time to analyse your site’s functionality as a user, ensuring navigation is easy and takes potential buyers through a logical and natural journey. This should also include a straightforward navigation style, relevant images and engaging and informative content – ensuring visitors to your site find all the information they need quickly and with minimal effort.
In addition, don’t overlook the importance of making your site mobile responsive. With figures suggesting m-commerce (those purchasing using a mobile device) will grab an even larger share of the ecommerce market share in the coming years, offering this functionality to online shoppers is non-negotiable. Whether it’s browsing on a tablet or a smartphone, mobile shopping offers a fast and convenient way for users to integrate their purchasing into their busy lifestyles, so make sure you provide a quality service to ensure you don’t miss out on valuable revenue.
Offer high-speed, flexible and seamless delivery
In the age of Amazon and the ever-growing on-demand economy, adapting your ecommerce business model to offer fast, efficient and convenient product delivery is another essential step in meeting your customer’s lifestyle needs and demands.
Naturally, ecommerce giants with what seem like infinite resources, such as Amazon, are hard to compete with for smaller retailers with limited budgets. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take the appropriate steps to offer customers in your niche an outstanding order fulfillment service.
A good place to start is streamlining your order fulfilment process behind the scenes, ensuring there’s a solid strategy in place for picking, packing and shipping purchased items. Streamlining this core area by adopting artificial intelligence (AI) into your supply chain model will go a long way in helping you to have a real-time view of order processing, ensuring you meet customers’ needs with prompt delivery and have a better handle on potential issues that may arise.
As part of streamlining your packaging processes and catering for customer lifestyles, you may also want to reassess your packaging choices. In the no-plastic packaging age, many consumers now expect to see less wastage and more Earth-friendly solutions when it comes to how their deliveries arrive. With this in mind, look to minimise needlessly large boxes and excess plastic in your parcel deliveries, opting for paper, cardboard and recyclable materials where possible. This will not only project an eco-conscious brand message, but will also ensure customers who buy from you can also uphold their environmental values too. Plus, less wasted packaging for your business could also save you money in the long-run.
Beyond swift and slick order processing operations, you could also look to offer greater flexibility with delivery for customers ordering online by narrowing down your delivery windows, giving buyers the opportunity to pick a specific delivery time that suits their schedule. Other possible solutions include taking the lead from Amazon Lockers, offering consumers the choice to pick up their purchases from a secure locker or collection point from a location near to them. This could be automated in-store lockers at their closest store or even a designated collection point in a public location, like train stations or supermarkets. The key here is to give the consumer the best possible solution to suit their lifestyle.
Whatever you’re offering your consumers in terms of delivery, always ensure good communication is maintained throughout to better manage their expectations by enabling online tracking capabilities. A shopper is far less likely to be dissatisfied if they’re notified of a possible delay rather than just left waiting for a package that never arrives.
Tackle abandoned shopping carts with buy-now pay later options
According to the latest statistics from Fundera, the average shopping cart abandonment rate for online retailers is nearly 70%, which equates to a whole lot of potential revenue being lost by ecommerce setups the world over.
However, there are ways to reduce this and gain valuable conversions from this revenue stream. Having a streamlined and secure checkout process for both desktop and mobile users is a must here, but there are other reasons that cause people to abandon their carts, which include 6% of online shoppers not buying because there weren’t enough payment options available. With this in mind, it could be worth evaluating the benefits of offering your online consumers a buy now, pay later option, giving them greater freedom to shop for products when they need them rather than having to countdown the days until payday comes.
Certainly, if your target audience demographic is with Millennials or younger, who are often cautious about racking up significant debt with credit cards and borrowed finance, offering point-of-sale loans with buy now, pay later option, could see your cart abandonment rate drop and your sales figures go up. While this isn’t a new concept, this type of credit is seeing more adoption in mainstream retail sectors helping to continue growth in the consumer loan sector.
In addition to the potential for increased sales, the option to purchase goods and pay them off over a period of time that suits both parties, could also result in bigger sales transactions too. Of course, adopting this payment model does come with it’s own set of risks, but with the right due diligence it could be just the solution for many online retailers looking to tap into a considerable revenue stream – all while meeting consumer’s lifestyle demands.
In the modern retail landscape, changing consumer expectations and lifestyles highlight the need for online retailers to become more proactive with their approach to online shopping in order to win business and more importantly, long term customer loyalty. With the above strategies, we hope you’ll have all you need to deliver a personal, user-focused shopping experience for your customers, helping to secure your business’ place in the growing world of ecommerce.
Contributed by Alex Jones is a content creator for No1 Packaging – one of the UK’s lowest cost packaging providers.
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