What Do On-line Customers Need?
A recent study by Retail Times and Channel Advisor outlines the six key patterns that online retailers need to know and implement to keep one step ahead in the ever changing world of multi-channel sales.
Here are some excerpts and advice from the six patterns identified:
1. Sophisticated Search
With the unprecedented amount of products now available at our fingertips, today’s savvy online shoppers have learned to make their search queries more detailed, especially when they’re looking for a specific item. For example, searching for ‘blender’ will yield markedly different results than inputting the brand, model and colour details such as ‘KitchenAid Deluxe Hand Blender Artisan KHB2569 Red’. Indeed, search queries are becoming longer. Hitwise reports that searches with four to eight words are growing between 3% and 20% year over year.
Where and when consumers are searching is also expanding. According to Econsultancy, 57% of global consumers engage in showrooming: the act of browsing in store, then purchasing online.
2. Picture Perfect
Images are easy for the brain to process and remember. According to Search Engine Journal, images rank higher than product-specific details, descriptions, ratings or reviews in driving purchase decisions. This is demonstrated by the success of social media sites Pinterest and Tumblr, and the fact that Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) generate higher conversion rates than ads without images.8 When displaying your products, ensure that you have rich imagery in your data feed and provide the maximum number of images (following the requirements of individual sites) when listing on comparison shopping engines.
3. Price and Shipping
Consumers are investing more time in finding the best price, with their willingness to research evidenced by the success of comparison shopping engines and the emergence of programs like Red Laser. Fulfilment has also quickly become a key determinate in the decision to buy, with 66% of UK consumers expecting free delivery on all purchases and 69%
abandoning their purchase if delivery price is too high.9 Retailers looking to rise above the competition should consider offering free shipping and expedited options.
4. Opinions of Others
According to a HubSpot survey conducted across 128 countries, 46% of online users rely on social media when making a purchase decision, and 85% of Facebook users have recommended brands they’ve ‘Liked’ to others. Social media is a low-cost and effective way to start a conversation with your potential customers while promoting sales, special events and your brand personality. It can also help determine which products or campaigns spark interest with your target customer.
5. It’s Business, But It’s Personal
When choice abounds, it can be difficult for consumers to trawl through all the available information to decide which product to purchase. It’s equally challenging for retailers to ensure that their brand is seen by the right audience. In an age of pervasive technology, offering a more personalized shopping experience will elevate your brand from the masses of content, products and services online.
6. Journeying Through The Labyrinth
Within one purchase journey, consumers are going to be comparing prices, reading reviews, finding deals and promotions — and doing so while moving seamlessly across smartphones, tablets and PCs. If you’re unconvinced of how important it is to ensure that your brand messaging and product information have a consistent look and feel (and can meet customers at each stage of the shopping journey), here are a few statistics you can’t ignore:
a) A Google survey found that 90% of respondents use multiple screens sequentially to accomplish one task, with 98% of those moving between devices within the same day.
b) At 67%, online shopping is one of the top activities performed when moving between devices.
c) Research from eBay shows that purchases from the marketplace were more likely to be made via tablet than any other device.
d) 76% of consumers will abandon a website if it’s not optimised for mobile browsing.
The full Retail Times and Channel Advisor report can be downloaded here.