While eCommerce still makes up only approximately 10% of all global retail, it’s growing quickly and upending traditional retailers. With companies like Toys ‘r Us, Best Buy and Foot Locker shuttering thousands of stores this year, the writing appears to be on the wall.
Consumers and retailers are quickly preparing for a future where eCommerce is the dominant mode of shopping. The transition is moving at a different pace in different categories, as a recent Adweek article notes: “eCommerce… is on track to account for $526 billion of $5.3 trillion in total retail sales this year… Specifically, 39.6 per cent of those transactions will take place on a smartphone. And in terms of top retail categories, 19.7 per cent of apparel and accessories sales are expected to flow through eCommerce this year, up significantly from eCommerce sales from categories like health and personal care (6.8 per cent) and food and beverage (2.8 per cent).”
We at Adimo firmly believe that better customer experience and more convenience are the keys to helping both brands and retailers claim their slice of the growing eCommerce pie.
The Convenience Gap
This is a subject near and dear to our hearts. Why are 20% of clothes and accessories bought online while a whopping 97% of food and beverage purchases are made through traditional retailers? Convenience! If you’re buying a swimsuit for the trip to Ibiza you just booked, or a necklace for your coming anniversary, you can afford to wait for as long as the shipping will take. Your purchase is sure to be ready by the time it’s needed, and you will have access to lower prices and better selection than you can find on the High Street. If you need a chicken salad sandwich or a bottle of Prosecco, it currently seems so much easier to just walk to the shop on the corner. You are in command of the process, you can easily browse the shelves, and you have the certainty that you’ll have your snack when you need it. It just seems more convenient!
However, as Google, Amazon, Alibaba and Walmart attempt to push traditional retail into the sphere of eCommerce, shockingly fast delivery times and unheard of levels of personalization are just two of the ways they’ll attempt nudge you towards buying on your devices. We are quickly approaching a time when the vast majority of purchases in all product categories will be made online.
This Time It’s Personal
One of the answers to better customer experience in eCommerce is increased personalization. Matt Kaden, Managing Director of MMG Advisors, notes that “digital brands have been experts at getting in front of a consumer, understanding them, capturing data, messaging to their consumer, but it’s an expensive endeavour. It’s increasingly expensive to acquire customers through Facebook, Instagram, Google or retargeting.” As big brands and retailers push their sales online, they will need to do a better job of collecting and utilizing customer data throughout the path to purchase, or be reliant the likes of Google and Amazon, companies which loom as potential competitors.
A recent Ad Age article identifies four key areas for optimizing personalization:
Recognizing and reaching the right consumers across their devices; building individualized and anonymized profiles that are enriched with each brand interaction over time; making data-informed decisions about the best message to deliver and measuring the impact of those efforts across all channels. With this approach, marketers can tailor each brand interaction and speak to their consumers in the optimal way at exactly the right moment–which will ultimately move the needle on their business.
But while developing personalization strategies, marketers must walk on a knife’s edge. Providing consumers with relevant offers that meet their needs will be massively beneficial to both parties. But bombarding them with unwanted messages and notifications will push them away. While the channels of communication between retailer and consumer will be wide open, and both parties will have access to far more information than ever before, judiciousness must be applied in deciding when and what to communicate to the consumer.
Don’t Forget the Cart!
Cart abandonment has long been a scourge in eCommerce. A study by Radware found that 70% of carts are abandoned before purchase and that a 2-second delay in load time would drive that figure up to 87%. People buying online are extremely conscious of the time they’re spending, and they might be trying to shop between tube stations, at work, or even on the toilet. If your customers are this sensitive to any delay, you need to make sure you respect every second of their time. A conversion rate optimization specialist recommends following these steps to make your customers take the final step in purchasing:
- Showing people how far they are in the process so they know something is happening.
- Reducing the number of pages needed to complete a transaction.
- Ensuring that shoppers know up front whether a product is available or not.
- Keeping the checkout page simple so that there are no distractions.
- Remembering the cart so that shoppers who come back later can resume shopping immediately.
- Tweaking your calls to action.
Optimize for Voice
We have written about this a lot, but we at Adimo are firmly convinced that voice shopping is the future of eCommerce. Voice search has grown extremely popular with people under thirty, and Digital Assistants and apps like Adimo Voice currently offer consumers the opportunity to buy groceries or any other product through simple voice commands. The unparalleled convenience of voice shopping is sure to convert a lot of consumers to eCommerce. As Forbeshas noted, “Technology companies and retailers have certainly noticed, and they are moving further in directions that take advantage of the growing rise of voice search. One such example is the recent partnership between Google and Walmart. The two giants partnered on a deal that allows customers to “voice shop” through Walmart’s Easy Reorder program via Google Assistant. This is all done through Google’s shopping service, Google Express.” Optimizing for Voice Search by adjusting SEO strategies to spoken language and directly answering the questions consumers ask Alexa and Siri is a must!
eCommerce is the future. Customers can be gained or lost by the amount of convenience you can offer them. You should be moving to make their shopping experiences as fast and easy as possible by giving them the information they need before they ask, allowing them to purchase everything they need by uttering a series of commands into their phones, and ensuring that the checkout process is as clear and quick as can be. Let us help you give your customers an optimized eCommerce experience!