Nobody likes clichés.
But, right now, one cliché sums up eCommerce better than any amount of convoluted analysis:
The customer is king.
Your customers expect a seamless online experience as standard. With reams of choice just a click away, if you can’t keep them happy, another retailer will.
This customer-centric ethos is only set to continue; 89% of marketers predict customer experience will be the primary basis for competitive differentiation by 2017.
This race to keep your consumers happy has led to rapid developments in the industry:
Omnichannel strategies are advancing and the use of data is growing ever more complex. Advancements such as cross-device tracking and predictive marketing customers’ shopping journeys are analysed and optimised more than ever before.
Obviously staying on top of these sophisticated trends is vital for your business.
However, amongst all this data, it’s imperative not to forget the most important thing – your ‘real life’ customers.
Your customers’ feedback (and your own common sense) dictates that consumers will always want certain things.
They may seem simple, but these easy wins will bring you both happy customers and increased conversions.
Your customers can’t get enough of free delivery:
‘83% of consumers cite free shipping as the top reason they’d shop online more.’
That’s 8 out of 10 of your customers that could be enticed to shop online more with free shipping.
You may worry that free shipping will eat into your margins, but it’s worth testing as ‘shoppers spend 30% more per order when free shipping is included.’ The increase in revenue generated by higher average order values will more than likely cover your costs.
If you have any doubts, work out a free delivery order value threshold on your basket that proves both effective in raising average order values while also boosting your margins.
Importantly, in this customer-centric era, offering free delivery keeps your customers enamoured and engenders loyalty – meaning they’re more likely to return and increase their lifetime value to your brand.
Despite the growing importance of speed and convenience when shopping online, 50% of shoppers still say cost is the most important factor when considering delivery.
If free delivery just isn’t an option for your business, be sure to clearly signpost how much your shipping will cost as 56% of consumers cite ‘unexpected costs’ as their reason for abandoning a page.
Click & Collect
Click & Collect continues to grow in popularity with shoppers, especially in the UK where 63% of British consumers claim to have used the service.
The uptake of Click & Collect is unsurprising – it offers consumers the flexibility and convenience they crave. And don’t forget, the service wipes out dreaded delivery costs for shoppers without cutting into your margins with free shipping.
The growth of Click & Collect has been both positive and negative for retailers.
Scaling the service quickly to meet demand has created problems. Common customer complaints include: the lack of a dedicated store area, long waits for staff members, no stock in their preferred store and staffs’ inability to locate items on internal system.
However, if you can work out the kinks with Click & Collect the service can bear fruit – as well as offering your customers convenience, it can be used as a marketing ploy.
For example, positioning underperforming departments next to your Click & Collect service area could be a simple way to boost results. Additionally, by bringing customers in store, you can offer your brand’s full customer experience, while also raising footfall.
Your shoppers expect the same level of flexibility and convenience in your returns as they experience when purchasing. 63% of customers state the ease with which they can return items factors into which retailers they shop with online.
However, most importantly of all your customers want your returns to be free:
A huge 78% of shoppers wouldn’t purchase from a site if they had to pay for returns.
If you’ve ever paid for returns you’ll know it sticks in the throat – asking your customers to do so could mean losing them forever.
(As with deliveries, if you do have charges for returns make this extremely clear throughout your customer’s path to purchase.)
Sate consumers’ cravings to skyrocket conversions
70% of shoppers envisage online will be their main shopping channel in five years.
With so many potential customers, getting the simple things right is a must. A seamless user experience can be irrevocably tarnished by poor delivery or returns.
And, unfortunately, your shoppers aren’t all that forgiving with 71% of customers indicating they would be likely to switch to an alternative retailer as a result of poor online experience.
Sometimes the things your customers crave are the most obvious. Convenience and cost are still the biggest factors in your customers’ purchase decisions.
Offering services which play on these basic consumer desires such as free delivery, returns and Click & Collect will bring about a win-win situation where your customers are happy and your conversions increase.
One final note. If you already offer these services on your website, spell it out. Just amplifying these simple offers to wavering consumers is proven to turn abandoning visitors into customers.