Knowing online shoppers wants and needs is a key retail business intelligence skill. Being able to anticipate and meet these needs in a timely manner can win their hearts and help set you miles ahead of the closest competitor.
Conversely, ignoring any, many or all these areas can turn online shoppers off and deal a fatal blow to your retail business, putting it among the over 67% of startups that fail to last a decade, according to reports.
In order to forestall this I have assembled a list of five (5) key things that can make or break online shopping experience for online shoppers who visit your store. There are good and profitable online business ideas with best selling products to try, but meeting and beating customer expectation is the best place to start.
Following are some of what online shoppers expect in the least:
1. Fast loading websites
According to Google’s Maile Ohye, “2 seconds is the threshold for ecommerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under a half second.”
This is buttressed by reports suggesting that nearly half of visitors expect your site to load in 2s and will kiss it goodbye if it fails to load in 3s. Furthermore, 79% of such e-migrants will never pay a return visit due to prior poor experience, and 44% will tell on you.
In other words, either be fast or they’d be furious.
What’s more? Some ecommerce sites take forever to load product images or add items to cart, it gets worse if you have a long shopping list. This will be time consuming, something consumers detest.
Could this be the leading reason for your high cart abandonment rates? Fixing it can drop your bounce rates, up your dwell time and ultimately improve conversion and revenue.
Remember, first and foremost, speed counts. So make your page load timer count faster.
Here’s one way to figure out your current page load speed:
- Visit www.alexa.com
- Scroll down to “BROWSE TOP SITES”
- Input your store’s url, and hit “Find”
- Scroll all the way down to find out “How fast does XYZ.Com load?”
There are several other site speed testing tools/sites like PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom, Moz Speed, Web Page Test, etc.
Let’s speed on to
2. Easy navigation
Ah, easy navigation. Isn’t that why HopStop was created and later sold for $1b? Because no one really likes to get lost, not in the street, not on your site.
Indeed, getting lost is a terrible experience offline or online. Sadly, shopping on some ecommerce sites feels like treasure hunting in an abandoned island without any directions or pointers. You feel clueless, frustrated, lost.
Any of these sound familiar?
- Finding “search” tab is a major search in itself
- Product listing and categories are either missing or hiding
- Add to cart button is hard to find
- You have to check out entire site to find checkout
- You call customer care and queue up like other confused shoppers or
- You wait for livechat response that leaves you dead beat
Been there, done that, it’s a horrible experience. In the end pressing the back button is easier than getting lost.
User experience feedback can help you identify areas of your e-store navigation that require urgent fixing and optimization. Assessing and addressing your store’s slow loading speed and navigation issues will increase customer retention, repeat purchase and conversion rates, plus give you an edge over competitors with poor navigation.
This will result in a win-win for you and your customers. Now let’s navigate to the next point
3. Effective product search
Enabling on-site search is another great idea. it’s your own version of a search engine. Shoppers typically come from search engines like Google (organic traffic) or directly onto your store, to search for products.
Some of these shoppers already know what they want, e.g Dan wants 43 inch Samsung Smart TV. Others don’t, and may just type “TV”. The latter presents a marketing opportunity that many retailers miss out on.
Well presented search results with adequate product photography, description including size, dimensions in various units, color, warranty, etc, can educate shoppers and even convince them to increase AOV.
Similarly, some shoppers struggle with spelling and expect your search engine to know, guess or predict what they’re trying to type. Autosuggestion makes this possible, incorporating it in your search will make product hunting easier and customers happier.
Product listing and categories also simplify product search. Same as sorting or filters that help to narrow search results to core specifics.
Shoppers also love to search for
4. Unbiased product reviews
Now they’ve found what they want, product search successful. Next phase is buying decision. One of the most powerful factors that influence online shoppers buying decision is product reviews since they can’t physically touch, handle or feel their purchase.
I prefer to pay a little more for products with customer review, even one; of course the more the merrier. This is because product reviews have a way of boosting confidence, they assure you that what you’re buying is trustworthy.
And I’m not alone, reports indicate that 85% of consumers trust customer reviews as much as personal recommendation. I call it the “Heard Mentality”, people buying based on what they’ve heard.
Some of us check out Amazon product reviews for products we want to buy on AliExpress just so we’re sure we’re not making a mistake; especially when cross-border returns can take months to effect.
5. Accurate product pricing
After reading product reviews, there are still a couple more hurdles to scale. One of them is pricing.
Online pricing mistakes can hurt your reputation and revenue in two ways.
- Low pricing
Here a product is grossly underpriced, not because it’s a discount or flash sale, but due to a typo. For instance a product that normally retails for $1,250 is erroneously listed at $12.50.
This may drive traffic and push sales, but upon discovery, orders are canceled en-masse, which can be a major shopper stopper. Customers are piqued that you canceled their orders after “baiting” and causing them to wait days for delivery.
- High pricing
Here a product is grossly overpriced, again by error. For instance a product that normally retails for $30.50 is scheduled to go on discount at $12.50, but erroneously listed at $1,250.
You may spend a fortune on advertising, and drive sizeable traffic. However, your site analytics report shows, short dwell time, high bounce rate and zero conversion from your target landing page. This could be an indication of something wrong. Have you checked your product pricing?
Implementing these steps will help you offer a more enjoyable shopping experience to online shoppers who will in turn reward you with more purchases.
In what other ways can you delight online shoppers? Let’s hear your thoughts.